Author: J.R. Ward
Rating: 2.5/5 Stars
I think it's safe to say that J.R. Ward is one of the most well known names in the adult urban fantasy genre. Needless to say, I was excited and a little nervous to see what all the hype about her books were about - and whether I would even like them. Ultimately however, I think her Black Dagger Brotherhood Series is one that is read purely for entertainment and nothing else. So, although I enjoyed this introduction into her famous book series, I by no means loved it and have gained no inspiration to continue with them either.
When Darius, Wrath's close friend and warrior, is suddenly killed, Wrath is forced to honor his last wish: find his daughter and protect her. Wrath is the king of vampires and to Darius, whose daughter Beth is half-vampire half-human, he knows that only Wrath can help her through her transformation as a vampire. But Beth, ironically enough, has no idea of her true lineage. She has never even met her parents so when Wrath - tall, handsome, and oozing with sex appeal and danger - arrives at her front door, she is more than a little confused, frightened, and aroused. Thus, Beth suddenly finds herself involved with no one either than the leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood - a decision that could change her life in ways she never foresaw.
If the title and cover of this book didn't already give it away, I'll just be upfront and say it: there is sex in this book. Lots of it. Too much of it actually in my opinion. I don't mind erotica in the least, but when used in a love story, I like to have my fair share of romantic build-up. Unfortunately for me, Wrath and Beth end up having sex minutes - literally minutes - after they meet. Furthermore, any type of emotional or non-physical relationship that took place between them only happened after multiple sensual scenes, so I felt deprived of what could have been a very good love story.
Furthermore, I felt strangely detached from all the characters. I think this was because this novel was told from multiple perspectives - about four or five to be exact. I don't mind different perspective changes, but it definitely made me, as the reader, feel less invested in the emotional story within this novel and I couldn't really bring myself to care all that much about the characters. In addition, Wrath was simply too un-sexy for me. I don't find body-builder-type people attractive and appearance aside, I didn't find Wrath's personality to be exactly nice either. His stubborn refusal to be with Beth seemed unwarranted and stemmed from absolutely nothing, only adding unnecessary drama into the story. If that wasn't enough, Wrath is a typical alpha-male. I liked the fact that Beth stood up to him on this issue, maintaining some degree of feminism, but I simply could not warm up to Wrath as the male protagonist.
That being said, I think the backstory of Beth's secret lineage was heart-warming and I absolutely lived Fritz, their gentle and caring butler. I also thought that the ideas Ward expressed were unique and original and I can see why she has such a huge fan-base. Yet, I refuse to continue her series. Having read the synopsis of her next few novels, I can say with confidence that each and every one of Ward's stories follows a formulaic writing style: "tortured" male vampire protagonist, a female protagonist who shouldn't be "the one" for the male but is, steamy sex scenes, and probably some unnecessary drama along with a fair share of danger and a touch of murder. I'm not saying this isn't an attractive package, but it's one I refuse to spend time on. The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series is one I can only see returning to when I'm in need of a light and entertaining read. In a publishing world where mind-blowing novels are constantly being written, it seems a shame to waste my time on a predictable series that has failed to leave me emotionally invested. Thus, my venture into this dark and hyped-up world is sadly (or thankfully) ending.