I'm having a really hard time thinking who is my favorite character.. Zsadist or Rehvenge.. and also which one of the books is my absolute favorite - this one or Lover Awakened. It's a close call and each day I might change my mind.. but anyhow both of them are excellent also when considering the side plots.
In the first books, Rhevenge is mainly portrayed as a "drug lord". We know he is the owner of "Zero Sum" a club in which there are gambling being made, whores and drugs to be bought. But we also started getting a little bit more from him in the previous book, when we see he "has a soul" so to speak. He is willing to stop selling drugs to Phury when Z asks him to, we know that though he is a tough brother to Bella he truly cares about her and in his eyes he is not only her big brother but somehow her father. Bella doesn't remember her father and what it was like growing up with him because thankfully he killed him after he beaten their mother one time too many.. (he was also harsh on Bella but she doesn't remember as it seems..). Rehv will do anything, anything at all, to keep his mother and sister safe and since he and his family has been through a lot he is quite obsessive and aggressive when it comes to them and also to his close friends - iAm, Trez and Xhex which are mostly "partners in crime" but also friends he values as his family.
In the previous book we also learnt that Xhex has done something years ago that "blew their cover" as half Symphaths so Rehv has to go every month to meet with the Symphath princess - paying her in rubies and sex. All the dirty money he makes in his business isn't only for keeping his mother and sister living the lifestyle they are used to, but mostly to pay off the princess...
Rehv meets Ehlena in Haver's clinic. He goes quite often to get prescriptions for his "anti-synphath" drugs - Dopamine. The Dopamine helps him suppress his Symphath side but it has it's side effect too which aren't that comfortable.. Ehlena is Rehv's favorite nurse. All the other nurses are afraid of him and doesn't interact with him well. Her, he likes. She is afraid of him in some level but she is also smart and sharp and he likes "tormenting" her a little. Their relationship changes a little when she sees he has an infection he isn't willing to treat and she is adamant that he WILL take care of it even going to the trouble of meeting him outside the clinic so he will take the pills he needs for them. From there on, both of them find they have a lot more in common in the way they feel about the world.
Ehlena used to belong to the Glymera. But her family has lost it's fortune and her father got mentally ill after his shellan died. Now, with the money she makes as a nurse she has to support him and herself. There isn't a lot, but she survives. She is a very strong person. Like Rehv, she will do what she needs to do to survive. She will do what she thinks is right in her mind. Well, she isn't into illegal businesses as Rehv is.. doesn't maim and kill anyone on a regular basis.. :P but she does have her morals and she is a good person that truly believes anyone deserves a chance, and deserves to be saved - yeah, like Revh does.. He lives for everyone else but himself.
I loved how their relationship progressed. How they came to love each other even if the both of them weren't ready to admit it. Loved their phone conversations and how they relate to each other. Ehlena is truly a perfect match for Rehv. He is no innocent, and he has his dark side, but with her, he is different, he want to be different and very shortly she becomes one of the few he cares about and will do anything and everything to protect.
I really loved this book. Loved Rehv and Ehlena, as a couple and each on her/his own. I loved that we got to see both the vulnerable side to Rehv and Ehlena towards one another but also the length they are willing to go to protect their family and each other. Rehv couldn't have being satisfied with a small sweet girl, he needs a woman that can take care of herself and of him. Someone with a back bone and even if she doesn't sound like this is who she is in the beginning when we get to know her, when things are getting rough, she shows her worth.
There are mostly had 4 side plots - JM/Xhex, Thor, Wrath and Lash (now being the Lessening Society's POV).
Lash I hate so I won't write anything about his POV besides he needs to be killed - pronto!!
John Matthew is dealing with a lot in this one. Since there aren't enough brothers, he, Quinn and Blay are fighting with the brotherhood against the Lessers. He is still obsessed with Xhex but there is a "fall off" between the two of them which together with how Thor returned (uninterested in life..) makes a huge change in him (for the worse..). It's really sad how his world is crumbling down around him. So this has been the most "down" he has been and the next book is of him and Xhex and as I remember he has quite a hard time before they get together...
We get to hear Xhex so we have her side of the story (towards JM but also her loyalty to Rehv). I think we get to see more volnurable sides to her. I loved reading of her and Ehlena. When you think about it - it's not the most obvious friendship, yet, Ehlena is more than meets the eye and Xhex isn't JUST a cold blooded killer.. She tries to appear this way, but she has a past that she tries to avoid and yet it's always there... We mostly get glimpses of things that she dealt with in the past, but nothing close to a whole story about her.
I loved hearing Thor and how he started taking care of himself. He doesn't only have to eat/drink, work out, and strengthen himself to get "back in business" he also have a lot of work with JM.. But he is still a brother and he is still an asset even if he's probably half the man (physically) that he used to be.
The final POV is of Wrath. V had a vision of Wrath and he is quite concerned that it will be coming soon - and he is right! Wrath has a lot to deal with in this book, him wanting to fight (while trying to keep it a secret), the prophecy, his relationship with Beth and also there is a political plot against him. When I started reading his POV I was actually reminded why I DIDN'T like him in the first book. Well, he IS the king and he can do whatever he wants.. but there is something annoying about the way he acts like he can do what he wants and get away with it. I don't really know how to explain it. But I really hope he won't be SUCH a douche in the last book - "The King".. There is a new character introduced through him - Payne. You can guess who she is if you think about things that the Scribe Virgin said in the previous two books..
There are A LOT going on in this book, I don't want to write about any of it.. I don't want to write what/where so I won't spoiler anything so I'll just leave it to that.
One last remark - Jim, the narrator is getting better and I'm starting to really like him. I wish there were differences between M/F but except for that he's doing a great job!
Additional Details: Audiobook, 23:07 Hours, 6-13 April 2014 / On GoodReads