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Lover Eternal by J. R. Ward

Lover Eternal - J.R. Ward

Note: This is Book 2 in the series but stands pretty well on it’s own. There are a handful of scenes that are enhanced by having read Book 1 (Dark Lover) first.

This modern-day vampire romance centers on Rhage, a warrior in the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Contained within him is a beast and occasionally Rhage must let that beast out. Thankfully there are evil-doing Lessers (lower-caste vampires) that need taking out. Then he meets Mary Luce and he finds himself wanting something more out of life. Mary will be the catalyst for change, and not just change for Rhage.

I was luke warm about Book 1 but I hear that this series gets better and better. The female characters started off with more detail than in Book 1. Mary works at a law firm, volunteers at a suicide hot line, has a battle with cancer, and a bit more. She comes into the story with a full life and depth. However, once she meets Rhage and her hormones kick in, most of that depth goes out the window. As with Book 1, the main female character gives up her life to be with her vampire lover, however Mary does sigh over it once or twice. Bella is a secondary character and Mary’s neighbor. She serves as a source of info to the reader about vampire society. However, we learn very little about her, so she’s a one-dimensional character. Also, the ladies spend quite a bit of time cringing over this or that, including the mere sight of weapons. Sigh.

The most interesting character in this book was John, a young vampire. However, he doesn’t know what he is and he’s use to staying away from people in general to protect himself. This book definitely gives more info on the vampire caste system and how they interact with one another, along with how things have changed over the years. There are non-warrior vampires that do no harm to humans, meanwhile the Lessers have given up their heart and soul for near-immortality and do plenty of harm when they can get away with it. Then there are the women that serve the Scribe Virgin. I really enjoyed learning about all these different types of vampires as John was learning about his origins.

So Rhage is the big, gorgeous, muscly warrior and main love interest in this book. Prior to meeting Mary, he used sex as a way to let off some steam and keep his inner beast in check. He’d turn on his vampire mojo to get a woman interested, ramping up her libido while removing her inhibitions, have some sexy times with her, and then wipe her memory clean of the encounter. Does this sound like the vampire version of a date rape drug to anyone else? So this is pretty standard behavior for some the vampire warriors and totally acceptable to the Brotherhood. Yeah. I think the Brotherhood needs a full weekend seminar on what constitutes sexual assault.

I found it hard to root for Rhage and hope he had a good outcome. I think this is why I didn’t become totally engrossed in the story. I definitely connected with Mary because she has all this interesting stuff going on; she’s got depth. Meanwhile, Rhage has that man child thing that all the Brothers seem to suffer from. For instance, he’s been alive for hundreds of years but has never had a female friend. I can suspend my disbelief over vampires but not over the main character’s lack of experience.

The naughty bits were long in coming. We had plenty of teasers leading up to the coupling, which was steamy and sweet. The sex scenes become a bit more robust as the story continues.

I will be continuing on with the series as I heard Book 3 is where things get really good. The vampire society and it’s history are very intriguing. Also, I want to know what happens with John.

The Narration: Jim Frangione did another good job. I’ve really become fond of his voice for this series. When an individual male character is talking or doing the inner monologue thing, the voices are distinct. However, when a group of the guys get together and are chatting back and forth, the distinctness disappears.