July 11, 2011

Review: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

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Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood 1
Format: paperback
Release Date:
Purchase Links: Amazon

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.

Wrath, the Blind King, is the last purebred Vampire, he leads a group of warriors called the Black Dagger Brotherhood who are trained to hunt and kill The Lessers.

Wrath's parents were killed before his eyes and he made it his mission to hunt down their murderers and exact revenge from them. Until one of his brothers, Darius, met an untimely death and left in his care his half human daughter, Beth, who's on the verge of turning into a vampire. Since it's a painful and confusing process, Wrath's sense of duty and loyalty to his brother won and he found himself ushering Beth into the world of the undead.

Beth thought that she was an orphan and grew up being passed around in various foster homes. As an adult she's a writer for the local paper and she'd chase around for scoops on crime scenes and the like. But her tough childhood didn't prepare her for her fate and the criminal world will pale in comparison to the one she's about to join.

So I took some time to reflect on this book because honestly I don't know where to start. Don't get me wrong, the book isn't bad, it's very structured and JR Ward's world is unique despite the fact that she wrote about vampires and had stereotypical qualities. But you can tell that she took her time in creating this world and didn't just do it as she went along. The premise for the entire series is stated in the first volume, Dark Lover, and although it has a touch of paranormal romance, I guarantee that it will also appeal to your grey matter.

The book has some touches of Ward's inspirations. The Brotherhood had some Arthurian qualities to it and the names of the characters denote their sinister appeal (Wrath, Phury, Zsadist, Rhage, Vishous). The anti-hero, Mr. X, is a worthy opponent to a group of impregnable and noble knights. Mr. X's profile is reminiscent of Sidney Sheldon's antagonists: careful, deadly, intelligent and insanely ambitious.

Although Beth's back story should make her tougher but in this book she was portrayed otherwise, not altogether helpless but not as formidable as one would expect from someone who basically raised herself and a half vampire at that. I only wish that the succeeding heroines have a little more spunk and not the typical damsels in distress.

This book didn't provide enough comic relief but it's not boring either, it's just a tad sober from the usual banter one would see in romance novels. Probably because Ward wants to give it a hint of seriousness considering that we are introduced to the Vampire race's King and she wants him to be revered as such even though he is a reluctant ruler and doesn't practice the formal etiquette one would expect from royalty.

I like this book, my interest is piqued and although I wasn't taken by the story in a fast and furious manner, I'm impressed by JR Ward's imagination and style. I can tell that the story is just about to build up in the succeeding books because as early as the first volume, you can already surmise that she knows how the series is going to end. It's carefully written and paced perfectly.

I can tell you this much, this is a good break from those hot and steamy novels we are so fond of reading. This will not make your heart beat with lust after the hero but it will appeal to your intellect not with highfalutin words but how the plot and events are laid out. The Black Dagger Brotherhood world is so intricate and finely woven and I just wish that Ward will not disappoint mid-series.


  1. I liked the description of this book, hmm I may give it a try.

  2. Go out and read the start of an incredible series. This is a great start to a sexy, thrilling, edgy, romantic, suprising series. I don't have any more words to describe this series. Great plot and story.

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