Dark Lover is the first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward. I have read this book 4 times so far. I will most likel...more Dark Lover
Dark Lover is the first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward. I have read this book 4 times so far. I will most likely continue to read it every year in preparation of the newest release in the series.
Dark Lover is actually my least favorite in the series. It could be that it is the first book, where you learn the world and mythology of a series. In this case, the world is amazing and easy to immerse yourself into, or, perhaps, it's the couple. I have a hard time relating to Wrath, for obvious reasons. And while I love Beth, she is my least favorite female in the BDB universe.
What I love about this book, as well as the series as a whole, is Ward's voice. Each of her characters are unique. Many book in the paranormal genre the main protagonists blend together and start to sound like one another. Ward's point of view change-ups are flawless. We hear from the male/female protagonists at just the right moment to truly feel them as a character. Also, we hear from others in their world to feel connected, this is especially important in future books. The enemy (Lessers) voices are also heard, giving an exciting take on the storyline.
Ward's BDB world is inventive and original, a whole different take on the vampire culture. At times we have cliche moments, but their cheesy goodness is extremely entertaining. I adore how one single thread in book one connects to a larger picture in future books, amazing foreshadowing.
The conclusion of Dark Lover sets the series storyline premise, leaving it as not longer a book about a couple but about the salvation of a race. And this is how the series progresses, each book creating a more in depth vivid world.
This series holds me enthralled, engrossed, and as embarrassing to say, aroused. BDB is a thrill ride of a journey, it's characters intriguing, the couples scorching.
The Black Dagger Brotherhood doesn't top the Paranormal Romance Genre at #1, it creates its own genre and no one else makes that list. No other series has such a high re-readability. These books are a great investment, not only on price, in entertainment value. They will leave a lasting impression creating a craving to read them again and again.
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Lover Awakened is one of my favorites of the series.
This story picks up where Lover Eternal left off. Bella is held captive by Mr.(Da...more Lover Awakened
Lover Awakened is one of my favorites of the series.
This story picks up where Lover Eternal left off. Bella is held captive by Mr.(David) O. and the race for the Brotherhood to locate her.
Zsadist, a former bloodslave who had been kidnapped from his family as an infant, is our male protagonist. I love Zsadist. I love being inside his messed up head. His internal dialogue is so raw and at times humorous. His conversations with "it" had me laughing, intrigued, and sometimes sad. I truly felt for the male. Usually when I read a asshole main character it annoys me. In this case, I gave Zsadist some slack. He deserves his self wallowing and self loathing after all he had been through. He is the first anorexic Vampire I have every read. Ward was highly original with that direction. The reader goes through a transformation with Zsadist as he changes and turns into the man he was meant to be.
Bella, although she did a stupid by not dematerializing away from Mr. O., she is forgiven. She is a strong character, who even though was awaiting rescue, she took care of herself. I enjoyed her playing with O.'s emotions. I also loved that she was strong enough to walk away from Zsadist, dignity intact. If she had begged to stay with him or continued to take his shit I would have thought less of her. She is strong, independent, dignified, and respected. I enjoyed being inside her mind.
There are multiple points of view in this book as well. As usual this was flawless thanks to the ingenuity of J. R. Ward. We delve inside the minds of: Zsadist, Bella, Butch, Phury, John Matthew, Rehvenge, and several lessers (O. & U.)This allows us a look into the characters, connecting the reader to them, and creating a flawless storyline flow. We see how it is to be a lesser and how they operate. We feel as if we, too, are a new recruit training to become a warrior. We learn of the Sympath and what it means to be one of them in hiding. We experience the story through the eyes of a human. And lastly, we feel as if we, too, are a Brother protecting our race.
Lover Awakened was a roller coaster ride of emotions. I found myself laughing with and at the characters, crying with them and for them, and experiencing their joy.
This installment weaves a complicated web of a story, all interconnecting, expanding, and creating a world that would be intriguing to dwell within.
“I was dead until you found me, though I breathed. I was sightless, though I could see. And then you came...and I was awakened.”
“He knew he was being overbearing as hell, but he couldn't help it. He was a bonded male. With his pregnant female. There were few things on the planet more aggressive or dangerous. And those bastards were called hurricanes and tornadoes."
