Wednesday, April 14, 2010

REVIEW: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

ISBN 9780451216953
Series: Black Daggar Brotherhood, Book 1
(c) September 2005, Signet, Penguin Putnam
J.R. Ward's website

Rating: 4 stars

Buy Link (paper): Book Depository

"A decent start to what promises to be a great series!"

For the uninitiated, the Black Daggar Brotherhood consists of the best, the strongest and fiercest warriors (not necessarily siblings, though they do call each other brother), vampires bred for the specific purpose of protecting the civilian vampires from the lessers, who are de-souled humans that seek to exterminate the vampires under the direction of their leader, the Omega.

Immersed in his own personal hell, Wrath couldn't agree to his warrior brother's request to help his half-human daughter Beth transition into her vampiric nature. Darius made the request because Wrath is the only purebred vampire left, and Wrath's blood is strong enough to make sure Beth didn't die in the transition, as his other children had. However, when Darius was murdered, Wrath had no choice but to consent to his fallen brother's request and was shocked to find that Beth Randall affected him in a way no woman has.

As for Beth, growing up an orphan, she yearned to know her family and origins, but she didn't know if she should believe Wrath when he came to her with fantastic tales of vampires and stories of the man he said was her father. But when dark urgings wracked her body, she knew she had no choice but to put her life in his hands.

I like that Wrath, for all his being big, bad and powerful, has a vulnerability that tugs at your heart. It could be his physical defect or the way he refused to let it be a weakness or it could be his tormented childhood. Whatever it is, I ache for the moment when he would find happiness with Beth. I like that moment of his acceptance of his destiny, the way he stepped up to the responsibility that he was born for, even though he didn't want to. Such an action showed growth and maturity, that of an adult who had stopped running from the inevitable.

With Beth, one can sense her utter loneliness and her need to break free from her dead-end situation, but before she could make a move, the decision was made for her when Wrath came to find her and when her own hidden nature threatened to break free. She's strong and the perfect match for Wrath, and though I thought she might have believed Wrath and his tales a little bit soon, what she had seen and heard and experienced may have catapulted her that early into belief.

I wasn't really wowed by this book, but I thought it was a decent start to what promised to be a fascinating series. Certainly, I've never seen vamps depicted this way. For one, vampires are born, not made, and the vamp nature doesn't manifest until one transitions, which occurs around the age of 25 or so. Also, before the transition, the person's physical structure may be different. For example, Wrath was a weakling, but afterwards, he somehow acquired bulk and great strength.

I was also a bit put off by some of the dialogue, especially with the warriors calling each other "brother" way too often and in a way that didn't feel...right, like something was off. As much as this story is about Wrath and Beth, so too this provides the groundwork for other books in the series with the introduction of the other  characters. Because there was a lot of them, I had to work hard at remembering who was who and looked like what. However, I'm excited to read the rest of the books, both because of the facinating characters that I've seen here and because I've heard lots of good things about them.

Quiz on Dark Lover

Buy Link (paper): Book Depository


Erotic Horizon said...

especially with the warriors calling each other "brother" way too often and in a way that didn't feel.

Spoilsport - I loved this one.. it was such a rocking tale and the language was as street as probably Ward could get..

I am pleased you are going on with this series - Looking forward to what you think of Rhage, Zadist and V...

Welcome to the Dark side hon..


Silver @ TRR said...

Spoilsport - I loved this one.. it was such a rocking tale and the language was as street as probably Ward could get..

Haha...sorry. I have to agree with you on Ward's dialogue ("brother" aside) though, and the male conversation was about as authentic as a female writer could get them.

Don't worry, I love Rhage when I read his book, but he was easily replaced when I came to Z's book. I read his book twice in a row and had tears both times. It's the most emotion-charged book I've read. And in this book, in the one place where Wrath called Tohr, "My brother", well, I thought that's the most appropriate use of it. I just love the mixture of sadness and helplessness in that tone.

You'd have to read the review (out soon, I promise!). Would love to know what you think.

And thanks. If this is what the Dark side looks like, I wouldn't mind me having one of those brothers! Would probably have to fight Bella for Z though. LOL

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