Book Review

Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward


Title: Lover Revealed
Author: J.R. Ward
Publication Info: Onyx March 6, 2007
ISBN: 0451412354
Genre: Paranormal

Coffee Room, Black Dagger Brotherhood soundstage, 4:00 pm.
15 minute break per union regulations.

Marissa: Man, I am beat.

Butch: Me, too. This “your angst, my angst” thing is way tiring, you feel me?

Marissa: Frankly, I’m a little tired of feeling you. You’re all up my skirt with lust ahoy and then in the next chapter, if it’s not about some blonde baby powder monster man, you’re freaking out about your own worth or some shit, so you get drunk and you blow me off.

Butch: Hey, that’s how it’s written.

Marissa: I’m just saying, if I were an actual woman, I’d have kicked your ass to the curb by now with this, “I want you so much my balls are on fire but I’m not worthy of you” routine. You go get drunk off your ass and whine for awhile while I consider my perfect yet lonely life? Boring.

Butch: What can I say? I’m a sensitive man beneath a crusty exterior, both of which are intimidated by your beauty and perfection.

Marissa: Perfection? Please! I’ve never had an orgasm and don’t know what my vagina is for.

Butch: Like I said, that’s how it’s written.

John: *walks in and waves*

Butch: Time for the obligatory appearance of John?

John: *nods and walks out*

Marissa: (growling) Man, this overemphasis on purity is driving me batshit. What is it with the focus being so heavy on the men to the point that us women are merely beautiful repositories for your manful lust?

Butch: Hey, like I said….

Marissa: Yeah, that’s how it’s written. But come ON now. The women in this series are such conduits to male homosocial eroticism it’s as if they aren’t real. Eve Sedgwick would pound her head on her desk if she read these books.

Butch: Male homo-what now?

Marissa: The homoerotic triangle as described by Eve Sedgwick, in which two men use a woman as a conduit to express their homosexual desire. All the women in these books are merely homoerotic conduits instead of fully-fleshed characters.

Butch: I hate to break it to you, but you weren’t there for the other scene we shot today. You were not needed as a conduit. Trust me.

Marissa: Oh, the hell I’m not. I’m the barrier and the conduit and-

Butch: Can you stop making such weird gestures? You’re getting coffee on my suit.

John: *walks in and waves, then walks out*

Marissa: What, you’re not going to name drop your tailor?

Butch: Like I actually know who made my suit?

Marissa: While we’re on the subject, I do not get the forcible mixing of female stereotypes on top of male stereotypes – it makes for very lopsided characterization. The men are exceptionally metrosexual males with uber-violent tendencies, and the women are barely fully written.

Butch: Hey, at least all us giant well-dressed high-end-Scotch-drinking men are told around by a floating glowing chick in a cape.

Marissa: And what IS her damn problem with questioning authority? You can’t ask her a question? What the shit?

Butch: Like I said -

Marissa: Yeah, I know. You didn’t write it.

Butch: Nope.

Marissa: Let me ask you a question.

Butch: Is that allowed?

Marissa: Bite me.

Butch: *snickers*

John: *walks in and waves, bursts into silent yelling, then walks out*

Marissa: Nice show of angst, there, John.

Butch: You’d think the Brothers or someone would have a clue that that kid needs more guidance than letting him sleep in his missing adoptive father’s office chair. But no, they let him go on in his own agony and pay more attention to the labels on their shoes.

Marissa: Seriously, Butch. Let me ask you a question.

Butch: Shoot.

Marissa: Black jism? Seriously? Black jism? As a male, would you write that?

Butch: Oh, fuck no.

Marissa: I didn’t think so. There are so many potential interpretations of the symbolism of that particular scene.

Butch: Don’t go there.

Marissa: Hell, I have nothing else to do. I show up and stand around looking perfect and give you a complex every other scene. And then I get to have an orgasm but only if you can’t control your raging lust and aren’t drunk off your ass again.

Vishous: Hey, don’t even talk to me about controlling the raging lust.

Butch: Man, did you ever get the short end of the stick.

Vishous: Very funny.

Marissa: Now I’m “feeling” you. You two were more “will they or won’t they” than Butch and I, and we were setup to be together on the back cover copy, for God’s sake.

Butch: True that, true?

Vishous: Double true.

Marissa: Oh, shut up.

Butch: I gotta say, Marissa does have a point. I don’t get it – in one scene I totally get that you dig me, and I let you know that I understand, and then you get all close and I grab your ass and am freaked out by “the vibe” to the point I won’t think about it.

Vishous: I think that was meant to leave something to the reader’s imagination.

Marissa: Yeah, imagination. Imagining them tossing the book at the wall.

Vishous: I feel that.