Phury glanced at John and thought that sometimes it took only a hairbreadth between cars to avoid a mortal accident. Sometimes your whole life could hinge on a fraction of an inch. Or the beat of a nanosecond. Or the knock on a door. Kind of made a male believe in the divine.
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Lover Eternal is one of my favorite books in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward.
Rhage, aka, Hollywood, he is a gorgeous male that has...more Lover Eternal is one of my favorite books in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward.
Rhage, aka, Hollywood, he is a gorgeous male that has to burn off his excess energy by fighting lessers and sexing up the ladies. His beast, a dragon like creature, comes out to play when his energy hits it's maximum. The beast is a curse created by the Scribe Virgin as punishment and as a way to teach him to control his baser impulses. While Rhage appears to have it all, he is lonely and sick of the life he is leading. When he walks into a room all eyes focus on him, male and female alike. His Brothers think he basks in the attention, while secretly he abhors it.
Mary Luce volunteers at a suicide hotline. She used to be a therapist for the handicapped until her illness created her to resign. She is stalked by a caller who doesn't speak to her, but calls at regular intervals. We find out that the mystery call is a boy named John Matthew. She befriends him. Her neighbor, Bella, visits and sees John Matthew's homemade bracelet marking J. M. as a vampire, and not a civilian, one of the Brotherhood. This is how Mary becomes entangled with the Brotherhood and ultimately meets Rhage. Mary is a strong woman. I love that she is portrayed this way. She is dying of leukemia and instead of lying down and dying, she fights. She doesn't back down in her beliefs and that is what I want in a heroine. This is what was lacking with the first heroine in the series, Beth. As Queen of the Vampires she wasn't strong enough for me. Mary is made of Steel and I love and respect her for that.
Rhage and Mary's first meeting was hilarious. The chemistry and uncomfortableness made it engrossing. Their first date was equally entertaining. I loved being in their presence. I loved their misunderstanding of one another and the strife this brought about. The pair are highly original and entertaining. The interaction between Mary and the beast was interesting. Watching Rhage struggle to come to terms with his other half also wanting his mate was entertaining.
The multiple point of view change ups in this book were flawless. Each change was perfectly timed and needed. We saw through the eyes of: Rhage, Mary, John Matthew, Bella, Butch, and Zsadist, as well as the lessers. The amount of characters voiced did not lessen the connection to the main characters. I felt an instant connection with the new voices and a feeling of comfort to hear the story through past characters. Ward is the Queen when it comes to multiple POV!
Another aspect that Ward shines at is the balance of emotions. This is a highly emotional book. The balance between humor and heartache is perfect. I cried with our characters, I laughed with them, and I truly felt them as if I were in their shoes.
While Zsadist is not new to us, his voice is. This gave us a look inside his soul in preparation for his novel, Lover Awakened, the next in the series. We also hear from Bella for the same reason. I love how it was written. It makes it so easy to delve into the next book without having to LEARN the characters voices, to get inside their head. It makes the next in the series a flawless continuation of this book. This book leaves threads unraveled that Lover Awakened starts right off with. Perfection.
As I've stated in the previous review, this is one of my favorite series for it's entertainment value and re-readability.
There was one minor thing for me that sets up the next book. Bella running from the Lesser through the meadow back to her home and the safety of her underground bunker and tunnels. Why the hell didn't she just Dematerialize back to her kitchen, then run downstairs? Why run across the field away from a human slow being when you can teleport? She is our next heroine, why is Ward making her an imbecile? Also, the place is wired like Fort Nox by her brother, Rhevenge. Why didn't something notify him when the doors and windows were busted? He is over protecting and as she said on multiple occasions that he calls at dawn. So why didn't he the morning of her abduction? I don't like plot screw ups and this is huge for me. I understand that this is to set plans in motion for the next book. But, come on, you can do better then that, Ward. Some minor tweaks and this wouldn't have been an issue.
I would like to mention that I adore how J. R. Ward represents women and how the Brothers see them. Respect, strength, independence. You don't see this often and when you do you truly appreciate it!
