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Lover Enshrined, by J. R. Ward

Is anyone tired of seeing reviews for this one all over the place? Well, tough luck, it’s my turn and I’m not forfeiting it, so there!


(Besides, this one is going to be much more superficial than most of my other reviews, so it’s not as if you’ll learn anything interesting here.)

Lover Enshrined is the sixth installment in Ms Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. While the first five installments are mostly paranormal romance, this novel seems to take this universe in a slightly different direction, more into the urban fantasy saga with romantic elements subgenre.

To begin, trying to get into the series by starting with this book would not be a good idea. While the first three books (Dark Lover, Lover Eternal and Lover Awakened) can be read out of order with minimal gaps, and focus on the romance between each main couple, the next three are increasingly more dependent on the overall arc to make sense. There is also much more detail in the world building to keep track of.

If you have read the first five books, follow me down the rabbit hole…

This is the back cover blurb:

In this “frighteningly addictive” paranormal romance saga, there’s a war raging between vampires and their slayers. Here are the stories of a secret band of brothers like no other—six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. And now a dutiful twin must choose between two lives…

Fiercely loyal to the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Phury has sacrificed himself for the good of the race, becoming the male responsible for keeping the Brotherhood’s bloodlines alive. As Primale of the Chosen, he is obligated to father the sons and daughters who will ensure that the traditions of the race survive, and that there are warriors to fight those who want all vampires extinguished.

As his First Mate, the Chosen Cormia wants to win not only his body but his heart for herself. She is drawn to the noble responsibility behind the emotionally scarred male. But Phury has never allowed himself to know pleasure or joy. As the war with the Lessening Society grows grim, tragedy looms over the Brotherhood’s mansion, and Phury must decide between duty and love…

Going by the blurb, one would think that this novel focuses mainly on the romantic relationship between Phury and Cormia. That’s not really how it is, though. The novel has a much wider scope than the romance.

There are something like… six? seven? different plots running through the book. Three, no, four of these are overarching plotlines—John Matthew and his sidekicks Blaylock and Quihn; Tohrment’s fate; Rehvenge, Xhex and the whole sympath bit; the Lessening Society, the Omega, and the war. Then we have a few other secondary plots started in Lover Unbound, the previous novel: Bella’s pregnancy, Layla dealing with John Matthew’s rejection, oh, and the Scribe Virgin dealing with Payne—her daughter, Vishous’ twin.

On top of that, we discover in the prologue that time is not fixed in this universe, and near the end of the novel we also learn that apparently the BDB’s Pantheon is not closed of but has some sort of *ahem* relationship with Judeo Christian religious traditions.**

I lost track of how many points of view there are, but that didn’t bother me—personally, I thought it was well done because it helped me keep track of the many different threads.

What did bother me—beyond the usual complaints about brand name dropping, and the Brothers’ cutesy slang, and the flat characterization of the heroines, and the abuse of those poor “h”s (really, won’t anyone think of the poor “h”s???)—was the willful breaking of the rules within the BDB universe.

At this point in time, there are many rules to keep track of, and some of the previous rules suddenly don’t apply. Major pet peeve of mine—started in Lover Unbound but it was repeated in this one—is the whole “only the Primale can impregnate the Chosen” thing. Then, if I may ask, what was the whole deal in Lover Eternal with Layla, and her needing, and “we have been waiting to serve the Brotherhood and for the Brothers to give us children”?

And, if the Primale has to “lie with all the Chosen” then why are only some of them trained in ehros? How could there be sequestered Chosen, if they are all the Primale’s mates?

Oh, and Marissa can vote for her family—since she’s the eldest sibling—and override a majority voting (Lover Revealed), but a female cannot lead the glymera council?


Not that these things bother me or anything.

And yet, I liked Lover Enshrined. I liked it enough that I read it in one session, pretty much inhaling the thing.

I liked it despite all the many things that bothered me, and for the life of me I can’t point to any single thing and say, “I liked that, that was good.” I really don’t know why I liked it; I only know that I did.

And so, I cannot give this one a grade.

I can tell you, however, that I’m definitely not following the BDB to hardcover, so I’ll have to wait *wail* until the paperback release of the next installment, Lover Avenged (hardcover out sometime in 2009).

I can also tell you that this series is, indeed, addictive.

** For readers familiar with the BDB forums, the character in question is, apparently, rather well known. For every other reader, the entire thing is completely left field.

You can purchase Lover Enshrined from Amazon.com here, and from Amazon UK here.


  • I liked the book as well, even though there were things in it that bugged me. However, I’m with you…waiting for the paperback version of the next one. Hardcovers are just too expensive for starters, and though the books are enjoyable, I don’t feel it’s hardcover worthy. So I’ll be waiting…impatiently. lol


  • I am so stuck on the character of Rehv I will be buying his book even in HC. It’s all about his barb. LOL
    I also loved the relationship with Blay, JM and Qhuinn.
    As for Phury and Cormia- meh. 🙁


  • sallahdog
    June 19
    3:18 pm

    I am trying to read this book now… I think JR lost me on this one… I find myself skipping around, reading one plot line and then skipping forward till I find it again…

    I think I am finally all H’d out… When Cormia lets fly with slang(it was mental,but still) I rolled my eyes and let go of this series… I spent 3 hours last night and this morning trying to recapture the magic the earlier books had for me.. I just can’t….


  • queenbeetrainer
    June 19
    4:21 pm

    I liked the book well enough. I just wish JRW would stop touting the books as a specific Brother’s book. IMO, LEn was much more Rehv’s and the “Troika’s” back story than it was Phury’s. I think if readers can get passed their expectations that these books are Paranormal Romance there will be no complaints; the Brothers are addicting.


