Thursday, April 15, 2010

Review of J.R. Ward's Dark Lover

Dark Lover
by J.R. Ward
Signet Eclipse, 2005
review copy from: Tampa Library system

There are so many vampire novels out there these days it’s probably hard to choose among the throng. One that I recently moved to the top of my TBR list, courtesy of a nudge from Jessica, is J.R. Ward’s the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I must say from everything I’ve heard about it, I picked it up at the library more out of curiosity than anything else. At any rate, the series consists of seven novels, currently, with the eighth about to be released. So I thought now would be the perfect time to give the books a try.

Dark Lover is the first in the series and it introduces the Black Dagger Brotherhood: an ancient band of vampires who make their lives alongside the human population, without (and this is different than most vampire series out there) needing to feed on the humans. In fact, for the most part, the vampires in J.R. Ward’s series tend to ignore humans altogether, unless they get caught in the crossfire.

But there’s a particular human the vampire king, Wrath, is sworn to protect, Beth Randall, a reporter at a small newspaper, who just so happens to be the daughter of one of Wrath’s “Brothers”. And poor Beth, while she longs for adventure, and is the darling of the local police force—and the desperately in love, somewhat forlorn, and suicidal inspector Butch (Brian) O’Neal—she didn’t want to be attacked by a rapist, or have the very scary Wrath show up on her patio with the news of her father’s death. That the meeting leads to instant attraction and *cough* an out of character (for Beth, anyway) one night stand, is a complete surprise.

But aside from her rapist and the troublesome Butch, there’s a society of vampire killers that would just love to rid the world of all vampires, Wrath, the Brotherhood, and Beth, included. That Beth’s rapist gets Wrath’s attention for his deed, and his usefulness as a future member of their clandestine group, is something they find mighty interesting. And in the middle of all this Beth has to deal with her instant love/lust for Wrath, his very colorful family, his ex-wife (and her testy brother) and Butch’s suspicion over all this! All while hoping her newfound family remains this side of the veil of life and death.

Ward certainly packs a lot into the 393 pages of Dark Lover. Beth was certainly full of spunk, and brave, and Wrath wasn’t always such a hardened, battle-scarred warrior. The thread of their love story was sweet. I would have liked to have seen a little more of the Brotherhood’s history but, that’s what a series is for, right? It did have some things I could’ve lived without (why would centuries-old vampires not have a better vocabulary, for instance? Butch’s suicidal streak wasn’t something that I enjoyed reading—but then that idea never is. And just for the record, though she gives her reasons for the vampires’ unique names, in the book, they bugged me. Sorry, I call it like I see it.) But, nonetheless Dark Lover was an interesting read, and one that I think, if you’re a fan of the vampire romance genre, you’ll find an interesting twist, if you get a chance to peek into its pages.

My ranking? hm...

This is also posted at my Examiner pages, so if you feel like giving it a hit, please do. :) Thanks.

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