Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood Series #2)

Lover Eternal - J.R. Ward 3.5 starsI can't say that I like this book as much as Book #1, Dark Lover. Why? Because I didn't "feel it" between Rhage and Mary. And that undefinable something that seemed missing was, to me, the only reason that Rhage was so in love - so into - Mary from the start. I guess it's supposed to be the almost love-at-first-sight? Was it the ice cream she brought to him to help heal his burns?Somehow the Mary part of the story seemed predictable and somewhat Mary Sue. Her "healing" at the end was a no-brainer. Even though the author has killed off characters already in this series, it just didn't seem as if she was going to let Mary truly go. If she had, IMO, the series would have been better. Don't know why, but I'm not a Mary fan. Somehow she seems "too good".The John Matthews story line, though... is he or isn't he? I guess the answer is there by the end of the book, if you had any doubts. Kinda weird to me, though. How could Darius' soul/being become part of a kid who wasn't born the day he died? How was it absorbed into this kid's life? Did it have to do with the rape that he experienced? As much as the author doesn't stick to what you'd call a "normal" pattern, there is a pattern... or perhaps a method to her madness.The Beast. Cool. Weird. Interesting. Compelling. Creepy. Way to resolve it, too.Not liking the Scribe Virgin much, though. Who needs a deity that you can never question? Is she afraid? Or is the idea that she demands complete faith? Either way, she seems harsh and unloving and unlovable.I'm also interested in the language of the book. The way that the brothers have no problems swearing "Christ" or "Jesus" or "God". And yet those names mean nothing to them. So is it just vernacular? Like their constant "urban-speak"? Really curious - not necessarily offended; just interesting that these words would show up so often as swear words or curses when they hold no power or meaning to those who speak them. Then again, perhaps they hold no power or meaning to anyone - human or not - who speaks them in swears/curses in this day-and-age.The Bella-Zsadist thing... obviously, we're going to get into that in the next book. About time. I'm dying to know the story behind Zsadist and his twin, Phury. The Marissa-Butch thing: Don't know how this could possibly be resolved, unless there's a way to turn Butch vampire. Getting kinda tired of the 'woe is me' pining from both of them, though. I get their hesitancy; but it gets old. But I love that Butch has become such an integral part of these stories.Still addicted.