Friday, 27 June 2008

Lover Enshrined by J.R.Ward

There have been so many reviews of this book already. Is there room for one more?

I think if you haven't read the previous 5 books then you are going to struggle to follow the plot of this one because the worldbuilding and plot layering have become that complex.

Lover Enshrined picks up a few months after the end of Lover Unbound. Phury has slipped further into his addiction. Cormia pretty much seems to stay in her room. The whole Brotherhood is fed up with Phury but don't really know how to deal with him. The Omega hatches his secret plan - quite cleverly referenced at the end of Lover Revealed. The Lessers go on the offensive in a big way. We find out lots more about Rehv. And the new troika of Blay, Qhuinn and JM have perhaps the best plot/sub-plot in the book.

I liked this book. For me it was a vast improvement over Lover Unbound. As I think most aspects have been covered (probably better) elsewhere. I'm going to stick to a what worked for me and what didn't format for this review.

What I liked and what worked for me:-

Phury and Cormia - I'm actually going to post about them separately as I've got quite a few things to say. :) Yep, it might be a bit of an essay.

John Matthew - I freely admit to always reading his bits first. I could have a whole list here of his awesomeness. JM & Xhex. JM and Qhuinn, JM and Tohr, JM and Cormia.

The new troika - of Blay, Qhuinn and JM. By far the most interesting secondary plot, though I am biased. I liked the whole thing of Qhuinn becoming an ahstrux nohtrum. The two characters (for me) that go on the furthest journey in this book are Lash and Qhuinn. Plus Qhuinn without doubt had all the best lines.
How are you doing?
"I wish I were a smoker."...
No, you don't. You hate smoking.
"When I face the firing squad, I may rethink that hard line."
His whole meeting with Wrath is brilliantly written. Burning question - What did Qhuinn see in the Fade?

Omega and the Lessers - I think I'm in the minority of people who actually read all the Lesser bits. Mainly because you don't know when something important is going to be snuck in there. I like the insight we get into the Omega in this installment. There was also a nice tie-in to the Omega's comments to Butch at the end of Lover Revealed about how he should keep his family close.

The new leader of the Lessers is very happy to have taken out all but two of the heads of the founding families. Surely this has to be Rehv and Marissa - they are the heads of their families aren't they? And I think they'll actually be tougher to take out than the Lessers are anticipating.

Lash - It would have been so easy to make him completely evil. But I can't help feel sympathy for the character - in fact it's much easier to empathize with him in this book than it was in the previous books. I think what's going to be interesting over the upcoming books - especially as we have his POV - is how he's going to deal - is he going to accept that biology is everything and he has to be his father's son. Or is he going to be saved. And at this point I still think it's possible to save him. Burning question - why did Havers lie?


Lassiter - really not sure about him. Going to have to wait and see how he plays out in future books. I'm wary of mixing the Brother mythology with the Judeo/Christian.

Acronyms and Texting - For the most part this wasn't a problem, but there are a couple of acronyms I'd have to look up if I wanted to know what they meant. And if that sort of thing bothers you, it can interrupt the flow of the book whilst you google.

The timing of this story. This takes place a few months after the end of Lover Unbound, but really the only reason I can see for that happening is so Bella can give birth in this book. Which means Phury and Cormia's relationship stalled at the end of Lover Unbound and didn't start up again 'til we rejoin them.

What didn't work for me:-

Really I think except for the editing these are minor and in the case of Jane personal quibbles.

Jane - I have to restrain myself from putting my hands over my ears and going La La La I can't hear you whenever she enters a scene.

Product placement - why?

Editing - The number of typos and errors in this book wasn't good. I'm not going to list them here, they are mentioned on other blogs and other reviews but there were too many.

Why were the bodies left in the house? Why didn't someone remove them, if only for the hygiene problem if nothing else? And if Butch looked at the house, did his detective thing, why didn't he pick up on the clues that were waiting to be found?

How many people have to see Lash before somebody says something? Didn't any of them ever read Sherlock Holmes? Or see the movie?

Where do we go from here?

I can't help thinking Cormia (and her newfound architectural skills) might be of use to Rehv when he wants to build his new club. I'm very interested to see where the Lesser war will go from now. If the next book focuses on Rehv and the symphaths I hope it does focus on them. Unlike the vampires we know much less about their mythology and I wonder how well they'll stand up to the multi-plotlines.

Thoughts at the end. I liked the book a lot, and I think it's probably the first book after Lover Awakened that I will re-read parts of. J.R.Ward is a wonderful storyteller but even great storytelling needs a strong foundation.

I'm looking forward to Rehv's book though I haven't decided yet whether to go the hardcover route.


Nicole said...

It's nice to see your thoughts on this book, I'm a bit torn as to what I like and what I don't. One of my biggest dislikes, though, is the number of things that only seem to make sense because I've read her forums on occasion. I don't think enjoyment of a book should be dependent on reading a webpage.

Oh, I don't think Rehv and Marissa are the two he's talking about. Aren't they from the same family, and so only one can technically be called the head of the family? Just my two cents, though.

I've made my decision about the hardcover. I won't be buying it.

