Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Review: Dark Lover b y J.R. Ward

*This is not YA

Since I haven't been able to write (stupid wrist!) I've had lots of time to read. My Kindle is really great for that. Now, Dark Lover is a book I actually bought last year. It's a book I started and failed to finish. But since the Black Dagger Brotherhood is an extremely popular paranormal romance series, and I want to understand how well written PNR works, I decided to give the book another go.

I'm glad I did.

Here's the thing: since I read both YA and NA / adult books, I can have trouble switching gears. I can struggle to remember that there are things I will accept from an adult book that I would not tolerate in a YA book for reasons of logic, credibility, etc. When I got back to the point where I DNFd Dark Lover my first go around, I could see exactly why I had, and I still didn't appreciate what was there. However, I decided to continue and on the whole I really did have a good time. Want my full thoughts? Read on.
(Summary from GoodReads)
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.
First, I bet you wanna know what made me DNF my first go around. The sex. It's not that it was poorly written! Rather, it's that after being traumatized by another guy a few chapters earlier (and only by a day or so in time) the heroine then has UNPROTECTED sex with the hero. Yes, she thinks its a fantasy! Yes, he can't give her an STD, etc. But it was the principle of the thing. Remember, I jumped into this on the heels of 5-10 YA books. It felt off to me, and no wonder.

Fast forward to the present? I still wasn't a big fan of this plot development, nor of the fact that there was not really enough reaction to it as the book went on. I found the connection between Beth and Wrath really, *really*, shallow. I didn't really care about them the way I *should* have. It was all too on the surface for me to really get invested.

That doesn't mean I hated the book though! On the contrary, I'm about to start book 4! Why? Because despite the fact that this romance here was not my favorite, the world building, lore, and overall cast in this book--which all carry on as the series progresses--are FABULOUS! J.R. Ward has a real talent for developing a group of characters who really do feel like family, and who felt very real to me. I wasn't crazy about how Wrath and Beth got together, but I was *glad* they did. I also knew I'd want to come back to find out more about other characters I liked, such as Rhage, Butch, Phury and Vishous. (Sorry, people--I'm not a Zsadist fan. Nothing against him, he just didn't grab me.)

As a writer, one thing I really like about this series are the variety of POVs. As someone who uses quite a few, and has characters in her own novels whose lives continue to grow, I found how J.R. Ward juggled this very interesting--and I am thrilled with how it is progressing with each book I read. As I hope I made clear above, it makes the whole series feel like a long term investment emotionally, even though the h/h in this book weren't necessarily my favorite couple ever.
Here's how I see it: Dark Lover is a 'good' book in what is shaping up to be a great series. If you are just looking for *a* romance to win your heart, I don't think this is where I wound point you. *But* if you are looking for a world to invest in and become obsessed with, the Black Dagger Brotherhood, and be extension Dark Lover, are highly recommended.


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  2. Haha yeah I remember thinking the same thing about the sex in this one. I didn't love it as much as others but it was a pretty good read overall. It's been a long time though I don't remember much from it. I do find that series like these take a few books until I'm really hooked. Great review, hun!

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