Title: Lover Awakened
Author: J.R. Ward
Narrator: Jim Frangione
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #3
Genre: MF Paranormal
Length: 15 hours, 13 minutes
Publisher: Recorded Books
Release Date: July 21, 2009
Available at: Amazon and Audible
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other – six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Of these, Zsadist is the most terrifying member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.
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…
Review – Book: After too many rereads to count, and my second audiobook listen, here I am still looking forward to reading and listening again. How can I not give a 5 star rating to a story that has that type of impact on me? Zsadist is, by far, my favorite male hero of all time. That is saying something when my favorite stories are M/M and his is a M/F. I had no idea how someone so psychologically damaged, someone who wore the scars of his past so prominently on his body, could ever recover from the depths of his despair…and not only recover, but bloom into a male so beautiful on the inside that his scars became courageous badges to the horrors that he overcame. Zsadist would have died had it not been for Bella. And as much as I hated Bella being captured and tortured, that was the catalyst needed to draw Zsadist out of his head and into saving hers. He could relate to what was done and needed to save her.
But Z is a hard man, a mean “motherfucker” (his words, not mine) who cared for nothing and no one. He loved his twin, Phury, but he didn’t show it, and a part of me thinks he didn’t even realize it himself. Over a hundred years of rape and abuse broke the man that Z was meant to be, and no matter what Phury, or the Brothers, said, he was not ruined. He just needed a reason to move on, and he found it with Bella.
Everyone who has read this series, and even many who have not, know the story of Zsadist, so I will focus on some of my favorite scenes.
A few of the parts that I just loved most:
♦ Zsadist sitting on the floor of the shower, cold water cascading over his larger than life, but half-starved body, scrubbing the slave bands on his wrists raw so that he could properly feed Bella. God, that just about kills me every time I read it, or think about it. Ms. Ward must have done a lot of research on abuse survivors to pull Z’s story off so brilliantly.
♦ Zsadists learning to kiss. When Bella kisses him and he pulls back to wipe his lips, it was completely logical for her think he didn’t want her, but when he says it was his first kiss, I nearly melted…and so did Bella. She was the perfect female to teach Z about the ways of sex and love. I rarely have anything nice to say about the heroins in my books, but Bella is just about perfect and exactly what Z needed to move on.
♦ Bella and Zsadist during her “needing” was freaking hot as hell…and then when his eyes turned from black to yellow was the icing on the cake. I was in love.
♦ Vishous and Butch…and the sneaky way V got Butch to drink his blood and the explosive orgasm that followed…*swoon*…I love the idea of Vishous and Butch, and will always imagine more happening off page than the author gives us.
♦ I am not usually a fan of flashbacks, but it was so necessary to get to the history of Zsadist and his kidnapping, torture, and finally his rescue. Zsadist asking Phury if he had a name still brings a tear to my eye. Heart broken all over again.
♦ Phury shaving his beautiful hair off and taking a dagger to his face to replace, and thus save, Zsadist. No matter how much I hated that Phury became an addict, I will forever love and respect the male for dedicating his life to saving his twin.
♦ Zsadist writing “I love you” on a piece of paper and giving it to Bella. *sigh*…I was so done after that; just fold me up and put me away, because I was just done.
♦ Zsadist fainting and then crying in front of his Brothers…the real man is revealed, the male who turned his pain into anger finally showed those that loved him most that he was indeed a decent and worthy male who deserved to find happiness.
Review – Audio Book: Jim Frangione is the man. He has maintained the pace, passion, and voice of the Brotherhood through three books now and has not let me down. Knowing that he remains the voice for the upcoming Butch and Vishous book’s makes me one happy listener. The only thing I am concerned about is running across this narrator in another book that is not about the Brotherhood, because Mr. Frangione will forever be a part of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.
Overall Impression: It was amazing
*I purchased my own, personal copy of this book for review.*