Series Review: Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward

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Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood
Author: J.R. Ward
# of Books: 13 (View a full list here)
Complete?: No, book 13, The Shadows, will be published in 2015
Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Adult
Heat Rating: Hot

Thoughts:

NOTE: As of January 8, 2015 I have only read the first four books in the series (up to and including Lover Revealed). The following review is based on the trends and commonalities I had seen after reading the first two novels. After I have made a significant dent in the series or find that this review is no longer accurate, I will update this review.

This was one of those series that appeared everywhere I looked for books. Every time I logged onto Kobo to find see what was new, the Lover at Last cover stared back at me. For about two weeks, I looked away until my curiosity got the better of me and I had to search the book on Goodreads. I then learned that Lover at Last was book 11 of a romance series and one that was consistently rated as 4 out of 5 by 80,000 readers. Typically, that means it’s a good read because so many people can’t be wrong, right? I was also intrigued that a few of the authors I follow on Goodreads had also rated the series with high reviews. So, I decided to put the book on hold from my local library and soon Dark Lover was in my grasp.

I will admit that the glossary of terms that graced the first couple of pages of my Kobo freaked me out. I like when authors have a glossary of terms about the world they have created–it helps me to remember what things are and provides a reference point that is easy to find later on in the book. But I was expecting this to be a typical romantic vampire read–ie nothing complex and a light read (kind of like Lynsay Sands Argeneau vampire series)–yet that is not what we get here.

This is definitely a vampire book for adults and not just because of the sex scenes. The world is dark, the characters are older and mature and the vampires are how people expect vampires to be (no glitter here folks!), blood drinking (though not human blood but other vampire blood), incredibly strong and good-looking creatures who can’t walk in the sun. Also, the vampires of the brotherhood are all alpha males–and by alpha I mean ALPHA. They are typical I-protect-what-is-mine men that apparently women readers love. I personally, find it a little creepy and annoying to some degree but I guess it works for a majority of the target audience. It isn’t enough to turn me off of the books completely though, it just makes me raise an eyebrow or roll my eyes at times.

What does turn me off is how the heroines act sometimes because of the males’ personalities. I am a feminist–I am all for gender equality and the like–I’m just not a zealous feminist so don’t think I have some supreme biased about this or am approaching it from only a single viewpoint. I just find that the women start off strong and then become a little idiotic in their actions. Like they know they should be afraid of this random stranger who suddenly wants to jump their pants and is everywhere they go and they are–at first. Then they end up giving into the sexy stranger less than 48 hours later. From what I understand of the world (based on the two books I have read so far) is that the males exude a chemical that gets both parties “excited” so the scientist in me goes, “ok, it’s basically a hormone reaction” but I still find it a little worrisome that these strong females swoon within two days. But, I digress, this is fiction and NOT real so I shouldn’t get too hung up on it 😉

Though I will say, I like how the relationships progress once they get passed that initial lust. I like stories where love heals and that seems to be the trend in these books. The redeeming thing is that these relationships progress enough to be something more than just physically chemistry which I appreciate.

As for the plot, I both love and hate the setup. The POVs alter between the heroine, the hero, other characters and the Lessers (who are the “bad guys”). I like the alternating POVs though it can get annoying when a particular storyline is cut up into pieces by a random Lesser POV–but it forces me to read ahead and before I know it, it is an hour later and I am no closer to putting it down ;). The “hate” part of this setup is the Lesser POVs. While I do enjoy seeing how the “evil side” works, I find that the pieces are a little dry and too long to hold my interest at times; especially when something exciting is happening with the main characters. I mostly skim those sections just to get on with the story though in some books they are more interesting than others. Overall, with these alternating POV we get a lot of insight into the multiple plot lines that are occurring simultaneously so there is rarely a dull moment in these books which is great.

Another bonus of these alternating POV is when they focus on the “secondary” characters in the novels. Particularly with book 2, Lover Eternal we get a bit of interaction between the hero and heroine (as well as a few other matches that will happen in the later books) who are set to take centre stage in book 3, Lover Awakened. I am so excited to read this next book that I think it is safe to say I am addicted to this series 😛

I feel it is important to note that this series is one that you could probably get away reading the books in any order, but I recommend that you try to read them in order to get the full experience. I think it just adds to the characters’ stories and understanding and it makes you excited to read what is going to happen your favourite characters in the later books.

Conclusion:

Based on the first two books, this series is starting to get really addicting and showing a lot of promise. Those who enjoy romance; dark, sexy and often tormented heroes; and want a “real” vampire world will enjoy this series immensely.

Rating: 3.5/5

Similar Reads: A Quick Bite by Lynsay Sands (Argeneau Series, #1)

Synopsis for Dark Lover (from Goodreads):
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

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