Lover Awakened is the third installment in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward. It is a vampire romance novel, but also has action and drama that many romance novels lack. Continuing where Lover Eternal leaves off, Ward takes the reader on a winding action filled ride with the focus of this book revolving around the relationship Brother Zsadist and the civilian, female Bella.
At the beginning of this book, Bella is still in the hands of the Lessening Society, or more specifically, in the hands of Mr. D of the Lessening Society. Mr. D is keeping Bella because she reminds him of his dead girlfriend from when he was the human known as David. This is a true love/hate relationship that these two characters share and Bella has lost hope that she will ever be found and rescued by her race.
Zsadist, the sadistic member of the Brotherhood, who is known by his black eyes and the scar on the side of his face as well as his notorious temper tears apart all lesser in his attempts to find Bella. He does not expect to find Bella alive, but the emotions flowing through him that he does not understand, make him continue the search.
After a time, the Brotherhood finds the compound where Bella is held because she helped another civilian escape and he lead the Brothers to it. By the time they arrive, Bella is near death because of her punishment for helping in the escape. Zsadist frees her and takes her to his room in the Brotherhood Compound where he grudgingly allows Havers, the Vampire doctor to treat her injuries.
As the story progresses, Zsadist’s twin Phury fights with his instincts to possess what his brother has and begins a downward spiral with his drug habit. The book also chronicles Zsadist’s history and Phury’s role in saving him from blood slavery.
The indoctrination of John Matthew, also known as Tehrror, continues with the start of the soldier classes that the Brothers teach on their compound. John started living with Tohrment and Wellisandra in Lover Eternal, and his story continues here. He continues to talk to the civilian girl who will feed him during his transition.
The Society does not rest during this book. There are several changes in leadership and Mr. D is determined to get his “wife” back. He goes on a killing spree trying to lure the Brother with the scar on his face from hiding. One of the people he kills causes one of the Brothers to disappear.
All in all, this novel is compelling. I could not put it down once I started reading it and had to pick up the next one as soon as I finished because the story does not end here. I highly recommend reading Lover Awakened. The main plot is a standalone story, but I seriously recommend starting with the first novel in the series Dark Lover, if you have not already read that. There are so many details in each book that are vital to understanding the subtext in all the rest of the stories that not reading the books in order leaves the reader missing half the story.