Published by Penguin on September 6th 2005
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, General
Buy on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
THE FIRST NOVEL OF THE BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD
“Dark fantasy lovers, you just got served” (New York Times Bestselling Author Lynn Viehl). Return to where it all began—in the first novel in the phenomenal Black Dagger Brotherhood series by #1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward....
The only purebred vampire left on the planet and the leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who killed his parents centuries ago. But when his most trusted fighter is killed—orphaning a half-breed daughter unaware of her heritage or her fate—Wrath must put down his dagger and usher the beautiful female into another world.
Racked by a restlessness in her body that wasn’t there before, Beth Randall is helpless against the dangerously sexy man who comes to her at night with shadows in his eyes. His tales of the Brotherhood and blood frighten her. Yet his touch ignites a dawning new hunger—one that threatens to consume them both....
This is the third time I’ve read J. R. Ward’s Dark Lover, the first book in her popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series. For some reason I thought I’d already reviewed it, but I never have. I’m a huge fan of this series. I love paranormal romance, and the action scenes are spectacularly cinematic. Not only that, but Ward writes some incredibly hot love scenes. Pair all of that with a war between good an evil, and you’ve got me hooked. However, while I can wax poetic about the greatness of this series, and this book in particular, what struck me the most this time around was the relationships between the characters.
This first novel focuses on vampire king Wrath fighting the good fight against evil, and finding the love of his life in his oldest friend’s daughter, Beth. Wrath is an alpha male in every sense of the word. He’s big, strong, and fearsome. He also is the head of the BDB, and king of his race. As a warrior, he’s a legend, and a throw back to ancient warriors fighting in the arena. While he’ll do anything for his woman, and at times can act a bit whipped, he also is the strong silent type that goes after what he wants. While I love the dynamic between him and Beth, I couldn’t help but noticed how Beth gives up a lot for this man. Like romances of old, Beth is the damsel in need of saving, and gives up her life the moment Wrath appears. Even though she first appears to readers as a strong, independent female, by the end of the novel the Beth we first meet has changed, but is it for the better? I like these two so much, that I and any answer I could give would probably be biased.
“I can smell the sex coming off you right now. I could take you down on this sidewalk and be up that skirt of yours in a heartbeat. And you wouldn’t fight me, would you?”
“Now, we can be civilized and wait until we get home. Or we can get down to it right here. Either way, I’m dying to come inside of you again, and you’re not going to say no.”
Wrath and Beth’s relationship wasn’t the only one that interested me. The relationships between the Brothers was really interesting, because it transcended the bonds of blood. The years they’ve spent fighting evil has bonded them in ways that familial ties couldn’t. While they may not be biologically family, they still operate as one. Wrath is the father figure that keeps everyone in line, while Tohr is the “mother” to their rag-tag crew. While Tohr is a hardened warrior, he’s also the one the other Brothers can go to whenever they feel they can’t turn to Wrath. All of the other Brothers are like kids vying for their father’s approval. No matter what happens, their respect for each other trumps all.
I could go on and on about the various relationships within this series, but I won’t. As much as I love all of the steamy scenes, and the action-packed fights, the complex relationships between the characters is what has made me stuck with this series for over thirteen books. Ward’s series may contain every romance trope there is, but that’s also part of the fun. Somewhat she makes it work, and instead of being a turn off, the tropes actually help enhance this universe and counterbalance the violent scenes.