Rating (out of 5): 5 stars
**This review will reference events at the end of the second BDB book, Lover Eternal, and does not recap the world built in book one, Dark Lover. If you haven’t read the earlier books, please check out the reviews of Dark Lover and Lover Eternal.**
Zsadist is the brother everyone avoids in the early Black Dagger Brotherhood novels. He can be cruel and downright scary. The jagged scar crossing his face, coupled with the tattoos and piercings, make him look the part. He only feeds from humans, and the rumor mill says he tortures and maybe kills them. The Brotherhood, who are known for their loyalty to one another, purposely keeps females away from Zsadist.
But, as we learned in Lover Eternal, Bella seeks out the “scarred brother.” She wants him, to be with him. But after he kicks her out, she’s captured by the leader of the lessers (vampire slayers). Early in Lover Awakened, we learn Mr. O wants to pretend Bella is his dead lover. While he doesn’t have sex with her, he wants to physically fight with her, hold her and pretend she’s his wife. (It’s even creepier than it sounds.)
Zsadist makes it his personal mission to find Bella and make those who took her pay. His brothers don’t understand, but he spends time at her home, protecting it and feeding her fish.
Zsadist is sure Bella shouldn’t be around him. He’s convinced he’ll taint her and repeatedly pushes her toward his twin Phury. She refuses and makes it clear she only wants to be taken care of by Zsadist, and no matter how callous he wants to be, he’s unable to say no to her. (Or to stop from bonding with her.)
Your heart will go out to Zsadist, and when he opens up to Bella — telling her the true horrors of his past — you will melt. Giant puddle just wanting to help. Bella is perfect for him. He can’t scare her away and, after the events of her abduction, she understands him more than any of his brothers can.
It’d be wrong to give any more details than that, but you’ll quickly understand why so many fans of the BDB series say Zsadist is their favorite brother. In Lover Awakened, J.R. Ward has found a perfect blend of action, edge-of-your-seat pacing and character development that leaves you aching for these people. Bonus: Ward always brings the bedroom heat.
Oh, and it’d be wrong not to warn you: There will be another cliffhanger to build up to the next storyline. (If you’re as addicted as we are, you might go ahead and order the fourth book, Lover Revealed.