Marissa: Oh, shut up. And take your boots off the table.

Vishous: “Shitkickers,” ma’am. They’re “shitkickers.”

Marissa: Yeah, that’s real bad ass coming from a man whose name reads way too easily as “viscous.”

Butch: Viscous? You mean like black jism?

Vishous: Shut up both of you.

Rhage: What up, yo.

Marissa: Hey there. You’re totally an accessory character in the book but you have the best line in the whole damn novel.

Rhage: What can I say? I’ve got the best extra “h” name in the book, so I get the funny funny.

Vishous: “Bus exhaust.” Now that was some funny shit right there.

Butch: Yeah. Lucky Bhastarhd.

The short review? This book went around in a damn circle sixteen times, and I finished it solely so I could find out what happened to everyone BUT the main characters. I couldn’t have given less of a shit about Butch and Marissa, and I had to wade through 300+ pages of anghsty crahp before I could find out any progression of character for John, Vishous, and the rest of them.

And also, the villain? WAY too easy to kick the shit out of the villain. They are crafty and everywhere, but it’s amazing how easily they get the can of whoopass opened on their powdery behinds, and how utterly unscary they are, because so much time is spent WITH the villains and their amazing disorganization that they seem more like pale slapstick mimes more than actual menaces. I don’t give a shit about Mr. X. He’s less malevolent and more whiny with every page. The freaking Scribe Virgin is more unsettling than the Lessers, and she’s supposedly part of the forces of good.

But what really twists my knickers is the violation of rules: spoilers ahoy, ya’ll.

So Butch is allegedly part vampire, only he never went through the change at the appropriate time. But because his father was likely or hinted to be a vampire which, according to the laws of the created universe in which this book operates, should have caused him to at least have some transitional indications but didn’t, the Brothers can still force him over to their side through a very strange ritual.

What the crap was that? It’s so fudgy it’s like cheating on the rules.

And that’s how I felt after I finished the latest morsel of vampire crack: cheated. And cranky. Sorry. Crahnky. The books are still eminently readable, but the almost campy, addictive prose is less enjoyable when the story suffers through the lead characters and is only interesting due to the ancillary folks. Of course, I’m told all hell breaks loose in the end of the next one, so I have to decide whether to read it or just leave the series at this book.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Ann Aguirre says:

    This practically mirrored my reaction as well. You said a lot of the same things I did, in fact.

    Funny review.

  2. 2
    Dobby says:

    If you thought this one was bad, try reading Lover Unbound.  I’m sorry but spending the rest of your life with a ghost!?

    I, too, am over this addiction.

  3. 3
    Jackie L. says:

    The spoilers are missing!  Even the extra H’s!

  4. 4
    Sarah Frantz says:

    I’m sorry (you have no idea), but it’s still crack and I will still read every single word of every book Ward puts out.  God help me.

    And am I the only one who couldn’t give two shits about John?

  5. 5
    Anon says:

    I’m so with you, Sarah. Crack up until this book; butt-crack afterwards. 

    These last two books suhcked.

  6. 6
    Jennie says:

    I thought Lover Unbound was better than Butch’s book, mostly because I didn’t have to skim through the lesser crap like in the other books, but DH still has to fix the dent in the living toom wall from both books hitting it.

  7. 7
    SB Sarah says:

    Jackie: Highlight the blank section to read the spoilers.

    And yeah. I think this book and the next might be the part of the series that ascends that shark fin to take that leaping fling into the land of “not reading these anymore.”

  8. 8
    lisabea says:

    I think the reason I want V and B together 4 evah is because they share all the sexy I wanna do you chemistry that never appears between M and B.  What the hell is she all about anyway? Hundreds of years of being a wall ornament? Ward certainly never convinced me that Marissa was anything other than a giant, whining wuss.

    Oh, the black jizz is disgusting. ew.

    Still Crack, though. I’m in.

  9. 9
    SB Sarah says:

    lisabea, your comment raises a curious thought. I hesitate to ever assign motivation on the part of the author when I write a review, so I don’t like to attempt to guess WHY a writer made a decision that she did, but perhaps Ward was attempting to contrast a hot, sexually charged gay “romance” with a more romance-novel-traditional “perfect woman with dangerous man” couple, such that the readership, who may or may not be accepting of a gay couple, would find themselves wishing for more of the gay romance than the heterosexual “traditional romance” couple because it was so much better than the same old same old.

    Like I said, I feel really squidgy and uncomfortable assuming that I know what an author intended to do, but the contrast is thought provoking, especially considering how uber-perfect Marissa is as a character in that world.

  10. 10
    snarkypants says:

    Marisa was such a freaking Mary Sue it wasn’t even funny; she had all the realistic ballsiness of a Barbara Cartland heroine, right up to her breathless speech and magical vagina. 

