Mar 22 2012 9:30am

The Great BDB Reread: J.R. Ward’s Lover Eternal

Lover Eternal by J.R. WardIt’s been years since I’ve read J.R. Ward’s Lover Eternal. Big mistake. Huge! What was I thinking? There was so much that I didn’t remember about the series but once I started reading Lover Eternal, it all started coming back to me.

When I first discovered the series, I was all about Wrath. He was my favorite Brother. There’s always a special place in your heart for your first. If someone had asked me a week ago who my favorite brother was, I would say Wrath without hesitation. Now that I’ve re-read Lover Eternal, my tune has changed; I’ve come to the conclusion that Rhage has to be the most underrated brother of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

When I hear BDB lovers squee over their favorite book of the series or their favorite brother, hands down, Zsadist always gets the love. Of course everyone loves Wrath because he’s the first brother to whom we were introduced. But I don’t hear much about Rhage and it’s a damn shame. Where’s the love for Hollywood?

Lover Eternal embodies what made the beginning of the series so great: Romance, romance and more romance! I think that Rhage and Mary’s story has to be the most romantic out of the series. Yes there’s conflict, and they have to fight their way to be together, but Rhage totally and completely woos Mary and I love it! I think the most romantic part of the book is when Rhage offers to feed her. *swoon* You can’t get any more romantic than that. I think I highlighted the entire passage on my Kindle and re-read it several times.

The overall plot of Lover Eternal centers around Mary and Rhage, but it sets the stage for the next several books. The Lessers play a bigger role but their segment doesn’t completely overwhelm the book. They are plotting against the Brothers and are recruiting more lessers. I forgot that the names of the Lessers are Mr. plus an initial. It drove me crazy keeping the names straight; Mr. O, Mr. E, Mr. X, Mr. LMNOP. I kid with that last one. But you get my drift.

Rhage is known as Hollywood; he has movie star good looks and the ladies love him. But he’s also cursed with a Beast, thanks to the Scribe Virgin being pissed at him for killing an owl. The beast is kept calm through intense fighting and sex. So what does a brother do if he can’t get his fight on? He shags any willing female that’ll help soothe the beast within. When Rhage meets Mary, he is recovering from unleashing his beast. His body is beaten, battered. His sight is gone. He’s an all around mess. Even though he can’t see her, her voice soothes him. The best part of their initial encounter is when Rhage asks Mary to talk, to say anything but to just keep talking. Mary is not fearful of him and holds her own.

“I know. Talk.”

Oh, for God’s sake, what do you want me to say?”


“Fine. Get your hand off my throat and let me go or I’m going to knee you where it counts.”

The purpose of Mary being at the Brotherhood’s mansion is because her neighbor, Bella, realizes that John Matthew is one of them. John Matthew is a mute young man who’s living on his own. He calls Mary at the Crisis Center and they form a strange friendship. When Bella realizes that John Matthew is one of them, she immediately calls the Brotherhood. As we all know, John Matthew becomes an integral part in the series. His story is so heartbreaking and it is a perfect fit, having Tohr and Wellsie take him in. They are such a wonderful couple and I wished there was more of them in this book.

Rhage tries to date Mary because he cannot stay away. He won’t scrub her memories and one night while out on a date with her, they are attacked by lessers. Rhage now realizes that there’s no way he’s going to give Mary up. He goes against the command of his brother, Tohr, and has to ultimately pay the price. When Mary realizes how Rhage was punished for protecting her and going against the Brotherhood, she stands toe-to-toe with brothers, protecting Rhage from them.

Bella also becomes an integral part of the book when towards, the end, she is kidnapped by a lesser. Before getting kidnapped, Bella meets Zsadist at the Brotherhood’s mansion and is instantly drawn and attracted to the scarred vampire. Everyone assumes that Bella should be with Phury and hence begins what I think is Phury’s downfall. There is a sub-plot setting up Zsadist and Bella’s relationship for the next book. I forgot how much of a prick Zsadist was. I guess I had a more romanticized version of him in my head. I so didn’t like him in this book. Good to know that he does somewhat redeems himself eventually.

