Original review: http://onabookbender.com/2011/11/09/review-lover-awakened-by-j-r-ward/Zsadist was introduced to readers in the very first BDB book. The way he was presented in Dark Lover left me questioning how he could ever be redeemed. In Lover Eternal, Mary is able to see beyond the frightening image that he presents, and the more that we saw of him, the more we are able to see what lies beneath, too. Lover Eternal also sets up the background for Zsadist’s and Bella’s story.The Bella in Lover Eternal is remarkably different than the Bella in Lover Awakened and with good reason. What she went through with her “tormentors,” as the summary terms it, was necessary, I believe, to truly make her the best match for Zsadist. Not just because it made Zsadist stand up and take notice, but because it also gave Bella insight into Zsadist she probably didn’t have before. We also come to learn a lot more about Zsadist and his past, which is just plain tragic and awful. Z’s time as a blood slave scarred him, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. His story was agonizing to read, and yet it was almost impossible to stop because it seemed important to know that he could have a happy ending. And by impossible to stop, I do mean that I sacrificed sleep to stay up and read, and the only reason I stopped before I finished the book was because I had to get up and drive somewhere the next morning.What I both love and hate about this series is the epic character building of not just the main characters, but the side characters as well. I love it because of how the stories intertwine, and how we come to know and love the characters before they ever get their own books, which makes each book that much more anticipated. But sometimes the time spent on characters other than the main characters frustrates me because I just want to read their story! Sometimes it’s a struggle not to skip ahead.