(Black Dagger Brotherhood #1)
Author: J. R. Ward
J. R.'s Website
J. R.'s Website
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Penguin Group
Publication Date: September 6, 2005
**Synopsis and Cover art supplied by Goodreads**
OKay, so for the longest time I have heard about the series the Black Dagger Brotherhood and how I NEEDED to read it. All my female friends gushed about it so I figured what the hell. It had been in my TBR pile for awhile, so Wednesday night I decided to finally crack it open and see what the fuss was about.
This is my review and it does include spoilers. If you haven't read the books then don't read any farther. I would hate to potentially ruin it for future fans. :)
Rating is a 3.75
Good read, but could have been Great.
Upon finishing the book Dark Lover, I decided that no matter what, I was going to be a fan of this series. It's not as great as all the gush I have heard about it, but it was enough to make me fall in love with the protags and want to know what happens to them, and for that, I'll give it a 3.75 rating. A lot of the reviews I have read are borderline hateful and I don't necessarily agree with all of them. They made some very great points and for the most part I feel the same way. To be fair to J.R. Ward though, she did write something rather original. Her book hit the same time Twilight did and then the Vampire craze ensued. So the BDB kinda got lost in all of that mess. I think everyone since then has tried to crank out a vampire novel in the hopes that they will be just as profitable. The problem is that you have to come up with something that no one has really seen or read before, and that can be challenging. I haven't read every vampire book in existence and at this point I just don't even want to. It's the same tired dribble and it screams Twilight. I think that J.R. Ward got a shitty hand and hasn't been given the proper acknowledgement for giving us something different. With that being said, I am going to give you the run down on what I liked and didn't. lol
The first thing that I should address is the characters. All of them - even the creepy milkman serial killer villain - had a real feel to them. People rant and rave about the dialogue or the behaviors of the people in this book and how they pretty much radiate "fake". Apparently real people - vampires or not - don't talk and behave that way. o_O Does anyone else feel like that statement is inaccurate? lol I know firsthand how all the guys talk when they get together. It's vulgar and inappropriate and rather endearing on some level. The fact that a group of guys brought together only by a common bond (i.e. the military, sports teams, etc..), can come together and form a bond very similar to that of a family and let their guard down, is heartwarming. I don't care that it's a fictional world. You need relate-ability on some scale. If you can't relate to the story in some way, then what is your interest in the book?
In this books case, all the vampires were set in present day. You half expect them to drop the F bomb and behave in a "worldly" manner. If they didn't, you can't tell me that you wouldn't be bored or even more critical about the book. They may be a figment of someones imagination, but in that world, that is how it works. Try to keep that in mind. :)
The next thing I should address is the love stuff. The love in this book was great! I wanted to roll myself around in it and soak it into my skin. lol Fritz - the butler - was like Beth's replacement father, and just this warm and loveable guy. I kinda wanted to hug him through the whole book. She needed a familial attachment and he was sort of like the stepping stone for that.
The relationship between Wrath and Beth was awkward at first but it bloomed into this wonderful balance of strength, necessity and acceptance. He needed a woman that wasn't afraid to exercise her freedom of speech and put him in his place, but still accepted him for all his faults. Beth was the dose of reality he could have used a couple hundred years ago. Without her, Wrath would never have agreed to ascend the throne and lead his people into prosperity and longevity. She was his stable ground, someone for him to stand on and lift him up, and in return he built her the home and family she always longed for. That is beautiful!
Tohr and Wellsie.... adorable in EVERY sense of the word! I love their love and dedication. They're like the elderly couple that has been married for 52 years and still goin strong. We should all be so lucky to encounter a love like that. ;)
Third thing I should address is how much respect I have for J. R. Ward for making Marissa a rational, level headed individual. She didn't make her out to be a vengeful scorned ex lover type. I think I would have been bitter about her destroying Wrath and Beth's relationship. Marissa just isn't that kind of person. She is a giver, a pleaser even, and although she was deeply wounded - and by deeply wounded I mean that she was used for centuries as a feeding trough and cast away like garbage - she still kept her composure and behaved like a lady. Kudos to her for doing that. Even after everything she had seen and heard, she still held it together. Very admirable in my opinion!
