In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other—six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. And now, a dutiful twin must choose between two lives...
Fiercely loyal to the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Phury has sacrificed himself for the good of the race, becoming the male responsible for keeping the Brotherhood's bloodlines alive. As Primale of the Chosen, he is to father the sons and daughters who will ensure that the traditions of the race survive and that there are warriors to fight those who want all vampires extinguished.
As his first mate, the Chosen Cormia wants to win not only his body but his heart for herself- she sees the emotionally scarred male behind all his noble responsibility. But while the war with the Lessening Society grows more grim, and tragedy looms over the Brotherhood's mansion, Phury must decide between duty and love.
Black Dagger Brotherhood Book 6
WOW, there is so much that happens in 'Lover Enshrined'. The Black Dagger Brotherhood world really undergoes a radical change after the vampire society is detonated by a major trump card delivered by the Omega. I'm really not going to dive into the outer happenings in LEn. The book itself is huge so again, this will be all about Phury and his heroine, the Chosen Cormia. I will say that LEn was the first BDB book that I didn't rush out and buy. And when I did purchase it, the book sat in my TBR pile for a few weeks before I picked it up. I really, really wasn't feelin' Phury or his heroine. While many thought the romance really lacked in this installment, I not only agree but I'll add that I really disliked both the Hero and heroine, both of which had me cringing many times and it was always a relief for me to move past their scenes and read the various subplots, which I loved.
Phury, twin brother of Zsadist and member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. He's a man of style and class and he really longs to be the hero. While many already believe he's a hero, Phury would venomously disagree. He has a long list of things that he desires to feel guilty for: His twin's abduction, the deaths of his parents when he couldn't find Z, the horrible treatment of Z and his subsequent anger and pain, his wrongful love of his brother's shellan, and of course, there's his flagrant drug addiction. Phury, to me, is a walking, talking pity party. He's a wallower. He's been a favorite of many readers prior to his novel, but I wonder if he's still favored now...
I will say that I do respect Phury for he's made many sacrifices. He sacrificed his leg in the rescue of his brother, and he sacrificed his oath of abstinence to remove the burden of Primale from Vishous by placing the title onto his own shoulders. But Phury is in no rush to consummate the mating between him and the Chosen Cormia, First Mate and representative of the whole. Instead he takes the Chosen from the nontemporal realm to live with him at the mansion until they're both ready to make the ceremony official.
The Chosen are a group of female followers that live in the nontemporal realm and sanctuary of the Scribe Virgin. It is place of temples set in a landscape of never ending white. Chosen spend their lives in worship of the Scribe Virgin except for those that become mated to a Brother and leave for the temporal realm. The Primale is a select Brother that lives with the Chosen and becomes mated to them all. The goal is that he father as many young as possible to create more warriors for the Brotherhood. This practice hasn't been done in centuries but with the Brothers limited to seven, the Scribe Virgin feels that it's time to replenish her race for the war has come to a major and deadly turning point.
The Chosen Cormia is as bland as the world she was born and bred for, IMO. Ward did have the decency of making her single-minded, but then again that was to be expected. Cormia has fought the strictures of her destiny for as long as she can remember. Shamefully, she wants a name for herself. Anything for herself really. The last thing she wants or desires is to be a representative of the whole. She's dying to break out and live. And the guilt over this sacrilege is immense. She has that in common with Phury. Except Cormia doesn't wallow in this guilt. Instead she accepts it and allows herself to become immersed in the world of the Brotherhood and the temporal realm. A place she had never been before. And the Primale, Phury, has become somewhat of a fascination for her since her arrival as well.
In her stolen moments with Phury, Cormia has come to like him. She still knows so little about him but his beauty and honor are admirable to her. She's sees him as selfless. Constantly inquiring after others. Constantly trying to help in every situation, even the mundane. Cormia also can't help but feel jealousy over Phury's love of Bella. She can see it in his eyes, his manner. These thoughts of course give her pause, for she'll have to share the Primale with her sisters once they return to the nontemporal realm and sanctuary of the Scribe Virgin. She can't help but covet this time alone with Phury but she doesn't know how do stand out and tell Phury that in truth, she desires him and she's ready to consummate the mating ceremony.
But Phury is a bit too busy fighting his own demons to really notice Cormia. His agonizing relationship with Mr. Wizard poisons every one of his thoughts and he can't escape the voice in his head. For that's what Mr. Wizard is: the self-depreciating voice in his head, ridiculing his every move, his every thought. It's the voice that drives him to the drugs time and again. It's the voice that has him slaying lessers, not just to kill them, but to slice again and again into the flesh of his enemies as a cathartic exercise to release the demons within his soul. Phury is seriously in a bad way. A downward spiral flowing more and more out of his control.
I must confess that although I didn't like Cormia, my heart broke for her and my anger at Phury rose in retaliation. He does have a lot of mental issues going on, but he becomes selfish to me with his inattention towards Cormia. She reminded me of a child that experiences the sand on a beach for the very first time. The feeling of your toes sinking into sun warmed granules. The deep, thick texture that envelopes your foot when you put your weight on it. Your eyes alight at the discovery and the ocean's appeal disappears for a moment. It's that awakening, that new experience that Phury misses time and time again with Cormia. Instead he passes her off to John Matthew as he heads in out the door to appease either his need for pain or his need for drugs.
