Dark Lover – Black Dagger Brotherhood #1
by JR Ward
Dark Lover is the first in Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. The brotherhood in question is a brotherhood of vampire warriors—but these vampires are not out for human blood. They are not out to turn humans into vampires. In fact, they couldn’t care less about the human population at all. Ward’s vampires are a different race; the vampire gene is hereditary, manifesting in children of vampires when they become adults, instead of being passed to humans through shared blood. Vampires can survive by drinking human blood, but the blood of another of their kind works much better to sustain them. Humans and vampires are sexually compatible, however, and can create half-vampire, half-human children.
Beth Randall is one such half-breed. She has no idea of her father’s heritage, and so is unprepared for the transition that awaits when the vampire blood within her asserts itself. Wrath, the leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood honors Beth’s father’s request to help Beth through the transition, but he does it reluctantly. He doesn’t plan to fall in love with her.
The premise of the vampire nature is the reason I picked up this book, and the main thing that kept me going through it. It is well written and fast paced, with the sex and romance scenes adding to the plot instead of being thrown in randomly. The aspect of the novel that stood in the way of my enjoyment of it was the language: Ward’s characters are often tough, harsh guys, and their speech reflects that. It took me at least a quarter of the book to agree that many of the characters warranted such strong language. However, Ward does a good job of keeping swear words to the characters who would logically use them.
Another thing that made me pause was the way the vampires were named. A handful had relatively normal names, but the warriors had names like “Rhage” and “Vishous”. Like the language, these took some getting used to.
At the beginning of the novel is a small dictionary of vampire terms. I always enjoy reading the author’s intended meaning of created languages, but putting it at the beginning annoyed me a little. I prefer the reference material at the end of the book, where I can look for it when I want it without it jumping out at me before I even get hooked in the story.
Dark Lover is a good book, but not for those who dislike sex or swear words. It is plot-driven, but definitely sex oriented. I would rate it for mature audiences for either the sex or the language. There is violence present, but it is not nearly as graphic or prevalent as I would have expected.