The Challenge: The beginning of this book wasn't as hard to get into as the last. It still had some funky opening dialogue but I pushed through and made it over the first hump fairly easily. Later though, when switching to text, it took A LOT for me to ignore Ward's gems like ahvenge, cohntehst, ghardian and sehclusion. Seriously, I wonder how she decides which words get that extra special attention. Things that make you go WTF…er…hmmmm.
Format and Setting: I listened to about 1/3 of it in audio when I could at work but it's long so I switched to reading the rest of it here, there, everywhere.
The Music: The official rapper name dropped was Mystikal. For me, I'd say the song for this book in general would be Lady Gaga's Bad Romance
…. I want your ugly
I want your disease
I want your everything
As long as it’s free
I want your love
Love love love
I want your love…
The Couple: Zsadist and Bella
The Surprise: I liked this book…for the most part.
A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion, and terror is his only passion—until he rescues a beautiful aristocrat from the evil Lessening Society.
Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for one another begins to overtake them both, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now, Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past, and find a future with her…
Zsadist was one of the characters that stood out for me in books 1 and 2 so I was glad his story was next in the series. Z was made out to be the loner with a past so horrific that even the other members of the Brotherhood appeared wary of him. So why did someone like that stick out to me? Because we also caught glimpses of a caring soul and I wanted to see more of that side. In Lover Awakened, Zsadist is awakened to true emotions, true security, true personal growth and of course, true love.
This story continues the plot of Bella's kidnapping by the lessers, which occurred towards the end of book 2. It opens up with Z and the Brotherhood looking for her and when she is found early in the story, we see more of the softer side of Z as he cares of her during her recuperation. We also learn more of what happened to him when he was a blood slave. Learning what Z endured in his past absolutely explains the scared and wounded person he is now. In his eyes, he is dirty and unworthy and anyone who tries to get close to him will be tainted. As Z and Bella spend more time together, it was sweet to see him sort of blossoming emotionally. He would tell Bella why something was difficult for him to accept and sometimes they were able to work through the issue but most of the time, Z still felt he wasn't good enough for Bella. She tried to convince him that he was neither dirty nor unworthy of her love but in the end, the only one who could change Z's outlook was Z. That's what I thought was great about this book. Z ended up making decisions and taking actions that showed he finally believed he was worth having more in his life. When compared to the previous two books, I'd say Bella and Zsadist's is my favorite.
Another thing I enjoyed was learning more about Zsadist and his twin brother Phury's history. Phury takes a trip down memory lane and we see how Z was taken from their family and became a blood slave. We learn how long Phury searched for his brother and what he sacrificed to rescue him. I felt such compassion for both brothers and Phury became another stand out character for me. I really felt for him because he started to fall for Bella too but she chose Z and he had to stand by and watch their happy ending. He sealed the deal for me towards the end when he sacrificed himself again for his brother…I look forward to reading his book.
Phury knelt beside him and stroked his face. "I've only ever had you to live for. If you die I have nothing. I'm utterly lost. And you are needed here."
Zsadist tried to reach out, but couldn't lift his arms as Phury stood up.
"God, Z, I keep thinking this tragedy of ours is going to be over. But it just keeps going, doesn't it?"
Zsadist blacked out to the sound of his twin's boots heading from the room.
One of my favorite things is still the moments of solidarity between the Brothers. There's a scene when a change in Z's physical appearance is noticed and the Brothers are all there for the surprising revelation.
Z jacked his head up. "Why?"
"He didn't give a reason—" Tohr's eyes narrowed on Z's face. "Oh… my God."
The others in the room glanced over, and there were a couple of low gasps. Then the Brotherhood and Butch just stared at him.
"What the fuck are you looking at?"
Phury pointed to the antique mirror hanging on the wall next to the double doors. "See for yourself."
