Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 4)

Lover Revealed  - J.R. Ward The more I read these books, the more "into" the Brotherhood I get. I really adored Wrath in book #1. I really liked Rhage in book #2 (although, I'm still on the fence about Mary). I was captured by Zsadist and Bella in book #3 - it was probably one of the more difficult books to get through, partly because Z's and Phury's story unfolded so slowly, and I'd waited so long for it.But book #4 with Butch and Marissa... I've always been a Butch fan. I wasn't expecting him to be absorbed into the Brotherhood family - he's an unlikely candidate, or so it seems; an ex-cop, an alcoholic and former drug addict, a loner... oh, yeah, guess he fits into the Brotherhood after all. *wink* Other than Wrath, it seems each of the Brotherhood has an addiction; it seems unfair to say that Beth is Wrath's, since each of the brothers with a shellan is addicted.ANYWAY... I've always wanted to see Marissa and Butch get together, but I couldn't see how. Would it be the opposite of Rhage and Mary? If I didn't love Butch so much and want him with Marissa so much, I might have said the author jumped the shark with this one. And yet... she's already shocked us somewhat in each book; how is this any different?Well, I guess because it was downright convenient. SPOILER SECTION AHEAD, but I'm marking it. Perhaps because there didn't seem to be any foreshadowing from the previous books, having Butch have vampire blood in his background was... bizarre. Sure, it solved a lot of problems, but still. And having it be WRATH as his father? Because I assume that's what we're to believe - he was named as Tehrror of Wrath son of Wrath. Now, c'mon. Are we to believe that all the blood work that Butch had done in the beginning of this book wouldn't have shown someone as powerful and potent as Wrath in his blood? Or did I miss that every Vampire King is named Wrath, so the "Wrath" could have been this Wrath's grandfather? But his mom, at the end of the book, talked about 1969... and the eyes of the man she had sex with - Brian's (Butch's) real father. And if it *was* Wrath, wouldn't he have remembered this encounter? OK, so it's unusual for females, especially human females, to become pregnant. But still... I was disappointed that Wrath didn't remember it. But again, I'm confused about whether Wrath is his "step-brother)"or his father... I suppose we're supposed to believe that the whole Omega-inside-him masked all of this, but still... Seemed awfully easy for V and Wrath to find out.NOW, am I saying that I couldn't handle this? There are times when it's impossible to suspend the necessary disbelief, which breaks the story's hold on you when you're done with it. NOPE. I'm way into this series enough to confess that, despite the convenience of it all, it was logical, and it fit. And it's Butch. And Marissa. And the weirdness of this wasn't any weirder, for me, than Mary and Rhage's Beast.Butch got what he wanted and needed: a true family. A family that he can take a true place in. He's not the "pet" of the Brotherhood any longer; he's a full-fledged member with a true shellan and a purpose. All the freaky stuff from the Omega had a purpose. As did the closeness between V and Butch.Some might take issue with the homoerotic bit between V and Butch. The author's been playing that up through the books, so it's not new. And frankly, I think she was testing the waters for incorporating such a relationship into the books, maybe even the Brotherhood, later. (Yeah, I've kinda picked up on this possibility from seeing the blurbs about the latter books in this series. So I can't claim to be V and read minds - LOL! I didn't ever believe that she was going to have V and Butch turn into full-fledged lovers. Not that I'd be offended if she did. It's her story - her characters. But it's not who Butch is. And in reality, it's not who V is, either. V just hasn't allowed anyone "in" - he hasn't allowed himself to be close to or really love anyone. Love and sex are often confused, because many can't seem to separate the layers of love; they automatically assume because they love another that they must be sexually attracted to them, too. And perhaps, in this case, the two really are sexually attracted. But IMO, it's just a case of overwhelming love and acceptance. Neither of these guys has felt it in his life. Each has yearned for it, almost more than life, which is why each is so destructive in his own way. So to finally find another who "gets" him - who accepts him for exactly who he is, without judgement... wow! It's heady stuff.And their symbiotic relationship is explained. There's a reason for their "need" for one another. There's a reason for what seems like curses and chaos and evil. As always, in this world that the author has created, it's about BALANCE. And V and Butch create balance - for one another and for the world. Just as Butch and Marissa create balance for one another and for the world. For awhile, I thought we might have a menage going here, which I wouldn't have been adverse to. Seemed like we were headed there with Z, Bella, and Phury, except for the whole "bonded males don't share" thing. Which is why I thought that if Butch stayed human, the Omega part of him might give him some of the abilities of the vampires and yet stay human. You know - longer life, slower aging, etc. And Marissa and V could feed from one another. And they could all be together and happy. But alas. While I would have welcomed such a scenario (it's kinda hot, actually), I understand why the author didn't allow it. Her solution is kinda cool and very hot, too. The drama of Butch's transition is awesome. Breathtaking, suspenseful drama at its best. Well done.On other fronts, the John Matthews story continues... deepens... intrigues. I just wonder if anyone will ever realize... nope, won't say it.I have to also say that I appreciated that the females made more of an appearance in this book. Marissa showed true strength and backbone, when she could easily have been lost in the annoying "woe is me" that she's been mired in for so long. Sometimes you have to lose your lifeboat, get kicked out of your comfort zone, to discover your own life... your own will. And Marissa does this in spades.We're also treated to much more of Beth than we've seen forever - more than just a sentence or two. We even get to see Bella and Mary, and see the gals bonding in their own way. Yeah, I get that JR writes the Brotherhood and the guy stuff better. But it warms a reader's heart to know that the author does *care* about her readers. I can only assume that she spent a bit more time on the gals here in response to the criticism. And to her credit, she didn't sell herself to do it. The scenes with the gals aren't the main story (except for Marissa), but they add the richness, the robustness, the completeness that seems to have been missing from the books up until now.I finally saw Wrath act kingly - something I've been longing for. Although, in retrospect, I guess it's still only months that have passed.We also got to know more about the lessers and the Omega - more about their legends and their story. Yes, I realize these guys aren't the focus, either. But one of my main complaints to now has been that if the author is going to spend so much time on them, she should at least let us "in" on what's really going on in their world. It's as if she assumes that we're in her head with her... that we understand their customs and rules, too. And for once, she peels back a layer or two. Again, she doesn't violate her writing or the integrity of the story or characters to do it. She did a great job of weaving it all in, which also adds to the completeness of the story, IMO. (Or perhaps she got a really kickin' new editor who's responsible. Either way - YAY!)I think because so many of my issues/questions were at least addressed in this book, that I was willing to overlook the "convenience" of so much of what happened to Butch. I was willing to embrace it and accept it and go with it. Because, again, I love me some Butch and Marissa. Can't wait for V's story.