Customer Reviews: Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 1)
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on January 27, 2006
Wrath is a vampire who prefers to be alone, and work alone. When his good friend Darius asks for Wrath's help with his daughter he is turned down by Wrath. Knowing going into the request it would probably be a negative answer he still attempts to reach Wrath's softer side. Darius's daughter is half human and she is getting ready to change over but will need the help of a strong vampire male. Wrath thinks he has been able to walk away from that commitment and responsibility but then Darius is killed. Now he must look over his friend's daughter. Too bad the human, Beth speaks to the long buried part of him he thought dead. Will he be able to walk away from her after her transition?

Beth has been noticing changes in her body but has been largely ignoring them as she goes about her business as writer for a local newspaper. But one night she thinks she dreams about a dark, large man who has fangs and it scares her. When she realizes it was not a dream but reality she at first wants to freak out...but then she also can't get over how sexy he is. When she finds out the truth about herself and Wrath will Beth be willing to accept what fate has in store or will the Lessers get to her first?

Ms. Ward's new vampire world is a delicious addition to the sub-genre of vampire fiction. Her story is a little dark, and little erotic, and a whole lot entertaining. She has taken the vampire legend and has made it her own. With an eclectic group of secondary characters, her own creatively drawn bad guys the reader will not roll their eyes with boredom. I highly look forward to the next in the series.
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on September 10, 2012
So I'm not going to claim that I am the all knowing of paranormal romance, but I'm pretty damn close. (te-he)

This book was so dreadfully uneventful and dull that I couldn't get past the first half of the book, and that has NEVER happened to me before. I've always finished books I start, even the ones with very very slow beginnings. This however wasn't just a slow beginning, this was just bad writing. Now let me tell you why.

1.) In the first 20% of the book the POV was switching so many times with so many different characters that I spent a large amount of the time wondering what in the world the author was thinking. I believe I saw 6-8 POV's in that first 20%. And I'm SURE it continues through out the story. Maybe some authors can pull this off... this one however can't. It was like she was trying to write a screen play for a TV show, and failing miserably at it.

2.)Let's talk hunky heroes. For one I can't even remember the guys name (2 hours later as I write this) he was so forgettable, I WANTED to forget him. Not only that but the author describes him like some kinda of creepy vampire wanna-be with a "widows peak". Do you guys know what a widows peak looks like! It's not sexy. It what every COMICAL depiction of a vampire has. Also apparently this guy is built like a ogre or something, with abnormally wide shoulders, described to the point where it doesn't even sound sexy, it sounds like a medical condition. Again what in the world was this author thinking?

3.) Every single side character in the "brotherhood" was the EXACT same character with different names! Moody because of this (insert random horrible event), big dark and brooding. Blah blah, boring. There was no drawl to any of them, they were there just to be there!

4.) ALSO, apparently our "hero" is already "mated" to this train wreck of a woman. Who has apparently been self sacrificing herself for this guy for god knows how long, and the author wants me to want this poor woman to be shoved out of the way so our "heroine" can be with him. We'll dive into this more in the moment...

5.) The first time the two characters had sex all I could think about was "this cheating son of a bitch". He was mated to another woman, and didn't even think twice. Not only that but they bang pretty much on the sight of each other. The girl, Beth I think... had seen him the previous night in what she thought was a dream, and she'd been scared shitless. I would be two if a man with back problems and a widows peak came into my house. Then magically because of some really good weed, disguised as "red smoke" she's FAWNING over him. Begging to be taken. Again all i could think was... might as well be date rape drugs, thatt'a boy, take her while she's stoned. WTF?


I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Actually YES I WOULD, it would be the most horrible torture I could think of.

Now I feel the need to put something positive in here....

But I can't because there wasn't a single good thing about this book.