    For the first couple of books I was willing to overlook the “Alpha Male Banter”, annoying as it is, and boy, is it annoying.  And, yeah, the brand dropping, Tiffany this, Armani that.  Whant my mhoney bhack.

  11. 11
    Shannon C. says:

    I quit reading after book 3. The crack is compelling, but these last two books… I’m not sure that I can get through them, and ‘m mainly interested in the sefcondary characters anyway. Plus, I need to see how Harry Pott—er, John—grows as a character.

  12. 12
    Ann Bruce says:

    The “behind-the-scenes” scene was more entertaining than the book.

    But LR didn’t cure my addiction to overgrown white boys who talk like they’re in a 50 Cent music video and are more label conscious than my gay buddies.  LU did because of the world-building inconsistencies.

  13. 13
    Kassiana says:

    Hm. I must be the only person in Romancelandia who liked this book and didn’t see the Vvvvvvvvvvvvv/Butch thing.

    Oh, well. I’m also the only person who hates Laura Kinsale, so I should be used to this by now.

    I find my word hilarious: wife27. Dude, if I’m the 27th, there’s some serious Bluebeard crap going on…

  14. 14
    Ann Bruce says:

    Oh, LU also really brought home the harem-like feel of the women in the books.

  15. 15
    PattiR says:

    Well, while I loved Butch’s character in the other books, I was really disappointed in his book.  Marissa was so wussy and wishy-washy and not really fleshed out to me, and Butch was such a wenis when it came to her.  (It was really hard (hur) reading)
    She is portrayed exactly the same in this book as she was in the first.  I was hoping she would become more ‘real’ to me somehow, and have an explanation of sorts as to why she is so boring, but that was not the case.
    Also, the B & V storyline was not resolved to my satisfaction in this book, but it did kind of have an explanation in V’s story (not much, but they did discuss it a little bit further).  I have to take what I can get, as I am not telling this story.
    To touch upon the rules violation comment, well, I had a hard time with the way Ward manipulated her own rules of this vampire world she created for the sake of the story line, but hey, it is her book.  I guess she can do what she likes; I don’t particularly have to agree with it though.  To put this into Wardism, I was so not feeling it, true?

    So, I still love Butch and still love Vishous, but if Butch called Marissa ‘Baby’ one more time, I think I would have ‘Hhurled’ and threw the book at the wall, but I will still read on.

    I know we are not talking about this one yet, but with Lover Unbound (V’s Story); I kind of liked it.  It was full of the background information we need to go on with the series, but it also explained why Vishous is like he is.  It also shocked me to find the heroine become what she becomes at the end, but if I wanted a conventional romance, I would of picked up a Julia Quinn book (No offense, I love her too).
    How believable or not is this story line, I am not sure.  But count me into the group of being a ‘Ward Crahck Ahddict’.  True?

  16. 16
    Meggrs says:

    That’s so funny, Sarah, because it actually took me until the next book (LU) to be over it, but everyone I know has eventually hit a wall with this series, whether it’s LR or LU (depending on which characters/plot wanks seriously rubbed them the wrong way).

    Me? I made it to LU, and when I finished, realized for the first time that I wasn’t “hankerin” for the next story. In a way, I’m actually grateful for Lover Unbound, because for the first time, I wasn’t all “OMG SIX MONTHS IS TOO LONG WHY CAN’T I HAVE THE NEXT ONE NOOOOOOWWWWW?!?”

    Now, my reaction is a shrug. Yeah, I’ll likely keep reading, but the shine is off the apple, baby, and I couldn’t be happier. Srsly? Addiction bad, tree pretty, yanno?

  17. 17
    Robin says:

    If you think there were some world building rule violations in LR, just wait until you read LU, where the whole mythology basically implodes, and not in a good way. 

    IMO it’s getting more and more difficult to NOT see a certain split personality in the books.  I have no idea what *Ward intended* in writing them, but the way they read to me felt very, well, problematic, vis a vis widely circulated fan feedback.

    And what did you think of that little female bonding moment at the end?  Considering how many readers complain about the lack of female community in the series, that moment felt extremely contrived, as well as ineffective to me.

    I have to say, though, I really enjoyed the Jessica Bird book, “The Billionaire Next Door.”  And ironically, the book had much more of what I hoped for in the BDB series.

  18. 18
    Robin says:

    Now, my reaction is a shrug. Yeah, I’ll likely keep reading, but the shine is off the apple, baby, and I couldn’t be happier. Srsly? Addiction bad, tree pretty, yanno?

