Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward
Lover Avenged is the seventh book in JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series. It is only the second book of the series that I have read. It may be helpful to know the characters from at least one other book before plunging into this novel, however, like most urban fantasy series, this one is primarily episodic and any astute reader should be able to pick up here without feeling lost.
This book, as with the previous one I read, is a hybrid of action/fantasy genre and romance genre storytelling. On the action/fantasy side of things, we have street-fighting and vampirism, multiple viewpoint characters and intertwining story-lines, hidden identities and the secret powers that come with them. On the romance side of things you have, not one, but two story-lines where couples wrestle with misunderstandings and doubt to discover their attraction and eventual love for each other. These characters might be sporting body-piercings and mohawks, rather than bodices and surcoats, but these are still textbook examples of romance genre stories.
I can tolerate romance in small doses, and the mixing of romance with fantasy improves my capacity for tolerance, since there are other story-lines with meatier plot issues to dilute the romance. The trouble I had with this book was the length. I'm tempted to say that it's a pacing issue, but I also think that it may be simply a matter of tackling too many stories in one book. If Ward had kept to the Rehvenge/Ehlena romance and the Wrath storyline, it would have been enough. As it was, all the other story-lines kept things going a bit too long for me and I got tired and impatient as the book wore on. Perhaps this book is simply the consequence of having too many threads leftover from previous novels, and so perhaps dedicated fans would not find the fleshing out of these stories tiresome. But as a sometime reader, I found that the book lagged toward the end.
This average fantasy reader will likely find this book mildly entertaining; it is probably more palatable to romance enthusiasts.