Jill D. said...

Nah, we can never have to many reviews! There is so much to talk about. I totally forgot about Quinn almost dying. What did he see? Any thoughts on that? There is so much going on that I am sure to have missed a few things.

I enjoyed this book as well. Yes, there were things I didn't like, but as a whole, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. I think that speaks for itself as to what kind of writer and storyteller Ward is.

DonnaB said...

>>Jane - I have to restrain myself from putting my hands over my ears and going La La La I can't hear you whenever she enters a scene.<<

LOL I have EXACTLY the same reaction!!

As for Cormia and her "architectural" skills, I think there was actually a mention late in the book that she was working on Rehv's new club. My question is ... will she do her models with toothpicks and peas?


Brie said...

I feel the same way about Jane. I skimmed her "appearances." I'm still not sure when Jane became equipped to do the things she did in this book. Like saving a vamp with a slit throat and resuscitating a centuries old vampire without loosing corporeal form. I guess she's a Jane of all trades.

I am looking forward to reading your Phury/Cormia essay.

LesleyW said...

Nicole - that was something I'd forgotten to mention. I do think books should be able to stand on their own. Not everybody has access to the internet.

I think R&M are the heads of different families. In Lover Revealed Rehv was already on the Council and Marissa took over her families seat from Havers.

Jill - I did think briefly that Qhuinn might have seen Payne. But I'm not sure that makes any sense at all. LOL.

I think LEn has brought the series back on track for me. But that might have something to do with the amount of page time that JM got.

LesleyW said...

Donna & Brie - Just not Jane fans are we? :)

Donna - at least her models would be 3-d.

Brie - Hope to have my P&C thoughts up either today or tomorrow.

Darlynne said...

Lesley, I'm glad to see you liked Cormia and Phury. I liked her a great deal and admired how she's becoming her own person. While many see Ward's female characters as flat or too perfect, I'm relieved at having only one dysfunctional person per relationship at a time. And, of course, I'm all about the Brothers, so any imbalance doesn't bother me in the least.

I liked all of the aspects you mentioned as well. The BDB is going to have their hands full with Lash in charge of the Lessers. The destruction he will unleash is terrifying and I have concerns about who isn't going to make it.

OTOH, I absolutely loved Lassiter. As things became darker in Lover Enshrined, I didn't realize how much I missed the banter, and he certainly brought his game face.

The product placement still throws me, nearly out of the story. If I'm wondering as I read whether sponsors are paying for the advertising or getting it for free, then clearly I'm not focusing on the important parts. No idea what's going on with that.

I've read Lover Enshrined twice now and liked it even more. I just want to see where this world and these characters are going, so I'm in for the long haul.

Nicole said...

Right, I remembered that Rehv and Marissa were from different families after I posted that. I remembered Marissa having an annoying brother, and since I don't like Rehv, I kinda lumped them together... =p

I like Phury and Cormia together. I really do. And while Jane annoys me, the sections I skimmed/skipped were where the wizard shows up. Bugged me.

Though like Darlynne, I really missed the banter. Some of my favorite parts of the previous books were the bits between V, Rhage, and Butch. It was almost entirely missing from this book, and that made me sad.

LesleyW said...

Darlynne - Cormia for me I rank up there with Bella, maybe even above her. And I do think I'll re-read LEn again, the first BDB book in a while I can say that about.

Nicole - I kind of missed the wizard out of my review completely. The wizard of Oz reference didn't quite work for me.

And I am really missing the Butch, Rhage, V banter. Qhuinn, Blay and JM are a little more serious. Though the scenes between Qhuinn and JM (fathead) after Qhuinn became his a.n. ('cause I just can't remember how to spell that one) made me smile.

Tracy said...

Great review Leslie...I'm a little late posting - sorry! :)

The product placement drove me batty! What the heck was that all about?

I love the troika! Love them. Can't wait to see what goes on next.

I wish to heaven the Ward would bring the women (from past books)in to the stories more often. I'm not a fan of Jane's either but it was nice to see her and Beth in this book. We've barely heard from Mary since her book - and I love her!

kmont said...

Glad you enjoyed the book, Lesley! It sounds as if we're pretty much in agreement on what did/did not work.

But then you know how I felt after reading LEn. :o)

Going to go peruse your Phury and Cormia thoughts now. Ciao!

LesleyW said...

Tracy - better late than never. :) Mary is perhaps my favourite heroine, and I can't believe that she would just have left Cormia alone in her room. This is the woman who was sensitive to Z's feelings after all, but it's like she's disappeared from the series.

I guess it would be worse to try and force her in where she wouldn't go. But I do miss her.

KMont - Glad you liked the review, though I think I like Cormia a little more than you do. :)

kmont said...

Oh no, it wasn't Cormia I had a problem with in LEn, not at all...I could go into what didn't work for me, but that would cause me to take up way too much space lol.

LesleyW said...

KMont - My bad. I did read your review honest. Obviously need to go and read it again. I may have skippy read it as you posted before I'd actually got my hands on the book and I was trying to be good and not read spoilers...honestly. :)