Having been warned that Book 6 of the Brotherhood of the Black Dagger series wasn't going to be a good read (but I needed to get through it in order to get to Book 7, Lover Avenged, which is supposed to be great), I confess my expectations were low. When the story opened on Phury and his addictions, I set my teeth and plowed on. Phury's not my favorite brother, and the whole Primale story grates on me. However, something happened as I kept reading; while I never really warmed to Phury and Cormia's "romance", I found the other stories going on around them to be absolutely riveting. Ward's way of jumping between adventures had me turning pages, reading far into the night. What a nice surprise!
Like others have stated, I never really bought into the relationship of Phury and Cormia, mostly because I couldn't see them attracted to one another. I really, really wanted to smack the "wizard" in Phury's head, so I suppose it makes sense that Phury felt he had to drown out the voice with drugs. The best part of the relationship for me was the self-growth Cormia experienced. Their story really wasn't one that made me feel they belonged together, though I like both individually.
The action going on around Phury and Cormia, though, really had me hooked. With John, Blay, and Qhuinn joining the Brothers in their fight, I wanted to know what was coming next constantly. Lash, that evil fiend, lets his true colors fly in Lover Enshrined, and he's a great villain, turning the vampire community on its ear and threatening the very life of it. I liked the glimpses of Z and Bella (but am wondering about her pregnancy timeline...), and any time the Brotherhood got together I was on edge. The unexpected return of a Brother has me all set up for either future revenge or redemption, and hopefully both.
Lots to like about Lover Enshrined, even if the central romance is a bit of a letdown. If Ward does go heavy on the slang and pop culture references, I've come to expect it and can gloss over it in my reading because I know I'm going to have a good time. It's going to be interesting to see how the changes that have come to the Brothers and the vampires in general are going to play out, and I'm ready for Lover Avenged to take me through them. Still good fun, and still engaging.