by J. R. Ward

June 2008
ISBN: 978-0-451-22272-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Signet Books
Mass Market Paperback

As the sixth book in an enormously popular series, you might expect some repetition, some sameness about the characters or overall plot direction. Author J. R. Ward commits none of these “sins” in Lover Enshrined. Indeed, she goes above and beyond all reasonable expectation to create the most ambitious book yet.

Series faithful will already know about Phury’s decision to become Primale of the Chosen. It is an act of sacrifice, made by the warrior who always puts others ahead of himself, no matter what the personal cost. It is those actions that have also made him a drug addict. His purpose shifts from fighter to lover on a grand scale as he is expected to sire the next generation of Chosen with the forty or so maidens in the temple. Unfortunately, years of celibacy and drug use have made him reluctant to wield his “sword” with enthusiasm.

His first mate, Cormia, was traumatized during the official ceremony and he has brought her back to the compound to get used to being around him without the pressures of temple life. She has never been beyond the sanctuary walls and everything is a new adventure for her. As her interest in Phury builds, so does her desire to be free. Only then will her decision to be with him have any value.

An author must be very confident in her characters to have an addicted hero, but Ms. Ward’s skill is beyond reproach. She knows just what drives them, what scares them and what they need to reach their full potential.

As if this were not enough, there are subplots and twists to boggle the mind. Without going into great detail, Ms. Ward is taking the Black Dagger Brotherhood far beyond its paranormal romance heritage deep into the realm of dark urban fantasy. The battle between good and evil will call upon warriors from beyond the Brotherhood and the Lessening Society. I have a feeling that the ride is going to be wild.

Reviewed in June 2008 by Paula.

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