Second Bookses

It's like second breakfast. Only with books.
Lover Enshrined - J.R. Ward There was a little break in the action in my non-stop reviewing of J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series, mainly because reading Lover Enshrined has taken me days. Days! However, I persevered just to say I did it, and here I am to tell the tale.::: The Plot :::Phury is the identical twin of the vampire Zsadist, who we met back in Lover Awakened. Virtually ignored by his family after Zsadist was kidnapped as an infant, Phury spent the first 100 years of his life missing, and then searching for, his twin. In the course of those 100 years, he found his brother, lost his leg, took a vow of chastity, became a drug addict, and fell in love with the same vampire that his brother did.Seeing no other way out, he volunteered to be the Primale, a stud vampire to the Chosen and progenitor of the warrior class of vampires. However, he's now stuck with the first of the Chosen he's supposed to mate with, Cormia, a girl who seems terrified of her role. He's also been removed from the Brotherhood in all but name after his drug addiction gets out of hand, especially as he's now carving up the lessers (the soulless humans who are at war with the vampires) up like Thanksgiving turkeys.::: It Took EONS to Read This :::Seriously... Tolstoy had nothing on Ward when it comes to this novel. There's so much going on, both with Phury's story as well as all the other side-stories from previous novels that it's starting to feel like plot soup. We have Zsadist's shellan (wife) on bed rest for a life-threatening pregnancy. We have the nasty little warrior trainee vampire Lash causing problems with John Matthew, the young vampire who seems to be the son of Darius, who died back in Dark Lover. Oh, and John Matthew is attracted to Xhex, the half-symphath bouncer at Rehvenge's club. Rehvenge himself is being sexually (and monetarily) blackmailed to keep his (and Xhex's) status as symphaths secret so they aren't banished. Plus, the ongoing war with the lessers... the Chosen's hope of Phury repopulating the vampire race... Phury inevitably falling in love with Cormia (I mean, this is a romance novel)... the growing tension with the glymera (the aristocratic class)... and lastly, a sub-plot where Blaylock and Qhuinn (John Matthew's best friends and fellow trainees) may or may not be in love with each other...I've still left out some plot points, believe it or not.Lover Enshrined is a tough read. Trying to keep all the plot threads straight and still care about Phury and Cormia is hard enough, but Ward gives us so little to actually care about with Phury. The character has such an obvious martyr complex that it's hard to root for him, and his ever-worsening addiction leaves him numb and us unsympathetic. The last quarter of the book picks up the pace and gets interesting, but slogging through the first three-quarters is not for the faint of heart. Had this been the first book in the series and not the sixth, I'd have given up altogether. Instead, I struggled through so that I'd have the back story for the next book, which friends promise is one of the best of the series. This review originally published at Epinions:

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