Cormia is all fresh innocence and in the face of Phury's demons, she's almost childlike in her naiveté. John Matthew likens her to a rainbow and sunshine on a summer day. Quite the light to Phury's gloom. Phury's rage and hate against himself is palpable. Everything he does is a direct result of the demons inside. The two couldn't be any more different from each other if they tried.
Phury with his happy lesser sessions that involve mauling prior to death, is becoming a visual liability for the Brotherhood. The risk of exposure to the human world is great and Phury is causing more harm than good. Wrath the King, revokes Phury's right to fight for his race. He'll remain a Brother for the Primale must be a Brother and the vampires don't have any other replacement for that role. Phury can't say that he's all that surprised. It's just one more thing to add to the list and feel guilty for.
Slowly and subtly, Phury begins to notice Cormia. Her time with John Matthew opens her personality like a rose in it's first bloom. Phury can't help but feel not only the familiar guilt but feelings of jealousy as well. At the mention of JM, Cormia lights up. He's showing her how to work appliances, taking her outside to enjoy the gardens and run, to be free. All the things that Phury isn't doing. Soon, Phury stumbles upon something that he and Cormia have in common. Phury, an exceptional artist with portraits being his specialty, and Cormia, as it would seem, has an uncanny nack for architecture. In her time, she's learned to construct what's in her mind out of toothpicks and peas. Creating large and complex structures that takes Phury's breath away at their beauty. Finally, he sees her.
What follows next is series of almost sex scenes. Phury's fear of becoming the Primale in truth pulls him back time and again for once he sleeps with Cormia, he's obligated to sleep with all forty Chosen. The dreaded thought is a total buzz killer. On the flip side, Cormia feels deficient at Phury's refusal. She assumes that the Primale's love for Bella is what's holding him back. But when faced by Cormia's challenge that Phury doesn't want her, Phury tells Cormia that he's not good for her. That her belief in his honor and strength are untrue because she doesn't wholly know him.
Cormia's undeterred belief in Phury's heart and soul is a gift. She will not be swayed from knowing that Phury is the heart and strength of the race. She is perhaps the last to think he is honorable. She is his cheering section. His rock. But at this moment, Phury still has yet to lean on her. The drugs continue to be where he finds his solace and he has yet to hit the very bottom of this out of control downward spiral.
Also, in the midst of this pulling back and forth between Phury and Cormia, Phury has decided that he doesn't want Cormia to be his First Mate. He wants to release her from the bond that was forced upon her. And while yes, in the beginning, Cormia was forced but now, she's in love with the Primale and when he reveals the news, her heart breaks. And when he leaves her to go to another Chosen, to one of her sisters, her world breaks.
Phury's rock bottom isn't pretty and he ruins a lot of his former life in his downward spiral to the bottom. It's Cormia though that stands by him the entire time. Her belief was always pure and that was most likely Phury's saving grace. For a warrior who was constantly saving others, not just because it was his duty, but it was also for self punishment as well. All this time, it was Phury that needed the saving. But like most addicts, he's a good liar not only to others, but to himself as well.
Phury also strives to deny his instincts and the bonding that has happened with Cormia. I really believe he does this out of love. He doesn't want to hurt her because he knows that inevitably, he will. Yet in his determination to distance himself, he's already hurting her. I did feel a shout of triumph when after all of Phury's pushing away that when he finally realizes that it's Cormia and only Cormia that he wants, she's threw with him. Momentarily of course.
'Lover Enshrined' was a very different reading experience and in my opinion, the most tragic. With Butch and Vishous, the humor was always rampant. Phury is obviously for many reasons, not very humorous. Plus, a lot of people are either hurt or killed. LEn is really the novel that launches the series into an Urban Fantasy categorization. There's no doubt though that this was an amazing addition to the series. I believe it was Barbara I was talking to and I think it was she that made a really good observation of 'Lover Enshrined'. She saw it as a novel that was mostly an instrument for Ward to develop the over reaching subplots and introduce not only the new generation of Brothers, but to also make several steps with the war against the Lessening Society. I think this describes the overall goal of LEn perfectly.
My main disappointment lies with the romance between Phury and Cormia. First of all, I had problems with Phury. I hate to say it, but the male is just too metro sexual for my taste. Because of this, I've always had trouble picturing Phury as a Brother or even as a huge male. Ward reminds the reader often of his size but in my mind, he's always this little guy; little because I'm comparing him to the brothers. Then there is his pity party. He's always guilty over things that truthfully are out of his control to begin with. Then, I thought Ward cheated him out of his Happy Ever After. The page time between Phury and Cormia was paltry in comparison to other books. I didn't think it was fair to Phury for he's been such a presence and he's just so self tortured! I thought he deserved more.
I do congratulate Ward on her excellent portrayal of the dire effects of drugs. How they ruin your friendships, your job, and really your entire life. When Phury makes the decision to end his addiction, the withdrawal and the recovery felt incredibly real. I admire Phury for what he accomplishes in the end and I'm glad that he's on the road to recovery.
How did you feel about Phury's romance? What other novels have you read that involved drug addiction?