Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood #1) [Wrath & Beth] - J.R. Ward

Dark Lover - J.R. Ward

Since April is coming fast and with it "The King" Book 12 in the Black Dagger Brotherhood will be out, I've decided to listen to the Audio Books of the series from start to finish. I think I originally read the first 10 about 2 years ago. Back then I just got my Kindle and I didn't really interact with anyone but a good friend who recommended books to me. She started with Sookie Stackhouse and when she saw I loved it, offered I read this one. So as it goes with most of what she recommends - I sat down to read and wasn't disappointed :)


The first book is about Wrath who is actually the King of the race though he refuses to act as one.


He only runs the brotherhood and fights along side them. The Black Dagger Brotherhood, an order of Vampires who protects their kind mostly from the Lessening Society, a group of soul-less humans (actually they USED to be humans before they gave their soul to become Lessers). He is very distant from most of the Warriors and doesn't interact with them often.


In the beginning of the book one of his few friends - Darius - approaches him and asks him to look after his half human daughter. Though he refused in the beginning he soon changes his mind. As it seems he can't stay away from her and she doesn't pull away from him, making it hard for him to help her as Darius wanted and then leave her alone. 


Beth knows nothing about being half a vampire or that vampires even exist. She has been an orphan all her life and Wrath's knowledge of her father intrigues her though she isn't sure if she can trust what he tells her. She isn't sure she can trust him AT ALL. Beth is a reporter and much connected to the police whom she works with occasionally. Lately there are strange killings in Coldwell the police thinks that Wrath is involved, especially Butch O'Neal who has been interested in Beth for a while now so he doesn't appreciate the attraction she has for that dangerous fella.


Butch is caught up in the fire somehow but instead of getting killed he finds out a lot more than what he anticipated and not just the fact that Wrath isn't the killer he THINKS he is... though he does kill for a living.. 


As all these series are, everyone of the Warriors is somehow flawed though we love them all with their "disadvantages" ;) Each book portraits the love story of one of the Warriors while moving the general plot of the world around them. In this book the Warriors are in a way distant from each other. They have been fighting for a long time together but they aren't really friends. The Vampires are the "good guys" here. The Warriors are kick ass hot and as the series continues the interaction between them gets much better. Though I must say I didn't like what happened with Z in this book, especially since he's my favorite brother.. and believe me once you hear HIS story you'll shed rivers of tears for him and pledge your undying love for him as did I..


I love the world Ward created. I love how it "works". The Vampires aren't "evil" or "undead" they are just a different species. The Vampires are somehow portrayed as animalistic. They don't refer to each other as Man and Woman but as Male and Female. There is a lot of significance to smells and markings. Their mating is somehow animalistic too, as the Female has a "needing" and is only fertile in that time. There's a lot more to it then that. But that's just a taste of what I mean by animalistic. 


If you recall when I first read the "Midnight Breed" my main issue with the first book was that there were a lot of similarities between these two series. In the first book it's more evident especially since Lucan "feels" basically like Wrath does. But as the series continues and grows they feel "different enough" thus making the both of the great series, each on it's own. If you read the Midnight Breed and loved it. you will love this one as well! 


Yet, as you can see from the top I liked this one but didn't LOVE it and gave it only 3.5 stars. My problem is I didn't really love Wrath. I know he has MANY admirers so he'll probably be OK with that ;) One of the things I generally dislike in heroes is being the Self-Centered-Ego-Maniac-Chauvinistic-Douche kinda person until he meets his one and only then he becomes less "Self-Centered-Ego-Maniac-Chauvinistic-Douche". Well, I just don't feel like going through all that douchiness UNTIL he "finds himself" ya know? and in this one it took him about half the book to become an "OK guy" for me.. 

Beth puts him in his place when he "misbehaves" but basically I don't see what she sees in him (except for being a hunk ;)). So half a star goes out for Wrath being who he is.. :P


My main problem in this one but also in the next ones is the "enemy" they are facing. and here goes what I generally dislike in villains - being all evil to the core.

I mean, people have wants and needs, they do what they do because of that. When they are considered "evil" or "play the villains" then what they want isn't "pure of heart" or isn't considered "right" in society's eyes. But they have REASONS, logical ones even if you don't agree with them and find them disgusting, you "get it".



I don't like villains being just, well, villains.. when there is nothing really "there" to make them want to do what they do, except for just creating chaos / killing for the fun of it.

The Lessening Society is a pure evil organization who have no goal except for destruction. For me it makes them annoying and boring. I hate reading about them. Hated it in the first book and hated it in the next books until another "villain" is introduced.



That "new villain" was written in a manner that I could appreciate more. There were reasons for the actions the villain made, there is logic, an agenda. Emotions are involved, vengeance is sought. For me THAT'S a villain. I could hate him/her but that's just me rooting for the heroes. It doesn't mean there isn't a "function" to the villain, it only shows I react to the villain and what he does. 


