Caldwell, New York, has long been the battleground for the vampires and their enemies, the Lessening Society. It’s also where Rehvenge has staked out his turf as a drug lord and owner of a notorious night club that caters to the rich and heavily armed. His shadowy reputation is exactly why he’s approached to kill Wrath, the Blind King and leader of the Brotherhood.
Rehvenge has always kept his distance from the Brotherhood-even though his sister is married to a member, for he harbors a deadly secret that could make him a huge liability in their war against the lessers. As plots within and outside of the Brotherhood threaten to reveal the truth about Rehvenge, he turns to the only source of light in his darkening world, Ehlena, a vampire untouched by the corruption that has its hold on him-and the only thing standing between him and eternal destruction.
Rehvenge. He is a complete bastard in most respects. He is a drug lord, a pimp and a murderer. He’s half symphath, and even though he loads himself up with dopamine to suppress his sociopathic tendencies, he does enjoy when he can let that side of him come out to play. Doesn’t really sound like your typical romantic hero eh? However, he is also classy, intelligent, and refined. The love and respect he bears for his mother and sister are beyond reproach. He has done much to care for them, at his expense…literally and figuratively. You have no idea just how much. Rehv does come across as a rather complex character. There are a lot of layers to him but he’s really not that difficult to figure out once you get to the core of why he does what he does. Did I mention that the dude is also sexy as hell? If you read Tamie’s Book Boyfriend post about Rehv, she gave you a good taste. Who can resist a tall vampire/symphath who’s wardrobe costs more than most of us will make in a lifetime, rocks a mohawk, tattoos, and very unique, amethyst eyes? Uh, yes please.
When I was first introduced to Rehv, I didn’t think too much of him. I didn’t dislike him, I was fairly indifferent to his character to be honest. Bella was the first to give him real mention, as her “…bossy brother with a lockdown mentality.” We found out just how bossy in Lover Awakened. When we found out about his symphath side, my indifference was replaced with curiosity. Add in his extra-curricular activities as owner of ZeroSum, and I was, if anything, more intrigued. This is an excerpt from Lover Revealed.
ZeroSum was doing excellent business lately, Rehvenge though as he looked at the tallies. Cash flow was strong. There was growth in the sports booking receipts. Attendance was up. God, he ‘d owned the club for how long now? Five? Six years? And it was finally cranking enough income that he could take a deep breath.
It was a despicable way of making money, of course, what with the sex and the drugs and the booze and the betting. But he needed to support his mahmen and, up until recently, his sister, Bella. Then there was the blackmail overhead he had to cover.
Secrets could be so expensive to keep.
We are shown that he wasn’t in the business merely because he’s greedy or because he’d been alive for a few hundred years and was looking for a way to ease his boredom. There was a reason, and I wanted to know. As the books progressed to this one, we were given a glimpse into the many facets of Rehvenge, aristocrat, loving son and brother…and the Reverend, the iron-fisted ruler of ZeroSum. Maybe it got you thinking that he’s not such a bad guy after all? Wrong. This is the reason I love Rehv. Yes, he runs ZeroSum and dictates all of the dirty deeds done therein in order to protect the people he cares about. As much as we see his self deprecation about his not-so-nice-side, it’s usually directly related to his wish that he was deserving of the affection from the women in his life. He doesn’t lie to himself though, as the Reverend, he likes to get his hands dirty. This is what I meant in the intro about him really being bad. He enjoys the power associated with providing people their vices… and takes pride that he provides them with the best. A satisfied customer is a repeat customer (Read: a drug user who hasn’t died ingesting questionable shit will be back for more). Every situation is about opportunity, he’s constantly looking for a new scheme, an edge, a way to make more money. He ruthlessly makes life or death decisions when people try to screw with him or his bottom line. He enjoys fucking with people, the perk of being a symphath is being able to get into their heads and enforce his will. I would say he seems to enjoy that quite thoroughly. Full symphaths don’t seem to worry about pesky things such as morals. Being half vampire though, and the copious amounts of dopamine, helps to keep the immoral symphath side of of him in check. I personally, love the dichotomy that is Rehvenge/Reverend.
