Saturday, September 09, 2006

Yet another reader takes a crack...

at Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward. I'm not going to post the cover yet again, because I've already done it several times :). To see some other reviews, go see Sybil. There's one or two there. Jazz also reviewed it at Sanctuary's Finest, where they were also giving away a free copy, but I think the contest is over.

I'm yet another one who adored this one. Give it a solid A.I've been re-reading bits and pieces all week. I'm not ready to move on and leave it behind. I'm going to try not to give too much away, but I can't guarantee anything, so read at your own risk.

I often get on my bitch box about how I hate it when a supposedly damaged, tortured hero is instantly redeemed and cured by the power of the magic hoo-hoo (tm Smart Bitches). One night with a good woman and all of a sudden he's a happy well-adjusted guy. Not so with LA. Zsadist is a hero with a truly horrific past, and he is truly damaged. Ward doesn't wuss out with showing us this past, and it makes Zsadist's behavior very understandable, as well as the behavior of his twin, Phury. Zsadist and Bella's story was a rough ride, and Zsadist screwed up and did stupid shit, and at the end, although he was working towards redemption, it was a process that he actually worked at. It made the story much more gratifying and well, haunting, for me. Oh and he had these moments of utter adorableness (real word?) He just had no idea how to behave normally, and it was heartbreaking and sweet and sexy seeing him to try to figure out what to do with Bella.

I liked Bella as well. I wish we knew more about her, b/c I'm starting to feel that Ward's heroines are not as completely developed as I'd like them to be. But I loved how determined she was and what tunnel vision she had. She knew what she wanted and girl was going for it. And she wasn't going to let Z stand in her way. The lack of waffling or manipulation was refreshing. She never even seemed to notice that Phury was into her too.

Which brings me to Phury. Poor little lamb, come to me, I'll make you feel better. Oy vey, I ached for this guy. His backstory, his relationship with Zsadist, his unrequited love...can't wait for his book. The exploration of the relationship between the brothers was another element that made this book stand out.

I enjoyed getting more from other characters. I find John Matthew interesting, and I'm very curious about Rehvenge. I felt that his issues were left rather vague. I did find myself so involved in the story that I got kinda annoyed when I got taken away from Z and Bella, but I still like the use of multiple viewpoints.

This was not a light read, but it was very satisfying. The chemistry between them was hot, but there were real, rough obstacles and I worried for them at moments. I was almost taken aback by the ending, which I thought was a rather abrupt tone shift, and borderline cheesy, but, you know, after all the characters had gone through I was just so darn happy for them. Schmaltz is good sometimes. Seriously, there was a tear or two.

Little Quibbles--Please with the slang. A little bit to set the tone is o.k., but sometimes it was jarring. I still have a habit of breezing through the "lesser" bits, though I did find the fight scenes more compelling in this one. I honestly don't even notice the names anymore. I know it bugs some people, but I was already a veteran of several other paranormal series with silly names. And romance hero names in general? C'mon, folks! How many Brocks, Kyrians, Holts and whatnots do you know? I might find a Jeff or a Fred strange at this point.

Next up: Lover Revealed in March 2007. I'm definitely excited, though Butch is not my favorite, and I'm not so sure about Marissa. She's no firecracker, and seems to embody the worst of the characterization of females in this series: passive ad controlled by men. But I certainly haven't been let down by these books yet. And even if it's not quite as awesome, Vishous is after that. Squeeeeee!!!!!


Dev said...

I'm going to start reading this series soon. I've heard so many good things about it, and reading her interview at Sybil's site sure made me wish I'd started reading when the series first started.

Valeen said...

I think that this book has moved up into one of my favourite books of all time. Not number 1 but definitely top 10. I agree with everything you've said, what made it so good was that Z really had to work to become what he was in the end. And he often really meant it when he said he wanted nothing to do with Bella.

Vishous is after Butch??? Oh yes! Now that's a story I can't wait to read. I'm kinding meh on Butch right now. The dandy look really doesn't work for me. Especially if he spends more on clothes than I do.

Stacy~ said...

I've been doing the same thing - re-reading bits and pieces of it. I don't want to give anything away either, so I won't say which parts, but they still bring tears to my eyes even re-reading them.

LOL about Butch, Valeen. It is kinda weird to think of this badass cop dressing all up like a GQ model. I kinda like the idea of him being all blue collar for Marissa instead of her male version. March will tell....

Holly said...

I've been avoiding talking about this book, because I know I'm the only person in the known universe who didn't lurrve it. LOL


CindyS said...

I'm afraid to open the book again because I'm trying to get out of my 'great book blues funk'. Still, I kinda want to start it from the beginning again and I have never wanted to do that with any book.

Holly - I saw your review over at Sanctuary's Finest and felt bad that you didn't like the book. I was waiting to hear your reaction so now I know where to go when you do reviews. Doh.