Friday, March 09, 2007

Lover Revealed by JR Ward...

Where's Phury?

Warning: Will probably be spoilery...

I had said that I would wait until today to purchase Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward, but who was I kidding? I bought it on Tuesday (release day) while birthday shopping for the H-Bomb. It was 25% off! But I only allowed myself to read bits and pieces as I finished up other things that needed to be done. And you know what? It wasn't that hard to put down. Let's just get this out of the way right now: I think this was the weakest book thus far. I enjoyed it a lot, but I may say some things that are harsh, and its out of love, folks. I just finished the book an hour ago, and I want to get my thoughts down, so I can go blog hopping and see what's being said. I've been trying to avoid anything that might influence me unduly. As I said, it was a crazy busy week, so it wasn't too hard, but I am missing my blog fix.

I'm not going to spend too much time on a summary, because this'll be wordy enough as it is. Lover Revealed is the story of Butch and Marissa, who have been around since the first book of the series, Dark Lover. Butch O'Neal was the human cop and friend of Beth's who ended up becoming friends with the Brothers and roommate of Vishous. Marissa was Wrath's unwanted,untouched shellan (wife). The two were immediately drawn to each other, but remained apart for the next couple of books due to a "Big Misunderstanding" that happened offstage. As this story opens, they are both pretty frustrated and miserable with their lots. Both Butch and Marissa struggle with feelings of uselessness and self-doubt. They're both still longing for each other though. Not only do they have their poor self-images working against them, there are also class and species (Butch is human, Marissa a vampire) differences . It'll be a rocky road to HEA, but that's why we read paranormal romances, after all.

[Click on post title for full post]

The Good:
**Vishous: Man, I love this weird, perverted motherfucker! Can't wait for his story (coming to bookstores this fall). Very curious about his past. Much has been made of the overtones between Butch and V, and I'm impressed that Ward addressed it and pleased with the way she did. Butch and V are super close, and its definitely more than friends, but I think its because they have almost a symbiotic relationship. Plus, V doesn't really have feelings for anyone, so feeling so strongly towards Butch would defintely be confusing for him. I actually dig the homoerotic stuff, but I also need to buy Butch and V with women (rather than each other) and in the end I did. Anyway, V is a complicated character and I find him to be a real scene stealer (Is it September yet?)

**Marissa: Who thought she'd be the most interesting, well developed heroine Ward has created yet? Who thought she'd be a galvanizing presence for the other females? Previously, I didn't like her too much. She embodied the worst of the female characters in the BDB universe, wafting around the house in floaty gowns, with no apparent career or hobbies, waiting passively for a male to tell her what to do. She's just as disgusted with herself as I was with her, though. For the other of Ward's heroines, their personal journeys involved being saved by the Brothers and entering into (or deeper into) the cloistered vampire world. And although Marissa too ends up at the Brotherhood compound of hip-hop and hoyay, I feel like she pretty much saves herself, being proactive in finding a purpose and role outside of the house and sweaty sex with her mate. She was unsure and messed it up sometimes (I liked it when she almost set herself on fire), but she was fun. I also liked that there was no sappy forgiveness scene with her dicky brother.

**Greater development of the vampire universe--It was interesting to get more insight into the class and gender issues at work, which we got to see through Marissa's breaking out of them. Glad we're seeing more of the world that they inhabit.

**Wrath, Beth, Zsadist, Bella, John Matthew et al.--I was glad to see more of these characters and how they're shaping up. I particularly like the increasing development of Zsadist and John Matthew. And Rehvenge. Although I hope Ward's not going to make that chick Layla into a heroine, because she creeps me out. But where's Phury? There better be more of his one-legged ass in the next book.

**Less stupid slang--There was a definite decrease in jarring hip-hop speak, no? Although that brings me to..

The Bad:
**Enough with the product placement already!--the decrease in slang corresponded with an increase in the cataloging of everyone's clothing and how much it cost. I just don't give a fuck about Butch's Missoni overcoat and $25000 Patek Phillipe watch.

**Butch in general--Prior to LR, while I wasn't too into Butch, I didn't have anything against him either. But he got kind of the sad sack treatment here. No job, no purpose, living off the Brothers, drinks too much Scotch, former Cokehead, had unprotected sex with still my beating heart. I didn't hate him, but I was meh. I started picturing him with a paunch and bloodshot eyes, though I tried to stop. I definitely liked him at the end better, after the [edited for spoilers].

**The romance--LR was more interesting in how it advanced the overall BDB story arc, and further developed the alternate universe, than in the love story. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it was because Butch seemed like kind of a loser. Or perhaps we had too much of them to start with. Butch and Marissa's feelings were well established before the book started, so some of the things that kept them apart seemed quite contrived. Just, like, knock it off already, and get married. It just lacked a zing that the other romances had. Their individual developments (and roles within the world) were more compelling than their development as a couple.

And the Unread (with apologies to Sybil):
**The Lessers--I still find myself skimming their bits until the action heats up at the end.

I am going to give Lover Revealed a B. I enjoyed it a lot, but pretty much for everything except the romance. Which is weird. Although it's better than most of the stuff I've read this year, my ambivalence about Butch and the lack of something keep it out of the A range. I'm going to read it again though, so we'll see if my feelings change. Ah well, the countdown begins til the next installment.


Holly said...

Yeah, I think you liked it more than I did, too, but we're pretty spot on in our opinions. Except for Marissa. Even though she grew throughout the book, she still falls into my TSTL category. :)

Kat said...

I have to say I loved Layla in LE - now there was F/M/F potential right there. It's interesting to read all the reviews - everyone comments on very similar things but with different reactions. I've been rereading bits and pieces over the last couple of days but I just know my review is going to be wordy so I'm procrastinating by reading other people's! *lol*

Devon said...

Holly--The only time Marissa really bugged me was at the end, with the pushing Butch away, which I'm pretty sure you mentioned in your review. It was dumb, and seemed really contrived. She was with Wrath for how long? Wasn't worried about his activities, although perhaps she was distracted by her sexual frustration.

Kat--I've lurked at Ward's board, and it seems like there are Layla fans. She just seems like a..fembot..or something. "Can I stand up now? Shall I take my clothes off now?" Can't get into her. I checked out your LR linkage at your blog. People are saying similar stuff. I'll be looking for your review.

Kat said...

Devon, I'm tired just thinking about the brain spew I have to do for my review. *lol*

You're right, making Layla a bit more three-dimensional is going to be interesting.

The Marissa thing at the end did niggle at me. I suspect she ran out of pages since the book was already longer than her others (having said that, Ward could have just removed that issue altogether). This was the same problem I felt with LA - the ending just went all lovey-dovey and I was like, what? At least in this one there were a lot more scenes between the H/H.

I mentioned this on Sybil's blog and it's one of the things I'm going to blog about (when I have the energy) but I this book had a very category romancey vibe for me. I grew up on category so a lot of the contrivances didn't bother me too much. My mileage obviously varies. *lol*

nath said...

Nice review Devon :D I've been reading so much reviews that I think I'm going to skip all the parts with Butch - LOL :) However, seems like most everyone agrees on the good and the bad...

Anonymous said...

I liked your review a lot. It was very thorough, and covered what I think are all the important parts of the book. I haven't read it yet, but after all the reviews I dont know if I'm going to. I have it sitting on my shelf but I dunno... I started it, just can't really get into Butch yet. We'll see. Great job!

Devon said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Sarah. I don't know how big a BDB fan, but I did enjoy this book as a revisit to 'old friends' and for the world development. If you are a fan, I would suggest skimming for the stuff/people you like. You can definitely do that with this one.