This is True (Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward)

A review of
Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York,
there's a war raging between vampires and their
slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers
like no other - six vampire warriors, defenders of their
race. But now an ally of the Brotherhood
is about to encounter his own dark desires...

Butch O'Neal is a fighter by nature. A hard-living ex-homicide cop, he's the only human ever to be allowed in the inner circle of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he wants to go even deeper into the vampire world  - to engage in the turf war with the lessers. He's got nothing to lose. His heart belongs to a female vampire, Marissa, an aristocratic beauty who's way out of his league. And if he can't have her, then at least he can fight side by side with the Brothers...

Fate curses him with the very thing he wants. When Butch sacrifices himself to save a civilian vampire from the slayers, he falls prey to the darkest force in the war. Left for dead, he's found by a miracle, and the Brotherhood calls on Marissa to bring him back. But even her love may not be enough to save him...

The fourth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series is perhaps one of my favorites. It’s rather plot-heavy versus romance - I really feel like these two are fighting for page-time in this book and there are unfortunate moments that it’s very distracting. I do have to admit that the plot of this book, the growing and journey that both Marissa and Butch go through is one of the reasons that this is one of my favorites. The two of them have to go independently before they can be good together. 

What I do think Butch likes about Marissa is of course, some of that innocence that she has, mainly because he’s never had that quality or that he’s really never witnessed it - it’s like a mirage to him. But then as he gets to know Marissa, we see that there’s more to her. She’s got this desire to be independent, but I don’t think Marissa really knows how to be that. She’s never really lived like she’s wanted to and that endearing about her: to see how she gets on her feet, truly. Marissa’s also one of the heroines who actually has some serious self doubts. Here’s a female, who’s basically been shushed her whole life and Marissa is in the end a person who wants to live in peace with everyone, so she wouldn’t have put up a vocal fight like Beth or Mary might have. But instead of letting her doubts get to her, Marissa builds herself a new life from nothing and wow, that’s pretty damn amazing. 

She’s also rather protective, she wants to keep everyone safe and that’s something that almost stops her from truly loving Butch, I think, because Butch lives on the edge, he doesn’t really care for himself. And Marissa’s someone who just wants people to be safe from harm. 

Like I said, Butch is pretty much the opposite of Marissa, living on the edge and not giving a shit about whatever happens to himself. We see him as the funny guy and who wants to do some good. But Butch is, ultimately, selfish and there’s darkness to him. He doesn’t always think about where Marissa is coming from - neither does she always where he’s coming from - and that’s a big reason for most of their disagreements. I think Butch’s pretty focused on just moving forward and he forgets that happiness could be an option too and that he doesn’t have to sacrifice himself to be good. And that’s probably a part of what pulls him towards Marissa, because he can relax and let go. But then again, he’s a fighter and will always be. Butch wouldn’t be happy if he wasn’t out there, fighting the fight he is and giving it his 100 %  - we see this when the Brotherhood uses his police-y deduction skills and really, it was time someone thought about things the way Butch did. 

Both of our main characters go through some serious growing up in this book. They both have shit to sort through. Butch has lived only for himself before, mainly surviving and he’s really in no place to be in a relationship. Marissa on the other hand has to learn to live for herself and Butch is in the way of that. Their lovestory really began all the way back in Dark Lover, but I somehow just love the whole thing that these two keep coming back together only to be thwarted by life: they both have feelings for each other but neither are in a good place to have a relationship. So they keep going back and forward, until both come to a place where they can be happy together. That’s one of the reasons I love them, but the back-and-forward is also at times, rather tedious. 

What’s also really nice about these two, is that despite all their differences - Butch coming from a really violent place and Marissa being an aristocrat, they have a lot of similarities. There’s an underlaying darkness to both of them and the need to protect what they love at whatever cost. We see Marissa’s “darker side”, methinks, when she goes and burns her clothes. Butch thinks that to protect he needs to destroy his enemies, Marissa thinks she needs to protect the innocent from harm. I think it’s really interesting how they’re so different and then so similar in some ways. There’s also their desires for a simple, happy life.

And then, of course we have the biggest bromance of the book series, Vishous and Butch. And these two, I think, define the word bromance, because neither has had close friends before and then they meet each other. If you say these two don’t love each other, I’m not quite sure if we read the same book or series. It’s really well done, because the guys are at times a little baffled by their trust in each other, but when it comes down to it, they just instinctually trust each other. And that’s definitely one of the best parts in the series. 

I mentioned it before, but this is a plot-heavy book. By now a lot of details have started to fall in about the world the series is centered on. The plot is having a battle with the romance in this one and I’m afraid to say it doesn’t get any better in the next few books. It’s only going to get rougher from here on, because there are going to be a lot more plot points and twists that Ward throws in. But that said, I love the whole arch that Butch goes through and I think it both resolves a lot of stuff and leaves us with more questions. 

Final thoughts: As far as characters go, Marissa and Butch will always be some of my favorites to read about, they’re both so multifaceted people, who have problems and hang ups and don’t just miraculously get over them. Story-wise it’s also an excellent one as you have no idea what’s going to happen - even when things seems solved, they might not be. Lover Revealed has Ward at her best, story-wise and with her writing. 

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