Titles and Covers of the series I also want to remark on the titles and covers of the series. I failed to do so for the first in the series, so I will do so now. When I first came upon this series as a Barnes and Noble recommendation I passed on it. The covers were very ROMANCY and not very original. I was into paranormal and fantasy genres and looking for something a little more hard hitting then books that had the word LOVER in the title. Looks can be deceiving. This is a hard hitting series. I do not think that the cover or the titles do it justice. I think that it turns many readers away. This was for the purpose of drawing in the mainstream romance crowd, but it accomplished pushing away the paranormal readers. I am slightly queasy about people thinking I'm reading a romance novel. I'm not as bad as I used to be, but three years ago I would rather pass romance by then read it. Many that I've spoken with had the same comments on this issue. It was word of mouth from other readers that had us devouring the series. This amazing hard hitting series needs a bad ass name and cover. It's series name is the Black Dagger Brotherhood for goodness sakes. Give it some edge! & you will get some more adoring fans of these fine Brothers!
“What is your name?" she murmured. He cocked an eyebrow at her and then went back to staring at his brother. "I'm the evil one, in case you haven't figured it out." "I wanted your name, not your calling." "Being a bastard's more of a compulsion, really. And it's Zsadist. I am Zsadist.”
“He wanted to give her another word to say, something like luscious or whisper or strawberry. Hell, antidisestablishmentarianism would do it.”
“It was the wife, John thought. And she was giving this tough guy a tongue-lashing. And the man was taking it. "Okay. I love you. Bye." Tohrment flipped the phone closed and put it in his pocket. When he focused on John again, he clearly respected his wife enough not to roll his eyes and make some macho, shithead comment about pesky women.”
“My name...my name is Mary. I'm here with a friend.' Rhage stopped breathing. His heart skipped a beat and then slowed. "Say that again,' he whispered. 'Ah, my name is Mary Luce. I'm a friend of Bella's...We came here with a boy, with John Mathew. We were invited.' Rhage shivered, a balmy rush blooming out all over his skin. The musical lilt of her voice, the rhythm of her speech, the sound of her words, it all spread through him, calming him, comforting him. Chaining him sweetly. He closed his eyes. 'Say something else.' 'What?' she asked, baffled.' 'Talk. Talk to me. I want to hear your voice.' She was silent, and he was about to demand that she speak when she said, 'You don't look well. Do you need a doctor?' He found himself swaying. The words didn't matter. It was her sound: low, soft, a quiet brushing in his ears. He felt as if here being stroked on the inside of his skin. 'More,'he said, twisting his palm around to the front of her neck so he could feel the vibrations in her throat better. 'Could you...could you please let go of me?' 'No.' He brought his other arm up. She was wearing some kind of fleece, and he moved the collar aside, putting his hand on her shoulder so she couldn't get away from him. 'Talk.' She started to struggle. 'You're crowding me.' 'I know. Talk.' 'Oh for God's sake, what do you want me to say?' Even exasperated, her voice was beautiful. 'Anything.' 'Fine. Get your hand off my throat and let me go or I'm going to knee you where it counts.' He laughed. Then sank his lower body into her, trapping her with his thighs and hips. She stiffened against him, but he got an ample feel of her. She was built lean, though there was no doubt she was female. Her breasts hit his chest, her hips cushioned his, her stomach was soft. 'Keep talking,' he said in her ear. God, she smelled good. Clean. Fresh. Like lemon. When she pushed against him, he leaned his full weight into her. Her breath came out in a rush. 'Please,' he murmured. Her chest moved against his as if she were inhaling. 'I...er, I have nothing to say. Except get off of me.' He smiled, careful to keep his mouth closed. There was no sense showing off his fangs, especially if she didn't know what he was. 'So say that.' 'What?' 'Nothing. Say nothing. Over and over and over again. Do it.' She bristled, the scent of fear replaced by a sharp spice, like fresh, pungent mint from a garden. She was annoyed now. 'Say it.' "Fine. Nothing. Nothing.' Abruptly she laughed, and the sound shot right through to his spine, burning him. 'Nothing, nothing. No-thing. No-thing. Noooooothing. There, is that good enough for you? Will you let me go now?”
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Following the same format as the previous installments, but no less fantastic.
This book is the story of Butch and Marissa.
My Man, Butch! During my first read through of Dark Lover I didn't really like Butch. He felt as an obstacle that Wrath and Beth had to overcome. I was able to fully appreciate how much I love Butch on subsequent rereads. He is tied for my favorite Brother. Butch never felt as if he fit in anywhere, even his own family. Finally, he is taken into the arms of the Brotherhood, but felt as if he was useless. We all have felt this way, as if we walk this Earth alone and that we add nothing to the greater good. Whether it is food, clothing, or even the roof over his head, it all belongs to the Brotherhood. Butch feels as a well loved pet, a bird in a gilded cage. The Omega, unknowingly, gives Butch a reason to live, while V. opens his arms and makes Butch his true brother. Lover Revealed may be the love story between Butch and Marissa, it also shows the bond between Butch and V. This bond is one of my favorite friendships, bromances. I will not go into detail with this to avoid spoilage. But, the bond *love story* rivals any other in the series.
