Throwback Thursday: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

Dark Lover by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood (# 1)
Release Date: September 6, 2005
Publisher: Signet
Pages: 416
Source: From book collection of reviewer

 

 

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.

 

Review: It’s been a few years since I picked up one of these books and since I’d like to catch up on the last few of the series, I decided to go back and re-read from the beginning. I don’t usually read a book more than once but these books are worth the time away from other books. I had seriously forgotten how much I enjoy the Brothers of the Black Dagger. Their language gives me the giggles (and I do not giggle, trust me) and their passion makes me swoon (likewise swooning).

Let’s start with the language. Not the old language of the vampires, but the slang of the Brotherhood. Phrases such as ‘Feel me?’ (yep, giggling) and ‘True’. Even when I first read Dark Lover all those years ago, I laughed at the language. Does anyone talk like that? Of course, I refer to myself as a ‘white-bread suburban girl’, raised in the suburbs of Northern California and living a rural life ever since. Trash/slang/ghetto talk was never part of my lifestyle and that’s why I’m allowed the occasional giggle. The books are not filled with slang though, which is why I think it’s so effective. A phrase pops in, breaks up the mood and lightens it up a bit before the darkness comes back. If the book were overrun with such expressions it would not have the same effect and would probably not be as endearing as the occasional ‘I’m outtie’.

The first book in the series, Dark Lover, is the Blind King’s story. Wrath is 6’6” of muscle and tattooed strength. He is also, as the nickname implies, nearly sightless. Wrath is the one constant of level-headedness throughout the series, keeping not only the Brothers in line but leading vampire society as well. Most fear him due to his stature and position but as readers, we know he’s a pussycat who sometimes has to be a lion.

One of the things I love about this series is that relationships can be dragged out for several installments (Butch and Marissa, Blay and Qhuinn). We have time to become involved with the people, we get invested in the relationships and we care whether or not they make it as a couple. Then, even if a relationship seems solid, anything can happen and throw us for a loop.

Re-reading a series also gives me the chance to pick up on things I had forgotten about. In the case of Dark Lover, it was that Darius had requested to come back to Earth. I won’t go into spoiler alerts but I think this explains something in later books.

Ward’s writing flows elegantly not only from one page to the next but also from one book to the next. She has the ability to create a web of characters and situations, keeping me intrigued and reading late into the night. I also love that I don’t have to give up my favorite characters at the end of a book – they always show up to some extent in all of the books. Now that I’ve gone back to read Dark Lover, I can’t wait to finish Lover Eternal and each of the books following. I’m hooked all over again!

Favorite Quote: “… You don’t have to pretend you’re something you’re not…”