  • Sadly, left me shaking my head. I got lost, and never quite caught up.

    It happens – *sigh*


  • I particularly enjoyed the use of the phrase “short and curly” when *ahem* JRW’s vampire race is hairless from the neck down.


  • Frankly, I’m just mystified by the whole shebang, starting with: How does one pronounce these dudes’ names? Is is FURRY? What makes him furry? Is he furry on his back, on his ass? Ugh. Is it VISH-HOOSE or VISH-HOSE or WISH-HOSE? (Actually, I’d like to have me a wish-hose.) Is it DA-WHAYNE? (Oops, sorry, that must be another book.) And what the bloody hell is a “scribe virgin”?

    I get tripped up on weird character and place names, especially ones with multiple pronunciations. Those kinds of affectations can really impede my reading enjoyment. So I’ve never made it to the books themselves; just kind of stalled out after reading reviews, which confuse me enough.


  • DS
    June 20
    12:59 pm

    I started book one and quit real quick because of the H thing. I read fantasy and SF. Strange names rarely even slow me down. But something about the H thing just annoyed the hell out of me. *shrug* While Warden is doing well so far, I wonder how many potential readers she lost with that affectation?


  • sallahdog
    June 20
    2:28 pm

    Ok, 3 rereads of the book and I am halfway there….

    I think part of my problem is I dislike too many switches of topic… I am kind of linear, so by the time they get back to a topic, I may have lost interest. I don’t mind that the romance is barely there, I read non romance too, but the ever expanding cast of characters and wards attempting to give them all some page time has become exhausting to the type of reader I am…

    I still enjoy her writing style, and am interested in how the overarching story turns out, but I am not plunking any more money down on this series. (I think I can pick up the relevant stuff from friends of mine still addicted., or reading the scenes in the bookstore that I am still interested in…

    I am not a big Rhavenge fan(or whatever his name is), mostly of all the plot lines I have read in this book, the only one that still really interests me is John Morgan, and Xhex (because she is not textbook romantic herione material, and JM actually has a really interesting backstory and definately isn’t textbook hero either)..I also want to know how the main vampire war thing works out..

    I wouldn’t say this book sucks, its better than that. It just let this poor reader behind. The changing of world building, too large a cast(which leads to a lot of group scene x,y,z are there, just so you know they still exist) have blown Sherrilyn Kenyon and LKH(ok, so her change of anita character was the biggie for me) out of the water for me as authors, put that with too many threads running through it, it was just the capper for me with this series.


  • Miss Kitty
    June 21
    12:52 am

    This book was a surprise for me.
    JR Ward almost totally lost me with her last book. I really like Vishous and I liked Jane… at least in the beginning, but the overall book was just… bleh. Too much inconsistencies, too much “deus ex machina” plot twists and what not.
    So I didn´t buy LEn in the beginning and waited for the reviews instead.
    And, hell, yeah. She surely has left the pure romance genre and stepped into urban fantasy. And I like it.
    Alright, there wasn´t as much “he sticked his *ahem* into her and did the naughty” and I didn´t miss it, because it fit.
    There was so much going on, so many lotlines, that it surely added to the feeling of urgency and general chaos that grabs this world.
    And the romance was simply.. sweet, with characters growing, in general and onto each other.
    It was not whirlwind, on the spot, why the fuck is she in love with him so suddenly, no overwhelming passion at first side. It was just sweet and believable.

    I dreaded this pairing, but it really worked out.

    Her other books are good romances, this was a good book and I´m glad that she´s still able to produce the same quality she has shown with Zsadist´s book.

    The last book had me doubting, now I´m back on track.
    Not as a fangirl for one of the “boys” but as a reader wishing to see more of this world.


  • Hey azteclady!
    I like your review! You pretty much sum up my thoughts on this novel. Especially the confusion about really liking the book despite its flaws and annoyances, and still not being able to exactly pinpoint why you liked it. :S

    So glad you mentioned the whole time travel fuck up (sorry!) in the prologue. Not too many people complained about that in their review. When I read that part, I truly wanted that to be the last straw for me with this series, but I couldn’t resist the lure and continued on.

    But about the whole “only the Primale can impregnate the Chosen” thing? I was sort of under a different impression about that. I think anyone can impregnate a Chosen during her needing. Its just that only the Primale will produce offspring worthy of being future warriors (males) or future Chosen (females).

    Anyway, great review! 🙂


  • *waving* Hi, Christine, nice seeing you around here 😀

    On the Chosen pregnancies, that is what I originally thought, but some of the statements in Lover Unbound and most of the way things move along in Lover Enshrined seem to change that rule into “only the Primale can impregnate the Chosen.”

    Which just doesn’t make sense, particularly with the whole “a Brotherhood candidate has to be the son of a Chosen”–because then they are all literally blood brothers to each other. And since the Chosen are also daughter of the Chosen… eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeekkkk!



  • Seriously. That’s gross. I do remember thinking those same thoughts with the half sibling warriors and chosen perpetuating the race. Ugh. Maybe we’re missing something important? Or….. its just another world building faux pas? I suppose the point is mute now that Phury abolished the whole Primale thing.


  • I hope it’s simply an oversight in the world building, because if it isn’t… then eeeewwwww and ugh and yak and ick and all the rest. (’cause it would mean that Phury and Cormia, who ARE mates, are also close blood relatives *shudder*)


  • jenni
    July 2
    2:51 am

    Can someone tell me who is Lassiter?


  • Jenni,
    Lassiter is a fallen angel who is very well known from Ward’s message boards. They have a message board dedicated to him, where you can find out more from him. His first introduction is in Lover Enshrined.


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