Title: Lover Eternal
Author: J R Ward
Series: Book Two
The one thing I enjoy about the series – even though this is just the second book – is that you get a quick recap / cut to the chase with what happened in the previous book. Also, if the first book was used to introduce the mythology and background to the reader then the second book onwards lays the ground work for future books in the series for ever as long as needed. The relationship between the hero and heroine was a fairly cookie cut two people meet and eventually fall in love this particular book the hero worked hard to win over the heroine.
Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetites. He’s the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover—for inside him burns a ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin. Possessed by this dark side, Rhage fears the times when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him.
Mary Luce, a survivor of many hardships, is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world and reliant on Rhage’s protection. With a life-threatening curse of her own, Mary is not looking for love. Her faith in miracles was lost years ago. But when Rhage’s intense animal attraction turns into something more emotional, he knows that he must make Mary his alone. And while their enemies close in, Mary fights desperately to gain life eternal with the one she loves…
After a book that had quite a bit of action, this particular book was fairly low key in comparison. Sure there were a couple of action sequences here and there, but it focused more on the couple and their budding relationship as well as filling out some of the other characters in preparation of future books. Here you start to see the seeds of characters like John Matthew, Tohrment and Wellsie, Bella, Zsadist and Phury just being planted and nurtured for the future. This book also delves a bit more into the Lessening Society and the Lessers moving back and forth between the two societies. If anything, even though the primary story is between Rhage and Mary Luce it wasn’t the only storyline that was given special treatment here.
Rhage’s background and story can be found in more detail at Book Thingo’s Cheat Sheet below.
Book Thingo: Black Dagger Brotherhood Cheat Sheet Part 2
– Black Dagger Brotherhood: Rhage, son of Tohrture
– Reproduction and the Needing
Rhage, also known as Hollywood, impressed me in the fact that he actually took the time to “court” Mary and pull back on his natural instincts in hopes of winning her over. I could understand why he is known for his excessive indulgences and why the Scribe Virgin chose to punish him in the way that she did… though to me I didn’t see his “alter ego” as punishment persay, but one wouldn’t know that right off the bat, in fact I would go so far as to say it took several things to happen before Rhage could truly control “The Beast” as it were.
Considering several aspects of this storyline having Rhage’s alter ego as “The Beast” it is rather easy to see a rather flimsy similarity to that of Beauty and the Beast, except in this case Mary was not held against her will (not as blatantly as some of the other females in any case), in fact it was much in the opposite. Rhage truly wanted to win her over the right way, courting her, taking her out on a date, saving her life from lessers… all in all a normal day at the office for Rhage.
Mary, who has leukemia, is struggling with the concept of leaning on someone for support in any capacity… A character flaw that I could relate to all too well. She feels that she is alone in the world and when it come to her situations and problems there is no need to burden anyone with them especially a handsome pretty boy like Rhage. But the one thing that Mary has that Rhage desperately needs is a patience and a calm that helps him tame “The Beast” that lurks deep inside. In fact it gets to the point that he goes from despising “The Beast” and counting the days til he could be rid of it to agreeing to keep “The Beast” as a part of him til he passes from his life as a sacrifice to keep Mary alive and well.
It is via “The Beast” that Rhage learns some significant lessons in life:
Carelessness was a form of cruelty – Rhage from Lover Eternal
When Mary realizes the sacrifice that Rhage made in order to heal her she took the situation in stride:
He’s [The Beast] kind of cute, in a Godzilla sort of way. I’ll look at it as a two for one kind of deal. – Mary Luce from Lover Eternal
But this novel doesn’t just focus on Mary and Rhage, some of the peripheral characters get their shining moments too, like the doggon Fritz as he evades the police due to speeding:
Human minds are rather easily manipulated. – Fritz from Lover Eternal
Yeah, I would definitely agree with Fritz on that point.
We are also introduced to John Matthew, whose life story begins in this book and continues through the series as a peripheral / supporting character until his own book comes to light in the series in Book Eight: Lover Mine.
This book wasn’t as action oriented as the first in the series was, the author choosing to focus on developing characterizations, but the pacing was still well done… Until towards the end when the book starts to close on a cliffhanger and plants the seeds for Book Three: Lover Awakened.
All in all this was a good read and I found myself preferring this second in the series over the first. Then again that is my personal preference.