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#BookReview – “Lover Awakened” by JR Ward


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…


In the third Black Dagger Brotherhood book, Bella has survived mental and physical torture for the past six weeks at the hands of a lesser. When the brotherhood finally rescues her, she’s lost and confused, and only feels safe around Zsadist, the vampire warrior whom she’s dreamed about for so long.

Zsadist is the most tormented of the brothers. After a century of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse as a blood slave, he believes himself to be unworthy and dirty. He doesn’t trust easily. He’s loyal to the brotherhood, but he’s not friends with any of the brothers. He’s cruel, rude, and able to kill without blinking an eye. Until Bella.

Z’s twin, Phury, is racked with guilt. He’s constantly worrying about his brother, and he’s so stressed he’s turned to drugs to help him level out. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to help Z, even give up Bella, the woman he cares about.

This is an amazing story, and I can see why it’s a fan favorite. I cried a few times. Bella and Zsadist are wonderful, broken characters. Z keeps his pain bottled up inside. He only feels anger and hatred, no other emotions. Bella breaks through his walls and forces him to grow as a person and find his humanity. It was beautiful and heart wrenching.

In the previous two books, I couldn’t relate to the brothers as a whole. In this book, I finally saw them as a family unit and realized how deep their emotions are for one another.

Several different plot lines run alongside the main romance, which feature: Butch, John, Phury, Rehvenge, and Mr. O (the villain). Butch and Marissa’s story is up next. I’m a big Butch fan, but I’m not so crazy about Marissa.

I knew it was coming (I’ve researched this series before reading it), but I was shocked with how Tohr lost Wellsie. The aftermath and Tohr’s breakdown will surely be hard to read in later books.

I didn’t like Bella’s brother, Rehvenge. He’s a drug-dealing pimp who traffics women and drugs through his nightclub, and he wants to keep Bella under house arrest to protect her. I don’t mind overprotective brothers, but I don’t like double standards, especially those that are so extreme. After all, those “whores,” as Rehv calls them, are somebody else’s daughter and possible sister. Hopefully, he’ll find a way to redeem himself.

There are some unusual word choices and phrases. For example: the word “boot,” as in shoe, is never used. Instead, it’s “shitkicker.” I can see the warriors using that because they sometimes talk like gangstas, but vampire civilians and humans use it, too, so it feels awkward to me.

Anyway, I absolutely loved this story. It’s my favorite so far in the series.

5 Stars