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on September 22, 2005
What an excellent writer this is! Dark Lover will easily make the best seller lists and win awards. I love paranormal romances (as well as all other kinds of romances - having read hundreds of them) and this is top quality. At first, I was dismayed by the level of violence and cussing in this book, it being even grittier than Kenyon's and Feehan's works. Still, I think Sherrilyn Kenyon fans will love this. The romance was superb - not overboard on the sex but plenty of detailed sensuality - just perfect! We get to meet several lovable(ha!) characters which will make up future books in this series and I will read them all, even if I am flinching a bit at all the blood, gore and language. The romantic line is worth it.
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on May 28, 2006
I have without a doubt The Black Dagger Brotherhood will have a cult following. It's dark, dramatic, and the characters are likable. They all have their own little kinks. The story is decent.

Dark Lover starts off with Darius, an aristocrat vamp, asking Wrath, the blind king, to help his half-breed daughter, Beth through the transition. The transition is similar to puberty. Darius fears his daughter may not survive it and thinks Wrath's pure vampire blood would be strong enough to help her. Wrath declines because he's a loner, prefers to keep to himself, and is an arrogant jerk. Unfortunately, Darius is killed by lessers (soul-less vamp killing humans) and his last wish was for Wrath to find Beth.

I expected Wrath and Beth's first encounter to be interesting. Intsead it was the typical, borderline cheesy, instant sexual attraction scene. Beth wanted Wrath to do her on the spot. "Kiss me. Touch me. moan moan moan" After Wrath realizes how much he loves Beth he becomes very needy. He needs her every second of everyday. He wasn't acting like a male, much less an alpha male warrior.

The brothers are all supposed to be over 100 years old and they have accents which they hide when they speak, yet they sound like OUTDATED thugs. "Straight up. True? My brother. Man. Yo" I smiled every time I read a dialogue between them. I was half expecting them to pronounce all the words that end with an "-er" with an "-a" sound. Like "My Brotha" LOL Another thing I found funny was how manly the brothers liked to act, and when they're spilling their guts out, the tend to clam up quickly, fearing their masculinity would be compromised. Also, pay attention to their names. Rhage (Rage), Phury (Fury), Vishous (Vicious), Zsadist (Sadist), Tohrment (Torment).

The plot felt like it was thrown together haphazardly. There were no real plans in the fight against the lessers. I think this series has a lot of promise and will possibly be better in the future. Whenever a writer starts something new, they tend to experiment and get a better feel for the story. It's too bad none of the books are stand alone; every book is connected. I hope when Phury's story is written, things won't be as choppy.

Some of the elements in this book is similar to Christine Feehan's Dark Carpathian series, which I highly recommend.
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on June 23, 2006
Based upon the panoply of 4 and 5 star reviews, I was pretty excited to pick this first "Brotherhood" book up. However, after the 532 years it took to finish, I must add to the voices of dissention and say I just didn't like this book ... at all. In fact, "Dark Lover" sometimes got me downright angry to be wasting so much time grinding through it. I kept hoping it would start to flow and improve, I kept giving it "another 40 pages..." but it never recovered. The fear of someone else being misguided into believing this is a romantic masterpiece got my hackles up. Therapy is writing this review.

I know, I know - there are some reviews here of people who enjoyed this work, so take my opinion for what it is. Still, that doesn't make J.R. Ward even close to the next Julie Garwood, Virginia Henley or Anne Rice.

This isn't a romance book in spite of what the publishing blurb says. It a banal mishmash featuring a formulaic psycho killer and his coven, the typical macho cop, the leather-wearing - uh ... dangerous (?) vampire, and an unimpressive heroine... in that order. No really, in that order. The albino psycho gets more page time than anyone else. Be prepared to enjoy the albino psycho constructing his evil plot, the albino psycho musing about his history, the albino psycho growing from his mistakes, and the albino psycho admiring himself in a new set of tennis shorts. Huh? Where's the interaction between hero and heroine? Ohhh right, that's the 3 or 4 pages every 70 pages or so. As the reader, I was desperately trying to fill in the feelings of the characters for the author, trying to flesh out the story, trying very much to avoid comparing it to a C-grade thriller.

