Lately, I've been rereading JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood novels and it occurred to me that if a review of the fourth book in the series, Lover Revealed, is to be posted, I'd have to be the one to do it. Why do you ask? Because Helena hates it with a passion. That's not to say that her opinion isn't valid, or that it would keep her from an unbiased review. No, I simply thinks she hates the book too much to waste her time on a review, and I'm hesitant to skip it entirely as I know we're going to be caught up in Lover Mine fever at any moment.
"Butch O'Neal is a fighter by nature. A hard living, ex-homicide cop, he's the only human ever to be allowed in the inner circle of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he wants to go even deeper into the vampire world- to engage in the bolster war with the Lessers. He's got nothing to lose. His heart belongs to a female vampire, an aristocratic beauty who's way out of his league. If he can't have her, then at least he can fight side by side with the Brothers...
Fate curses him with the very thing he wants. When Butch sacrifices himself to save a civilian vampire from the slayers, he falls prey to the darkest force in the war. Left for dead, found by a miracle, the Brotherhood calls on Marissa to bring him back, though even her love might not be enough to save him..."
Brian O'Neal, most often called Butch, is a human police officer who gets caught up in the war between the Brotherhood and the Lessers in the very first book of the series. One of Beth's human acquaintances, Butch attempted to help her when her transition hit and was unknowingly thrust into the vampire world. Then Vishous had a vision of Butch, and the former homicide detective's fate was sealed.
After spending his life feeling as though he's on the outside looking in, Butch learns that his destiny has plans that will place him right in the thick of things as far as the brotherhood is concerned. Soon he's caught between the Omega and the Brotherhood, fighting for his life in a war that becomes his own. In his personal life, his relationship with the aristocratic vampire Marissa continues through a series of hurdles, as does his relationship with Vishous and the brotherhood.
Honestly, this book isn't JR's best. On the plus side, this story does much to push the plotline concerning the Omega's son and the prophecy foretelling the Omega's downfall forward. Butch gets to leave the sidelines and join the action as a participant instead of an observer. Butch's traumatic personal history, before only hinted at, is brought into full view. Moreover, the interaction between Butch and Vishous is nothing short of engrossing.
That's also one of the problems. Marissa is such a weak, simpering, whining character, that I spent the entire novel wishing Butch would ditch her and hook up with Vishous. The sexual tension between Butch and Vishous is so hot in this story it's a wonder the book doesn't burst into flames. And I'm not just imagining emotions between 2 heterosexual characters where there are none (I admit I'm sometimes guilty of this, although I maintain that Remus and Sirius had a lil something something going on while Harry was off at Hogwarts). Vishous fully admits to the tension between the two. He loves Butch, although I believe his great affection for the man sparks a sexual attraction in Vishous that wouldn't necessarily be present otherwise. The back and forth, will-they-wont-they between Butch and Vishous is far more interesting than that bland, white bread relationship between Butch and Marissa.
Another plus (and minus) are the subplots. This book concentrates heavily on John Matthew and his peers as he gets deeper into the vampire world and closer to his transition. While this is very interesting, it often steals the show completely from the main characters. Marissa just isn't a strong enough heroine or character to keep the focus on the main love story. Because of that, and the constant wishy-washyness of the love story between Marissa and Butch, this book is best read for the subplots and the relationship between Butch and Vishous, which continues to play a strong role into the next book, Lover Unbound.
Lover Revealed isn't exactly Lover Awakened, but thank the Scribe Virgin it isn't Lover Enshrined.