There usually has to be some sort of romance involved for me to pick up a book. Anything with a strong emotional undercurrent is bound to get my attention. Contemporary, PNR, H/C & M/M are my favorites.
I have a love/hate relationship with this series. The fact that it seems no one can be bothered to edit it, pisses me off. There are typos on every page, sometimes, every paragraph. Words, that aren't even words, (and I'm not talking about the special words made up for the series itself) are littered throughout the text. How an editor can still have a job after publishing these confuses the hell out of me. It's absolutely ridiculous in a professionally published work. Especially in every. single. one. I mean, Penguin is one of the biggest publishers in the world, is it not? I can forgive one, but seriously, each one I've read so far has been horrendous. Have more respect for your readers and put out quality work that doesn't piss them off. Normally, I can let little things go, but it's not little in this case. So, yes, I have feelings. ;)
That said, I loved this edition for its story and characters (and that is the sole reason for its rating). I practically hated book one, but was told to suck it up and move on to enjoy the rest. Book two improved, and Rhage was an interesting character, I enjoyed his backstory. But, I still didn't love it enough to overlook the aforementioned annoyance. Book three though, I did. This was Zsadist's story and I loved him, had from book one. He's the only character I took to, honestly. But then again, I can never resist the broken ones. It's a gift, addiction, kink, whatever you want to call it. It's there.
"My twin's not broken. He's ruined. Do you understand the difference? [..] All you can do is wait to bury him."
And boy is he ever broken. Years and years of captivity, sexual abuse, torture and humiliation killed almost any humanity left in Z. He was the most feared of all brothers, even sometimes, by the brothers themselves. He's unpredictable, violent and vicious. Still, I saw something under there that said differently in the past books. And I'll credit Ward's writing for the subtle clues to show us that.
"You don’t want to help me, you want to poke the rattlesnake with a stick just to see what it does."
He sees himself as a monster, not worthy of anything good. It's the persistence of Bella and her love that changes him, heals him. It was both painful, and beautiful to read.
I adored the relationship between Z and his twin, Phury. I can't even sum it up in words how pure the love between them is. Regardless of how ruined Z was, I think there was always a part, buried deep within him, that loved Phury with a vengeance. He was Z's last remaining shred of humanity. Their relationship changed so much over the course of the three books. At heart though, it was always fierce and loyal and beautifully portrayed. So, instead of trying to fumble my way through a better description, I'll do it with a quote:
"I thought you were an angel," Phury said softly as he laid his head back onto Z's arm. "When you sang to me, I thought you were seeing me safely into the Fade."
"I'm no angel." He reached up and smoothed his hand over Phury's cheek, sweeping the wetness away. Then he closed his eyelids with his fingertips.
"I'm tired," Phury murmured. "So...tired."
Z stared at his twin's face for what felt like the very first time. [...]
"You've been tired for centuries Phury. It's time to let go of me."
"Don't think I can. [...] I know it all, Z. I know everything that happened to you. [...] So you've got to understand why I die for you every day. Your pain is mine."
"No, it isn't. Swear to me you will stop this."
Z closed his eyes. As they lay together, he wanted to beg for forgiveness for all the shitty things he'd done since Phury had gotten him free...and he wanted to yell at his twin for being such a damn hero. But mostly, he wanted to give all those wasted years back to Phury.
I'm not sure why that scene touched me so much. It just did. I was kind of a mess by the end of that chapter. I guess because it truly showed us how much Z had grown. Phury had always done so much for him, but never got anything in return. It was heartbreaking to see that come full circle at the end of this one.
I don't know whether or not I'll continue with the series. I don't think the rest can top this one. I like the brothers just fine, but Z was my favorite. We'll see, curiosity might get the better of me.
It's hard to recommend this series, despite my love for this book. I wish it was better crafted. The guts are there, it just needs a bit more polish.