Dark Lover by J. R. Ward is the first novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, a paranormal romance about the warrior vampires of the race. This reader would just like to add here that while she doesn’t normally read any type of romance novels, this series has definitely hooked her and refuses to throw her back into the wilds of book-readerdom and the safety of urban fantasy and horror. That is to say, the series is phenomenal and each book will be reviewed individually.
Back cover copy of Dark Lover:
The only purebred vampire left on the planet, 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- orphaning a half-breed daughter unaware of her heritage or her fate – Wrath must usher the beautiful female into the world of the undead…
Racked by a restlessness in her body that wasn’t there before, Beth Randall is helpless against the dangerously sexy man who comes to her at night with shadows in his eyes. His tales of brotherhood and blood frighten her. But his touch ignites a dawning hunger that threatens to consume them both…
Beth is about to turn 25, and that is the age at which J. R. Ward’s vampires go through a transition. Some survive, some don’t. Since Beth is a half-breed, there’s a chance she won’t turn into a vampire, but Wrath needs to be there just in case she does because his blood – as he is the last purebred vampire on earth – is the only strong enough to save her. At the same time, Wrath struggles with ascending to his rightful place as king because he considers himself a warrior and not cut out for aristocracy. All of this in the midst of a centuries-long war. Oh, and did we mention that Wrath is practically blind? Yes, he is, but it does not take away his ability to fight.
Each of the brothers makes an appearance in this first book, as does cop Butch O’Neal, a favorite character. The characters themselves are each uniquely different from one another if you look past their similar dress code of leathers and shitkickers, and each has his/her own strengths and weaknesses. While Dark Lover is Wrath’s book, it’s also the introduction to the series, now with book eight about to be released. Wrath is a great character, scary and beautiful, tough and soft when he needs to be. Some may think the widow’s peak a bit cliché, a throwback to the Bela Lugosi Dracula, and of course the long black hair has become a staple for the romance hero (certainly this reader’s weakness), but the world itself is something new and exciting. Rarely do the vampires interact with the human population, but that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy the fruits of humanity. From designer clothes to top-end vehicles and hip-hop music, these brothers enjoy life on many levels. They also have their own religion in which they pray to the Scribe Virgin.
Both women and men have enjoyed this book and the series. It has the romance, but it’s not over the top and too mushy for guys. It has great fight scenes against a new type of slayer. The Omega is the adversary and creator of these slayers, also known as lessers, who bleed black blood and live about as long as the vampires do. It also has some well-done erotic scenes that flow perfectly with the romance and the rest of the story.
Dark Lover is a fast-paced page-turner that keeps you right in the moment, and you will fight with yourself to put it down.
Be certain to check out the author’s website for more information on this series and how to purchase: www.jrward.com. The brothers tend to appear on the forum boards from time to time, some of which you can find in the Insider’s Guide.