With all that going on, none of it deters from Rhage and Mary’s developing romance. I loved that despite dying from cancer, Mary was no wilting flower. She rarely gave into self-pity but at times, her need to be strong was off-putting. And it hurt Rhage. For once, I wanted Mary to give in, to cry those tears and let Rhage comfort her. She eventually gets there but it’s a long and arduous road. Rhage is trying to protect Mary from himself and the beast and Mary is trying to protect her heart. With Rhage, it’s never about Mary’s illness. He’s willing to be with her, for however long he can have her. And isn’t that the most romantic thing ever?


Marquetta: Reader, Blogger, Smut Lover.

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C Hunter
1. huntece
Liked the article Rhage and Zsadist have always been my two favourite brothers. And your right Rhage never gets enough lovin :P
Aly O'Hare
2. wingZER0angel
What?!? Rhage has always been, hands down, my favorite brother. And this, my favorite book in the series. (Same goes for the friend who introduced me to the brothers). It's the most romantic story, and my go-to when I'm feeling down. My copy is so beat-to-hell. Come on! How can anyone not love Hollywood? And Mary is a great heroine. The scene where he asks to feed her is one of the best, right behind the scene outside Bella's. "I'm not okay, Rhage!"
Grace S
3. Grace S
Rhage has been been my favorite brother throughout, right from the first reading, with John Michael and Tohr in the Wellsie era being right behind him. When Rhage willingly keeps his beast to spare Mary's life at a cost of never seeing her again, not even to say goodbye, I sniffle. When he's in his room, in full widower mourning as a result, I cry. When the Scribe Virgin had removed Mary's cancer and tied her lifespan to Rhage's but they don't know it yet, and a panic stricken Rhage begs the SV not to punish Mary, I sob. Most underrated brother of them all. I adore him.
Grace S
4. Darlynne
Also my favorite book/brother. To all of the above examples, I'll add: When Zsadist leans his shoulder into Rhage's as they're both staring at the shuttered window in Wrath's office. Or even one of the first conversations Rhage has with Tohr, revealing how horribly lonely his life is. *sigh*
Grace S
5. Mo
WT...? My post didn't post. :(

Anyway, Rhage has always been my fav. Wrath is luke warm and Z is a close second to Rhage. But, oh! Poor Hollywood never gets enough loving. There is no one more romantic than Rhage or more giving, willing to love Mary even when he knows she doesn't love him.
Marquetta Whitmore
6. lovetoreadforfun
@huntece - Glad you enjoyed it! I did Rhage a disservice when I first read Lover Eternal 5 years ago. Now that I've read it again, he's definitely my favorite brother now. @wingZERoangel - I agree! How could any NOT love him? Lover Eternal is hands down the best romance of the series. It is true romance and the plot isn't being taken over by the Lessers and everyone else's story line. LE is the perfect blend of everything in the BDB world. I loved it! @GraceS - Rhage sacrifices so much for Mary. And when he was mourning her, my heart broke for him. *sigh* Such a good book. And I also loved that her cancer was a non-issue for him. He never worried about how much time he had with her. He just wanted to be with her. @Darlynne - I loved the conversation with Tohr when Rhage reveals how lonely he is.
Grace S
7. KateNagy
Another Rhage fan here. I love that here's this guy who could have any woman (and probably has), but just wanted something deep and true. I love that he TURNS INTO A DRAGON, I mean, how awesome is that, and I love that Mary and the dragon make friends. I love that he and Mary both stand up to the Brotherhood with respect to their unconventional relationship. And I REALLY love the scene toward the end where he informs Wrath that he'll be taking some time off to care for his ailing shellan, and Wrath reassures him of his (Wrath's) pride and support.

I did have a question about the Scribe Virgin's actions at the end. Does she have any power at all in the human sphere? -- I mean, obviously she does, but I had thought that her influence extended only to the vampire community. Unless there's something about Mary we haven't been told...
Grace S
8. angela429
I love all of the brothers, but Rhage has always been my favorite. I am looking forward to Lover Reborn despite the fact that I haven't been able to fully forgive Thor for turning Rhage into the Scribe Virgin and for turning his back on John after his shellan's death.
9. wsl0612
What I want to know is, what happened to the whole issue of Rhage and Mary possibly adopting a baby? I forget what book that was in but I'm sure it got mentioned. Rhage would be such a great father!
Grace S
10. tjmac
I've read the whole series and am starting rereading my favorites (Anything about Rhage!). Which book features he and Mary's mating ceremony?
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