Zsadist marched across the room, ready to give them all hell. Bella was what mattered—
His mouth went lax at his reflection. With a shaky hand he reached out to the eyes in the old-fashioned leaded glass. His irises were no longer black. They were yellow. Just like his twin's.
"Phury?" he said softly. "Phury… what's happened to me?"
As the male came up behind him, the brother's face appeared right beside Z's. And then Wrath's dark reflection showed up in the mirror, all long hair and sunglasses. Then Rhage's star-fallen beauty. And Vishous's Sox cap. And Tohrment's brush cut. And Butch's busted nose.
One by one they reached out and touched him, their big hands landing gently on his shoulders.
"Welcome back, my brother," Phury whispered.
Zsadist stared at the males who were behind him. And had the oddest thought that if he were to let himself go limp and fall backward… they would catch him.
We also meet another character, Bella's brother Rehvenge, who seems like an interesting addition. There's a little twist at the end, that I admit I didn't see coming, and I'm curious to see how he plays into the rest of the series.
Now for the lessers, the baby powder smelling adversaries of the vampires. In earlier books I never found them very threatening but this book seemed to step up the action. I'm still waiting for my epic Lord of the Rings Battle at Helms Deep type fight but so far things are heading in the right direction. In this book there's the creepy and obsessive stalkerish lesser holding Bella captive and refers to her as his wife. He was so loony tunes over her that he even ignored his duties as fore-lesser to find her. When he finally gets a lead on her location, he sets in motion something that I really, really, really hated in this book.
If you haven't read any of these books and are planning to, I suggest you skip over the next section.
*SPOILER RANT ALERT* Scroll mouse over to read.
Crazy stalker dude that kidnapped Bella ends up killing Wellsie!!! Why, why, why?!?! Aside from Zsadist, Tohr was the other character that stood out for me in the previous books. I wanted to see how he and Wellsie's future turned out since she was pregnant. I wanted them to have their happy ending. The scene where the Brotherhood comes to tell Tohr what happened is heartbreaking but after that, there's practically nothing else. We see John's mourning but there are only a couple mentions of Tohr still being missing. C'mon, dammit. In previous books, Wellsie was there for Brotherhood dinners and she took John in when they found him. I know they couldn't do the formal Fade ceremony because Tohr was gone, but damn someone shed a tear for her. Someone talk about her and what she may have meant to them. Someone do more to try and find Tohr.
*END SPOILER RANT*
While Bella and Z's story has been my favorite so far, there are still things that bug me.
- Of course there's the funky slang. I can't tell you how annoying it is to hear/read about the "shitkickers" or "What's doing?" or "How's doing?" For the love of all that's grammatical, can I please get a complete sentence?
- When Z remembers back to what he endured as a blood slave there were several uncomfortable moments for me. I understand the need to show us what he went through but some of the frequent and detailed descriptions were uncomfortable to read.
- Coming back to the present, Bella goes into her needing period.
needing period(n.) Female vampire's time of fertility, generally lasting for two days and accompanied by intense sexual cravings. Occurs approximately five years after a female's transition and then once a decade thereafter. All males respond to some degree if they are around a female in her need. It can be a dangerous time, with conflicts and fights breaking out between competing males, particularly if the female is not mated.This is too close to animals in heat and weirded me out. Seriously, every male in the house started sportin' wood and since it was daytime, those without female mates in-house were shit out of luck. They had to turn to alcohol, red smoke or "self-love" to get through the needing period. During this time, Bella and Z started their sex-a-thon. It was all just very, very bizarre.
ETA: 01/21/2010 - Made minor changes to review for clarity of thought, spelling/formatting issues and overall cohesiveness as original review was written while I was super tired and therefore did not re-read it thoroughly before hitting Publish Post :D
Around The Net:
Loves Vampires: 5 out of 5 stars
A Journey of Books: A
Dear Author: A-
Romantic Times: 4.5 out of 5 stars
The Hope Chest: 5 out of 5 stars
The Romance Reader: 4 out of 5 hearts