Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dark Lover by J.R, Ward ****

Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1)Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had already read this in print, and then got it for cheap at an sale on audio. I liked it okay (4 stars) in print, and I know a lot of people love the whole Black Dagger Brotherhood series, so I figured if the audio caught my interest, maybe I'd search out the rest in audio.

About an hour in, I started to wonder if this narrator, Jim Frangione, was going to grow on me or drive me crazy. In the end, it wasn't actually either. He had a gruff sort of narration voice, like a Sam Spade mystery, and didn't do much to differentiate between characters. In fact, it was more like he was just reading it aloud and not really "voice acting". But that almost worked for me by the end (not that I'd classify him as a great narrator, but not as bad as I feared.)

I'm still not particularly drawn in by vampire stories, and after determining the rest are not available at the library, I'm not going to pursue the series. I do have at least #2 in print, so if I am searching for a book to read, it might get read...

Here is my original review of the print version from April, 2009:


I read this for the AAR Top 100 of 2007 challenge I'm participating in - even though I'm not exactly into vampire romance (after a disastrous encounter with some Feehan audio books). It's hard to follow the world-building of paranormals sometimes, and when there's entire species to deal with - with rules and lingo and even whole languages to understand and follow. This one even had a glossary in the front, which I consulted several times.

Plus, even though there are only 6 members (well, 7 if you count Darius) of the Brotherhood, they had nicknames and such, and even by the end I wasn't 100% clear who was who. Which one was Hollywood, anyway?? Wrath. Wrage. Phury. Zsadist. Tohrment. And one more. Oh yeah, Vishous. (and Butch, human cop, who gets sorta sucked into their lives - pun intended, they didn't actually suck human blood, heh heh.)

Even so, I can see the allure - the guys are all super-tough, beyond alpha, leather clad bad boys. Bigger than life. Vampires and ass-kickers too. Humans play a very small part in this story - the really bad guys (because, face it, the vampires aren't exactly Superman, touting truth, justice and the American way...) are the "lessers" italicized because it's a Vampire word, not the word lesser as in "less than". They are also undead, and are sworn to kill the Vampires. I sorta get the idea they aren't doing it to be evil but because they are mortal enemies. Maybe I'm wrong about that.

Wrath is the king of the vampires, and he's given the charge of helping a half-human, half-vampire woman, Darius's daughter Beth, go through the "transition" from human to vampire. I guess when they're half-breeds, it's not clear until Vampire Adolescence whether they'll transition or not. But Wrath, like all vampires, has keen senses and can smell Beth, her emotions, even that she is going to transition.

Of course, there's that soulmate thing with vampires too - there's the One "shellan" which is sorta like wife/soulmate. And hey, vampire males can have more than one, but they're territorial so shellans only have one "hellbren" which is the male version. Sorta like polygamists - sux, huh??

So while we learn the story of Wrath and Beth, we also meet all the Brothers and learn about them (as I said, I was pretty much confused about who was who) so we are prepared for the followup stories, of which the next 3 are also Top 100s at AAR in 2007.

I liked her writing - she makes the vampires out to be headbangers with tattoos, and it works. While they all have slight accents, they still speak American slang, carry a lot of weapons and are mostly looking to kickass all the time. Beth is pretty normal - she was raised in the foster system, didn't know she was half-vampire, but has her own apartment, a cat, a job at a newspaper. She's completely unaware of even the existence of vampires and lessers.

Well, I'm not sure I made any sense on this - the story was suspenseful, confusing, hot - Wrath had a serious jones for Beth, making him a fairly besotted hero by the end (but not all the way through so I'm not tagging it). The heroes were bad and the bad guys badder. And some loose ends to get you to read the next books. 4 stars. Serial Challenge, Spring 2009 Challenge and AAR Top 100 Quest.

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