Zerosum is the hub of Rehvenge’s turf. Drug-lord, pimp and half amoral symphath, Rehvenge looks after what is his very well and takes care of anyone who threatens that. Struggling to keep his darker half subdued, he is approached by one of the council aristocrats with a contract to kill Wrath, the King of the Vampires. If his dual natured secret was leaked, he would be arrested and deported to the Symphath colony. After meeting Ehlena, a Nurse at Havers’ clinic who causes his vampiric half to become ascendant, he realises things have to change.
With the council in a panic over the recent spate of murders by the Lessening Society, the Brotherhood and Wrath being hard pressed to protect the civilian population, it only seems to be a matter of time before they suffer another loss. Emotions run high when someone they thought they would never see again returns, but will he be able to stay?
When I realised the central character of this book would be Rehvenge, I wasn’t sure what to think. As a minor character throughout all the other books, his actions weren’t always good and at the time I picked up Lover Avenged I didn’t particularly like him. I thought it would be a major task for J. R. Ward to turn him around for me, maybe too major. One day I’ll learn! History plays such a big part in making anyone who they are – what they’ve been through, what they’ve achieved and a common theme for paranormal romance, what they’ve sacrificed. Learning Rehvenge’s history and all the things he has done for his family and friends made me re-examine what I thought I knew of him. I can’t say I ended up loving him as much as the rest of the Brotherhood but definitely as someone worthy of affection and respect.
Rehvenge is a character that on closer inspection is neither a good nor bad guy because he can’t be, his dual nature ensures that. What he is though is someone who cares deeply about those he is close to, tempers his darker side as much as he can with his vampiric half and while his choice of career may not be what can be termed as ‘good’, within it, he makes it as safe and looks after everyone as much as possible. Except himself that is. When you learn what he has to do to keep his secret and his family safe, your heart goes out to him. Ehlena I liked from the beginning and her situation and father’s illness made me sad for her. I couldn’t help but admire her guts and backbone which, along with her compassionate nature and ability to see Rehvenge through unbiased eyes, made her an awesome female character. Their interactions were really well written and I found myself hope it would work out for them, even when I was sure it wouldn’t.
I also have to say, this book is almost a two in one. There is a lot more side story going on with the Brotherhood and several threads that have been brewing over the last few books are resolved here. The book itself is about twice the size the others are and I can only assume they were threads that needed to come into play but not enough on their own to be in their own novel. Whatever the reason, it worked and while there were a lot of things being resolved, several new ones have been put into play and I can’t wait for the next one!
A special thank-you as well to J.R. Ward for Tohr. I was in tears anytime he came up!