The lovely Ehlena. Ehlena doesn’t seem to have much going on in her life (a common theme with the women in these books, what’s up with that Ward?) besides caring for her father, who is schizophrenic, and her job as a nurse at Haver’s clinic. Born into the glymera, the vampire aristocracy, her family is now ostracized by them after having lost everything when her father was swindled in a business deal. Her job at the clinic is barely keeping them afloat. In spite of her struggles, she doesn’t resent her father and the often demanding care this illness can exact, it’s quite obvious how much she loves him. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t wish things were different, but she accepts what is with candor and grace.
As a patient of the clinic, Rehvenge is no stranger to Ehlena. The other nurses are wary of this menacing male, and while he does make Ehlena nervous, there is something about him that she finds difficult to ignore. Due to one of her father’s episodes causing her late arrival at work, she volunteers to take on the unwanted duty of taking him on when he shows up at the clinic one evening.
After she knocked, she walked into the room with confidence she didn’t feel, her head up, her spine straight, her unease camo’d by a combo of posture and professional focus.
“How are you this evening?” she said, as she looked the patient right in the eye.
The instant his amethyst stare met hers, she couldn’t have told a soul what had just come out of her mouth or whether he replied. Rehvenge, son of Rempoon, sucked the thought right out of her head, sure as if he’d drained the tank of her brain’s generator and left her with nothing to catch a mental spark off of.
And then he smiled.
He was a cobra, this male; he truly was…mesmerizing because he was deadly and because he was beautiful. With that mohawk and his hard, smart face and his big body, he was sex and power and unpredictability all wrapped up in…well, a black pin-striped suit that clearly had been made for him.
“I’m good, thank you,” he said, solving the mystery as to what she’d asked him. “And you?”
As she paused, he smiled a little, no doubt because he was fully aware that none of the nurses liked being in the same enclosed space with him, and evidently he enjoyed this fact. At least, that was how she read his controlled, hooded expression.
“I asked how you were doing?” he drawled.
Ehlena put his chart down on the desk and took her stethoscope out of her pocket. “I’m very well.”
“You sure about that.”
“Absolutely positive.” Turning to him, she said, “I’m just going to take your blood pressure and your heart rate.”
“My temperature, too.”
“Do you want me to open my mouth for you now?”
Ehlena’s skin flushed, and she told herself it was not because that deep voice of his made the question seem as sexual as a lazy stroke over a naked breast. “Er…no.”
“Please take off your jacket.”
“What a great idea. I totally take back the ‘pity.’”
Good plan, she thought, or she was liable to feed the word back to him with the thermometer.
Ehlena is a good match for Rehv in that she doesn’t back down and has no trouble taking what he dishes out and giving it right back. It’s a discovery she makes about his health in this scene, worry that she can’t shake that set’s off a series of interactions that brings them together eventually. The reason that I truly admire Ehlena, comes later in the book, when Rehvenge finds himself in a ‘precarious’ situation and needs rescuing. To say that she was determined to save her man, is an understatement. It was also a nice change from the typical damsel-in-distress scenario we are usually given. Do I like the softer side of Rehvenge as a result of his relationship with Ehlena? Of course, I’m a chick. I love when a woman can tame the beast. Still, it’s the constant fight with his symphath side that gives even his sweet side, an interesting edge I can live with.
What else was going on in this book? Plenty of good stuff. I had started to lose interest in Wrath but he redeems himself when we find out that he’s being misbehaving and sneaking around. No, he’s not cheating on Beth, geez! Read it and find out. We get to see a much scarier side to Xhex which I absolutely love… we also see A LOT more going on between her and John Matthew, which when I read it the first time, really had me looking forward to their book. There is also plenty of Blay and Qhuinn, and we’re introduced to Qhuinn’s cousin Saxton, whom you will want to pay attention to as he will be sticking around. We also get some of Tohr as he heals and we get a better look at Lassiter. As in Phury’s book, there is a fantastic Lesser storyline in this one, which I REALLY want to talk about but I’d spoil the hell out of it. Let’s just say that due to a certain someone whom we don’t like, the game changes completely, accompanied by a lot of violence and gore (fuck yeah), so if you don’t enjoy such things, be warned.
So there you have it. Rehvenge’s character is what did it for me in this book, but I have to say that I was pleased by this book as a whole. For once, all the things I wanted in a book were present. A good romance, interesting plot lines and side stories, as well as lots violence and mind fuckery. I am always hopeful to be proven wrong and presented with something better, but I would be happy to keep this one around as my favorite indefinitely.
Next week I will be reviewing the eighth book in the series, Lover Mine. Oh, John Matthew. Such a sweet boy. Until next Thursday!