Lastly - I know this is getting long. lol - I love how she tied ALL of the characters together. I was confused in the beginning by Billy Riddle and his place in the story, but it all came together perfectly and I almost facepalmed for not figuring it out sooner. :)P I was left wanting for nothing - other than more story - by the end of the book. It was all wrapped up nicely in a neat little box and had a pretty red bow on it. Bravo for no loose ends!
The first thing I wanted to do after I started reading Dark Lover, was message my friend (who has read all the books) and ask her what in the EFF J.R. Ward was thinking when she killed off Darius (he was turning into a favorite of mine). Darius is Beth's dad and his death was very crucial to the continuity of the story which I get. If he hadn't died then we wouldn't have a love story and the Vampires would still be without a King. That makes sense to me now, but it still pisses me off. lol Pick someone else to kill off and leave me with Darius! So after my initial 4th Floor (psych ward reference) freak out, I read on a few more pages and figured it out.
You wanna know why she did it? I'm sure you do, so ima be nice and tell you. ;)P
Not only did she do it for plot purposes, she also did it because his name was Darius. Now I know what you are thinking.... "Why would she do that? That's a stupid reason!" and right you may be, but think about it - You have Wrath (That one is fitting. He is like a thousand pounds of eff shit up and he is the king. The name just fits though), Tohrment (Ummm... *facepalm*), Rhage (I am starting to see a pattern develop here), Phury (Yep, most definitely a pattern), Vishous (Please make it stop...), and Zsadist (I have to admit, that one was clever in a whole new realm of lazy. lol). So not only was his name spelled normally, he wasn't a physical manifestation of an extreme emotion either. You can't tell me that you didn't do a double take of all their names and go "WTF is that crap?!?" lol I'm sure that most of you sat in your chair reading over those names sounding them out in different ways until you found one that sounded the most normal. I still look at them and go "I wonder if she meant it to say 'Viz-house' instead of vicious?" I understand the pressure of coming up with original names but come on! My theory makes sense... admit it!
I guess I can't complain all that much about the names because whats worse than then names, is the rap and hip hop that was randomly placed throughout the book. My friend warned me it was there, but I didn't really grasp it until I read through to the end. Eek! Talk about something that didn't really work at all for me. It just felt weird and in the wrong book. Vampires who listen to D12 and Biggie? What part of that screams bloodsucker to you? Even with them being new age and all hip, I don't think anyone could justify that. They aren't my creation though, so I can't judge them too harshly. I just wanna know what her reasoning was behind it, so maybe I could understand a little better. *shrug*
Moving on to the BDB specific terminology. I felt like I couldn't keep up with all of it. There was just so much that was introduced at one time, that it became muddled and cloudy. The two that stuck out the most for me were "Leelan and Hellren". I love the word Leelan and what it stands for, so my complaint has nothing to do with that one. Hellren just sounds bad ass and much better than husband, so we will let that one slide as well. The other ones however were just confusing and I started making up names for stuff so that it was easier to remember. I would have suggested only throwing out one or two of the terms every couple of chapters so as to get better adjusted to them and what they meant. Past that, she lost me.
The Scribe Virgin. She loosely resembled Nyx/the Virgin Mary/Mother Earth, you get the idea. She is the mother of all vampires and kinda comes off like a wench. I get that she is mad because her children have no leader and no one worships at her altar anymore but DANG! I don't know... I think I would have a problem with worshipping someone with an attitude problem and a need to force everyone into returning her "kindness" with a favor. It doesn't make me want to warm up to her at all. In fact, I really don't like her very much and would have loved to see her be a different type of character.
My last complaint is the POV changes. I love that one story doesn't go on for all that long but the bouncing around kinda made me a little motion sick. I know why she did it, but sometimes I just wanna see that long drawn out sex scene come to a close before I read about mutilation and torture. Talk about putting a bad taste in your mouth. *ugh* Things would have gone better for me if she would have kept things together for longer and then cut to another persons point of view.
Like I said, it was all in all a good book and I will be a fan no matter what, but I hope that the books get better as I go along. :)
What did you think of the book? Do you agree or disagree with my critiques?
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