Marissa! I could relate to Marissa. I know that sounds odd under the circumstances. How could any of us relate to her, right? Well, I was married for a long time to someone I had been with since childhood only to realize it was all wrong. *Marissa to Wrath* I have a very loving, somewhat claustrophobic, family.*Havers* I have felt strength grow as I deal with my past. I have felt lost in what my place is in this world. I am hopeful to find love in the future. *Maybe there is a Butch for me* See, I can relate. Most people see Marissa as weak, subservient female. I love how she goes from meek to strong as she deals with what is thrown at her, while keeping to her traditions and values. Marissa is a good role model and a very interesting character. She made some mistakes along the way, but righted them. We forgive our male protagonists so easily, but hold our females to a higher standard.
POV Cast of Characters Butch, Marissa, Vishous, John, Rehvenge, The Lessers. Flawless point of view change ups as usual. Hearing from the cast of characters creates an involved story that thoroughly engrosses the reader.
Parts that stuck out! Anything JOHN MATTHEW *btw, my favorite brother*! The new recruits storyline. Butch and Vishous moment in the tomb. Rehvenge. All the interactions between all the Brothers.
“That's you," Wrath said. You shall be called the Black Dagger warrior Dhestroyer, descended of Wrath son of Wrath." "But you'll always be Butch to us," Rhage cut in. "As well as hard-ass. Smart-ass. Royal pain in the ass. You know, whatever the situation calls for. I think as long as there's an ASS in there, it'll be accurate." "How about bASStard?" Z suggested. "Nice. I feel that.”
“I liked you, cop. From the moment I met you. No… not the first moment. I wanted to kill you when I first met you. But then I liked you. A lot.”
“V?" Butch said. "Don't leave, okay?" "Never." V brushed Butch's hair back with a gesture so tender it was out of place coming from a male.”
Favorite scene of the entire series Then it was V's turn. Vishous came up onto the dais, his eyes down. He accepted the silver glove from Z and slipped it over the black leather he already wore on his hand. Then he scored himself with a quick flash of the black blade and stared at the skull as his blood dripped down into the basin, joining the others'. "My flesh," he whispered. He seemed to hesitate before turning to Butch. Then he pivoted and their eyes met. As candlelight flickered over V's hard face and got caught in his diamond irises, Butch felt his breath get tight: At that moment, his roommate looked as powerful as a god… and maybe even as beautiful. Vishous stepped in close and slid his hand from Butch's shoulder to the back of his neck. "Your flesh," V breathed. Then he paused, as if asking for something. Without thinking, Butch tilted his chin up, aware that he was offering himself, aware that he… oh, fuck. He stopped his thoughts, completely weirded out by the vibe that had sprung up from God only knew where. In slow motion Vishous's dark head dropped down and there was a silken brush as his goatee moved against Butch's throat. With delicious precision, V's fangs pressed against the vein that ran up from Butch's heart, then slowly, inexorably, punched through skin. Their chests merged. Butch closed his eyes and absorbed the feel of it all, the warmth of their bodies so close, the way V's hair felt soft on his jaw, the slide of a powerful male arm as it slipped around his waist. On their own accord, Butch's hands left the pegs and came to rest on V's hips, squeezing that hard flesh, bringing them together from head to foot. A tremor went through one of them. Or maybe… shit, it was more like they both shuddered. And then it was done. Over with. Never to happen again. Neither of them looked at the other as V broke away… and the parting was complete and irrevocable. A path that would not be walked. Ever. V's hand snapped back and then connected with Butch's chest, the impact harder than all the others, even Rhage's. As Butch choked from the force of the punch, Vishous turned away and rejoined the Brotherhood's lineup.
"Thanks for putting me up for it… trahyner ." As V's eyes flared, Butch said, "Yeah, I looked up what the word meant. 'Beloved friend' fits you perfect as far as I'm concerned." V flushed. Cleared his throat. "Good deal, cop. Good… deal."
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