Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetites. He’s the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover—for inside him burns a ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin. Possessed by this dark side, Rhage fears the times when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him.
Mary Luce, a survivor of many hardships, is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world and reliant on Rhage’s protection. With a life-threatening curse of her own, Mary is not looking for love. Her faith in miracles was lost years ago. But when Rhage’s intense animal attraction turns into something more emotional, he knows that he must make Mary his alone. And while their enemies close in, Mary fights desperately to gain life eternal with the one she loves…
Review: For this review I’m going to focus on the vampire aspect of these books. After a certain YA vampire series hit the big screen I got pretty burnt out on vampires. They all seemed effeminate, even when they were growling and trying to be menacing. Plus the fact that all vampires seem to be and do the same things – can’t go out in the sun, feast on human blood, can’t eat human food (though most seem to be able to partake of a good red wine), and create new vampires with a bite on the neck.
The Black Dagger Brotherhood is a bit different. Okay, they can’t go out in the sun but they love human food, don’t feed off humans and if you are not born a vampire you just aren’t a vampire. There is no blood-sharing ceremony that will make you one. The Brothers also average six-foot-eight, are exceedingly well-built, wear leather like it’s a second skin and are covered in tattoos and scars. The tattoos, in fact, are an important part of the Brotherhood and of the mating of the males to their females.
Rhage’s tattoo, for instance, is a dragon. The dragon was a curse placed on him for 200 years and in moments of stress, the dragon can take over his body. It’s a great mechanism for destroying the lessers (a society who wishes to destroy all vampires) as Rhage actually turns into a fierce, eight-foot tall dragon with purple and green iridescent scales, but the dragon can also take over at times of high arousal. Yep. See the problem?
Mary is the human Rhage happens to fall in love with. She knows nothing about vampire society but quickly adapts due to a terminal illness and her growing appreciation of and love for Rhage. As a human, Mary seems a little too easily swayed into the vampire life. However, if I put myself in her place and were actually faced with someone teleporting around the room, turning off lights and closing doors at will and seeing the fighting up close and personal, I might believe a little quicker myself.
I also want to mention John Matthew as he makes his first appearance here as a weak, almost emaciated young man. Thankfully, Mary introduces him to Bella (a friend and vampire) who recognizes him for what he is – an un-turned vampire. I love John for so many reasons. Having been through a difficult childhood (abandoned on orphanage steps) and a grueling teenage and young adulthood (living in a filthy apartment in the ghetto-iest part of town), he clings to Mary as the beauty in his otherwise squalid life. More will come on John in the future…
On Butch’s first sight of Rhage in dragon form:
“Can it get into the car?” Butch asked.
“If it really wants to. Fortunately, it can’t be very hungry.”
“Yeah, well… what if it’s got room for Jell-o,” Butch muttered.
Rhage, on his first date with Mary:
He wanted her nails in his back and her tongue in his mouth and her hips rocking under his until he came so hard he saw stars. Then he wanted to sleep with her in his arms afterward. And wake up and eat and make love again. And talk in the dark about things both stupid and serious.