Dark Lover by J.R. Ward
Genre: Paranormal-Romance, Vampires, Adult
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #1
Publication: 2007 by Piatkus Books
In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing more than Wrath, the leader of The Black Dagger Brotherhood.
The only purebred vampire left on earth, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But, when one of his most trusted fighters is killed-leaving his half-breed daughter unaware of his existence or her fate-Wrath must usher her into the world of the undead-a world of sensuality beyond her wildest dreams.
Well, this is my second reading of the book and I loved it just as much as when I first picked up the series. I find that J.R. Ward is a refreshing addition to paranormal-romance when she brings in a multi-perspective third person view of the story and we delve into multiple plots with the romance at the forefront, it’s truly thrilling.
For our female protagonist we have Beth, but due to the multi-perspective Ward writes from, we feature Wrath as a strong male protagonist to balance the novel out and give us a level of both male and female time that can appeal to either gender. Not only do we feature these two, but then we have the Lesser society who feature strongly as the enemy and being able to track both sides of the field only adds to our anticipation and excitement.
Beth is stuck in the human world, unaware of her vampire heritage and longing for something she doesn’t realise. Whilst some of you may be a little perturbed by her throwing herself straight at Wrath and the high sexual energy and sex that enters the story early on, the romance develops across the story and unfolds to represent a strong relationship. I felt that the sex really gave a zing to the early plot whilst things were just starting to build and really kept you hooked for how the relationship between Beth and Wrath could pan out. As a character, her personality and profile are relatable and you just can’t help but root for her character. She’s strong and doesn’t allow the dominant male aspect of Wrath’s character to push her around and she represents a strong female counterpart which I like to see in romance.
“Woah. Fangs. She had fangs.
She leaned in, prodded them a little. Eating with those puppies was going to take some getting used to, she thought.”
Beth’s thought patterns were certainly amusing and watching her move towards a new direction in life and grow as a character was really entertaining.
The plot is pacey and intermingled with lots of different aspects that make it enjoyable. I find that we get humour, soppy moments, sexy moments and raw action that really keep you turning the pages and gritting your teeth.
I found that Ward gave us lots of twists and turns and that we were never at any moment expecting the direction. Whilst certain points of the plot could be called “predictable” we were always guessing as to what was going to happen in large for the thrill side of the plot. In amongst the tenser side, the humour lightened things up and I think the male characters of the Brotherhood have a really dry, entertaining humour.
“I’m going to talk to her.”
“And how’s that going to go? You’re just going to walk up to her and say, “Hey, I know you’ve never seen me before, but I’m your dad. Oh, and guess what? You’ve won the evolutionary lottery: You’re a vampire. Let’s go to Disneyland.”
I think without this humour, the Black Dagger Brotherhood series would be much darker and overshadowed by the darkness that surrounds the world of Caldwell with murder, violence and death. However, with the humour the tone of the novel is much lighter and it makes it easy to lap up the words that Ward feeds us.
In addition, we get some fantastic secondary characters that make up the brotherhood, with Rhage, Torhment, Vishous, Zsadist and Phury. The introduction to these characters is just the tip of the iceberg. Be prepared to meet a tonne of characters all with their own backstory which are slowly unveiled across the series.
Two negatives I have of the novel are the acronyms Ward uses, such as SOB. It took me several books to realise this meant Son of a Bitch and then there was another which I still haven’t worked out. I wish she’d just write it out because although it’s part of the character traits of the brothers and their rugged edges, I don’t quite understand the acronyms and it’s annoying to try and work them out.
Ward does have her own terms from the vampire world, but she gives us a dictionary at the start for these words which is really useful and I enjoy reading through to discover all the vampire words and culture they have.
Leelan: Aterm for a female bride of a male vampire, term of endearment roughly meaning “Beloved”.
The other point I have is at times I get bored of the lesser society interludes and I have to admit in my re-read I did skip a couple. However, they do add to the novel and are interesting. It’s just sometimes I find that I really hate the lesser society that I can’t bring myself to read about them.
Other than that, I think the novel is really good solid addition the paranormal-romance genre.
I’d suggest to everybody male or female to give this series a try and even if you don’t quite appreciate the first book of the series, move on to the second because once again the tone changes and things really start to move along with the world building and character developing of all the characters we’ve recently met in this one. So give the Black Dagger Brotherhood a try if you haven’t already!
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Let me know what you think!