I remember always tried to screen through the Lessers parts. Here I couldn't do it since I was listening to it, but basically I just kinda lost interest when Mr. X was the main POV coz' as I said, there is nothing here to feel. You aren't mad at him, you don't want the Brotherhood to crush him to the ground, you just feel like telling him - shut up already and go to sleep, bring on the interesting part!


One more sentence about things I dislikes in the book - Havers - he is such a douche! and well, an annoying one! wasn't pleased with everything that happened with his sub plot (not saying more not to spoiler anything). 


One last thing I feel I should refer to - The Audio book itself. I've listened to a few Audio Books in the past and wasn't as pleased with it as I was with others I've heard. I "blame" a little on the fact that it's a guy voice and not a girls and he basically sounds the same for all characters (if you listened to Sookie's Audio Book in my eyes that narrator is freaking AMAZING I could identify a hero by his accent and manner of speech!). I would love for the women to sound more "girly" the emotions they show to be more genuine (for the guys as well). Maybe other's won't feel as I do. I know some people want to have it in their own head how the character sound so they rather have a more "neutral" voice. But I"m different in that aspect. I rather HEAR it, for real. I don't know if the other ones are narrated by the same person... I'll relate to it in the next ones. 


As I've done with the Lords of the Underworld, I'll do here as well. If you are reading this for the first time, then you must be confused with who's who. I think it took me about 3 books to get everyone straight hehe Now, after reading several of these kinda series I'm better at it. and to tell you the truth, here you only have 6 warriors which isn't bad and you don't get TMI on them where you get confused, basically Ward tries to describe them and give a little about each one. 


So here is a little about each Warrior (Copied from J.R.Ward's Website) including in which book they are the main Hero - Enjoy!


Wrath (Dark Lover #1, The King #12)

The last purebred vampire on the planet and the vampire race's king. Essentially blind, he is the leader who is not willing to lead until he is forced to care for a half-breed he falls in love with.


Rhage (Lover Eternal #2)

The strongest of the brothers and the best fighter. Cursed by the Scribe Virgin, he is possessed by a dark side which is a danger to everyone. Ultimately, though, he is gentled by a very special human woman.


Zsadist (Lover Awakened #3, Father Mine #6.5)

The most lethal of the brothers. A former blood slave who was mercilessly tortured during the first hundred years of his life, Z is the one who has fallen farthest from grace. But he is utterly worthy of redemption.

Twin brother - Phury.


Phury (Lover Enshrined #6)

the loyal one, the one who sacrifices himself for others. Phury is Zsadist's twin brother and a celibate who cannot truly live because of everything his biological brother has lost. Used to giving rather than receiving, he needs love coming back at him to bring him alive.


Vishous (Lover Unbound #5)

the most intelligent and the one who is specially gifted. His curse is his ability to prognosticate: he sees the future, though not the 'when' of events so he is tortured by his inability to save those he loves from danger. His love puts him at odds with a secret about himself he did not know and could never have guessed.


Tohrment (Lover Reborn #10)

The steady one, the calm one. He is the one whose betrayal by fate will cut the deepest.


As you can guess from the number of Warriors to the number of books - there are a few more warriors who weren't mentioned in the first book as ones. The mentioned above are the "core" brotherhood. I"m adding the rest of them. Notice I'm adding the spoiler tag since some of the characters aren't mentioned yet and some are but we don't know what would become of them.

Butch O'Neal (Lover Revealed #4)

Butch O’Neal is a fighter by nature. A hard-living ex–homicide cop, he’s the only human ever to be allowed in the inner circle of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he wants to go even deeper into the vampire world. He’s got nothing to lose. His heart belongs to a female vampire, an aristocratic beauty who’s way out of his league. If he can’t have Marissa, then at least he can fight side by side with the Brothers.


Rehvenge (Lover Avenged #7)

Rehvenge, as a half-breed symphath, is used to living in the shadows and hiding his true identity. As a club owner and a dealer on the black market, he's also used to handling the roughest nightwalkers around—including the members of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. He's kept his distance from the Brotherhood as his dark secret could make things complicated on both sides—but now, as head of the vampire aristocracy, he's an ally that Wrath, the Blind King, desperately needs.


John Matthew (Lover Mine #8)

John is actually Darius incarnate only he can't remember he WAS Darius, that's part of the deal the Scribe Virgin had offered him, he also can't speak, that's another thing he had to give away in order to be able to get to know his daughter, Beth, even if he won't remember her as being his daughter. He is one of the new recruits to the Brotherhood. 


Payne (Lover Unleashed #9)

Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, seductive cloth as her brother. Imprisoned for eons by their mother, the Scribe Virgin. 


Quinn & Blay (Lover at Last #11)

Both are new recruits of the Brotherhood. Qhuinn has come from a high born family but was disown from it. Growing up his only real family has been his best friend - Blay's. Blay grew up in a loving family and has always tried to make his best friend Quinn feel welcomed and wanted. He harbors a secret "crush" on him for years accepting only having him as his best friend. Somewhere along the line he admits it to Quinn only to be rejected by him (but not for lack of interest from Quinn's side). Their unfulfilled relationship grows in several books until it concludes in Lover at Last when they finally become a true couple. 

(show spoiler)