    But are you ready to pay those hardcover prices after Phury’s book?  IIRC, Rhage’s book (IMO the most interesting of all of them now that the V/Butch pairing is off the table) will be released as hardcover.

  19. 19
    darlynne says:

    As an unashamed and unrepentant lover of all of these books, I thoroughly enjoyed your review, Sarah, and even agree with much of it. I am, however, totally smitten with these guys and have said many times that I would read their books without an HEA, without the romance. The relationship or dynamic between the brothers delights me and that is enough. While I have banged my share of other books off walls—usually the ones everyone else raves about—JR Ward’s writing and characters do it for me every time. And she writes some of the best lines in any genre, Nice.Fucking.Suit being one of my favorites.

    I would be interested in your reaction to Lover Unbound, primarily because so many fan girl heads exploded in outrage by the end of it. Not mine, I was just as happy as I’ve always been and actually felt LU was the best book of the series.

  20. 20
    Grace says:

    Ugh.  I received both these books as gifts from a sister who loves J.R. Ward.  I haven’t had the courage to try and read them yet.  Between the obsessive love of “Hs” in the spelling, the silly hero names, rampant Mary Sueism, magical hoo-hoos, a virtual catalogue of designer name-dropping and the heroes doing SHOTS of Lagavulin (Jaysus, folks!  Lagavulin isn’t tequila.  You don’t knock it back from a shot glass!  The heroes deserve to die for that crime), I’ve been less than thrilled about trying these books out.  Now, after reading about black jism, I think I’ll donate these books to the library.  Ugh.

  21. 21
    Why am i being insulted says:

    Gah! I have typed a comment, and somehow it got lost. I swear I don’t know how I do it… But I will only retype the highlights of my bitch-fest: I am bying NO MORE series, and I am soooooooo going to read comments about each and every book I buy in the times to come before I buy it. The way authors shamelessly try to make you give them money is just plain gross. (I used to think S. K. was not one of those, but the only book of hers I’ll ever buy in future is Acheron’s. After that, nada.)

  22. 22
    darlynne says:

    I forgot to add: Part of what appeals to me in this series is that I don’t see anything coming. There isn’t one thing that follows all or most of the rules of romance writing or world-building, but that is exactly what works for me. To go back to one of Candy’s earlier topics, these books surprise me. I get all the arguments against them, but I love every peek into this world.

  23. 23
    Anna says:

    This book (LU) smashed my addihction.  The love story between B and V felt more real and more sensual than the fake love story between B and the one-dimensional, plastic Marissa.  Intentional or not, it pissed me off.  Are we really that homophobic?  I’d have happily read a story that put V and B together in all ways. 

    Like any good addihct, though, I went back for more and read Lover Unbound, albeit reluctantly.  I wanted to see how the V/B relationship was going to play out, more than anything.  The book didn’t piss me off as much as LU, but I wasn’t satisfied by the romance between V and… well, it tells you something that I a) can’t remember her name and b) don’t want to look it up. 

    I hate it when a great book addichtion goes wrong.  I’m an eternal optimist, though… so I’ll likely read the next one in the series, hoping to find that mysterious something that captured my interest in previous books.

  24. 24
    Anna says:

    I even got the books mixed up… damn! 

    If my previous comment confused you, just subtitute LR anywhere I typed LU…

  25. 25
    Jackie L. says:

    making voice very small:  duh!  Thanks SB Sarah.

  26. 26
    Robin says:

    IIRC, Rhage’s book (IMO the most interesting of all of them now that the V/Butch pairing is off the table) will be released as hardcover.

    Argh, for some reason I always mix up Rhage and Rhev’s names—Rhev’s story, I meant Rhev’s story.  Clearly I need a dhrink.

  27. 27
    Karla says:

    I actually thought this book was a step up from Lover Revealed (Zadist’s book) because it didn’t completly slaughter the previous characterization of the main character like JRW did with poor ol’ Z – he only needed the love of a good woman, really love is a substitute for all that psychosis?

    Butch got a magical level up because M couldn’t go with some regular old human.  Speciest isn’t it?  Also B/V got turned into B/V: SoulBounded for life.  O’course V’s bondage kink was a bad thing *facepalm* Why is bondage always a sign of bad/wrong/issues with more ‘mainstream’ romance?

    Quiet frankly I think all the brothers and their girls need heavy duty council and psycho therapy not to mention a good sexologist to get them through their hang-ups.

  28. 28
    Lucy says:

    Oh, what a good book this would have been if Ward would just allow her male characters to fuck already. True?

  29. 29
    Lucy says:

    Oh and Lover Unbound has to be one of the worst books I have ever read. Enjhoy!

  30. 30
    Maxine of Arc says:

    You guys are kidding me with these names, right?  Right??

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