by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #1
Published on September 6, 2005 by Signet
Genres: Adult, Paranormal Romance, Romance
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.
That’s right, folks. It’s another vampire book. What makes Dark Lover different from the rest? It’s this cool thing that people like to call a story. The first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, Dark Lover sets the stage for a paranormal world where the vampires aren’t always nice — and they’re not the only undead creatures going bump in the night. While it took a little bit to get into, I was ready to devour the next book by the end.
I’ve seen the Black Dagger books in Barnes & Noble before and I pulled one off the shelf during one shopping trip. I’ll admit, I judged it by the cover. All I was was vampires and erotica. Thanks, but no thanks. It wasn’t until after my mom started the series (and ended up buying all the books) that I gave them a try. Dark Lover had a slower start than I expected. Granted, I thought sex scenes every few pages filled the novel and was thankfully wrong. Instead, Ward set up her world, drawing the reader into the vampire civilization, one separate from the humans they lives near, and their one true enemy — the lesser (humans turned undead, become chalky white, smell like baby powder, oh, and they hate vampires). The civilian vampires are protected by the Black Dagger Brotherhood, a race of superior male warriors charged with the protection of the race and elimination of the lessers. Dark Lover introduces us to Wrath, leader of the Brotherhood and king of the vampires (not that he’d ever acknowledge his heritage). We also meet Beth who, unknowingly, is half-vampire and definitely not someone Wrath intended to protect.
I hoped from the start that Beth wouldn’t be the type who couldn’t live without Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome by her side. Thankfully, Ward spared us all and Beth had a brain. Sure, she wanted the introvert vampire warrior like he was a fresh slice of apple pie, but she didn’t just go all swooning and damsel-in-distress on us. And Wrath…can someone say control issues? If you’re gonna lead the Brotherhood and protect your own race anyway, why not stop being a prick and accept the responsibility you were born into? Without Beth, who knows where the vampires would be — and she just learned about them. But hey, I still loved the characters, including the supporting cast like Beth’s cop friend Butch and the rest of the Brothers. I was a little bummed to see that the following books take place from each of the other Brothers’ points of view as they find their mates, but I think it’ll be interesting to hear their stories.
The best feature of this book, I think, was the actual set-up. Ward’s characters definitely drive this story but the paranormal world she creates is unique with the vampires’ enemy, the lessers (of which I wasn’t really a fan of but it did set the book apart from other vampire novels out there). Dark Lover also rotates through different characters’ points of view so you get a taste for all the characters instead of just one. It filled out the story and gave it that extra depth that made it a great story as well as romance. And yes, this book is definitely a romance too, but it’s also good for fans of action.
For all of you looking for the next vampire series, check out J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood novels. Hey, there are already 11 out in print so if you like them you won’t have to wait. Dark Lover is not for younger readers as it does contain mature content. However, this book has more to it than some cheesy romance (and just for the record, the romance was fairly well developed, in my opinion, in Dark Lover). Paranormal romance fans, don’t miss out on Dark Lover!