I'm frustrated in how to start this review for I'm torn in two. At one hand I want to rave about the second generation brothers and because we are heading for exciting times plot wise but the romance is subdued to a minor voice. So where to start this review...at the beginning anyone would say, so that is where I'll start.
The beginning of LOVER ENSHRINED is one that opens up with a whole can of trouble as The Omega takes the war between the Brothers and the Lessers in to a new direction. With an intriguing prologue J R Ward gives an appetizer for what is to come and with flipping to the next page I was confronted with Phury and his reason for his red smoke addiction. I soon found out that behind the exterior of his gentleman-like-behavior there hides a tortured warrior that is desperate for a lifeline. Though "The Wizard" was not really my thing I could feel Phury's pain radiating from the pages still I also feel that his addiction is a bit overdone and makes Phury look weaker. The need that drives Phury to help others is not always appreciated or wanted and it results in a friction between him and Zsadist.
With Cormia J R Ward struck an innocent cord with me and I loved her discoveries of movies, the swimming pool and food. She is above all a gentle woman that loves to help those in need and for that she understands Phury so well. They seem to have a connection together but they do not go further than causing a spark and a sizzle here and there as again the romance feels rushed and doesn't have a lot of pages in this novel. Phury's tormented feelings and Cormia's own insecurities make them outward almost distant of each other, while their inner struggles speak of such a different tale. This made it difficult for me to get connected to their journey of love and in the end I did not witness that all consuming love that makes my heart sigh in appreciation.
The no.1 in this novel that will keep you reading on and on was the plot. As Qhuinn, Blay and John Matthew grow more comfortable in their own skin it is the sense of change that vibrates through the pages, luring you to keep on reading and that is what I did. The second generation brothers get tighter and tighter together as more is revealed about them and they just made my heart pound in anticipation. Qhuinn, Blay and JM are being readied to enter the Black Dagger Brotherhood but there are also many events that make you witness that male bonding which I loved so much with the original BDB Brothers.
When the war with the Lessers is entering a new chapter keeping everyone on their toes we also get to know more about Rhev, we follow Bella and her pregnancy and we get to meet Lassiter. The various storylines intertwine together and give an intriguing read altogether. Still with Phury and his struggles something is laid bare that I did not expect. It is with the actions of the Brothers towards one of their own in his greatest hour of need, that felt out of character and did not sit well with me. The whole Black Dagger Brotherhood magic seems to have passed on to the second generation and was emphasized by lack of interactions among the Brothers.
The Omega turns the scale in to his favor and the ripples of one action doesn't seem to end and with this J R Ward shows her talent that once more she could surprise me at various moments of this BDB episode. Though she gave me new things to discover, new characters to meet, plot intrigues to unravel it was the underdevelopment of Phury and Cormia's love that couldn't lift this story to the great heights of the first few novels. I was hoping to get caught in a soaring romance and perhaps Phury and Cormia are not this kind of couple together but I missed heat, I missed need....wanting, I missed the absolute hunger of a Black Dagger Brother for his Shellan.
It is with LOVER ENSHRINED that the author created a vibrant plot that speaks of intriguing twists and turns which I enjoyed myself with but I'm also sad for I feel I need to say goodbye to something unique within this series and let go of further expectations of a soaring romance included in the BDB stories.