(*more sarcasm*) I particularly cherished when our hero vampire admired his lover's flawless physical beauty ... even though he was nearly 100% blind. That's right, he _sniffed_ how fine-looking she was. Love is grand.(*end sarcasm*)

Admittedly I don't read romances for their literary or innovative value. I _do_ read them for the quixotic escapism, and this didn't have any. It irked me that I had to suffer through a cast of thousands, cliché after cliché, purple prose, and bizarre ineffectual similes such as 'his chest was like 'paint rollers under the skin?' Eewwwww! (I think another review mentioned this too... oh, just so horrifying.)

I know these type of books have an amount of predictability to them - romances are read knowing there's a happy ending - so after suffering through 400-ish pages, I guess I wasn't surprised how it closed: yes, the biggest baddest gang of loner vampires end up getting a condo together in the Hamptons. Ok no, not really... but just as dreadful.

This book valiantly tried to be so much, and ended up so little.

Please, save yourself the money. Or if you feel you really would like to read this, get it used... and please don't hurt the messenger.
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on January 7, 2012
I was really disappointed by this book. I like a dark hero. A Heathcliff-esque one, if you will. The passion and torment minus the cruelty (and dial back on that obsession a little). This series was recommended to me for that reason. And while I love 'Wuthering Heights' and other classics, I still like romance novels for what they are. I don't expect them to be 'Atonement,' but I do expect the writing to be better than high school level. I can't "escape" if the book is just complete and utter crap. I enjoyed 'Twilight' more than this book.

The characters made no sense. Within the space of a couple of days Beth accepts that she is a supernatural creature and her whole life as she knows it is over with total nonchalance. After her transition, she admires her pointy new fangs and is pleased that Halloween is going to be easier now. Marissa has been bonded to/obsessed with Wrath for centuries, and he's always treated her horribly. She finally finds her big girl panties and heads over to tell Wrath what she thinks of him the day after they "break up," and lo and behold, falls for a human character, Butch, instantly. Just like that. And that beef with Wrath? Forgotten. Speaking of Wrath, sometimes the vampire brothers are terrified of him, and other times they're not. Beth speaks to him harshly and he says ponderously, "No one has ever spoken to me as you just did." He respects her for her ground-breaking courage. Except...his brothers talk back to him all the time. Are they scared of him or not? Sloppy writing and bad characterizations all around.

Oh yeah. I know this has been brought up a lot before, but I feel it's necessary to repeat. The names. Wrath. Tohrment. Rhage. Phury. Zsadist. Vishous. Like the vampire equivalent of the seven dwarves. I kept waiting for Sneezhi and Dhoc to show up. I really think I would have been less annoyed if they were just code names and were spelled without the cutesy nonsense.

And the dialogue. Oh, the dialogue. What a travesty. A member of the super-tough vampire brotherhood literally says, "I'm outtie." Maybe Cher from `Clueless' is his "shellan." "Shellan," for the uninitiated, means "vampire wife," more or less. You can learn this and more in the handy glossary at the front of the book. These made up terms are almost as clever as inserting an extra consonant into a scary word and calling it a name.

I could get past the rapid pace with which Wrath and Beth fell in love (I make a allowances in paranormal for that sort of thing). I was okay with the bland psycho villain. I accepted the flawless heroine. These things are par for the course in romance novels. But the other
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on September 24, 2008
Ugh. I hated this book. With all of the rave reviews given to this book I was extremely shocked to find how much I hated it. Finding one stitch of intelligent dialogue in this book is like finding a needle in a hay stack. Sadly, my original review of this book has been deleted so here I go again.

Here are the characters:

Beth, the heroine. She's half vampire and half human but knows nothing of her vampire heritage. Her food consumption consisted of Twinkies, fish crackers, cookies, chinese food and cola. Good god I felt unhealthy after reading this book. I was just waiting for her to rip out her pack of cigarettes and start chain smoking. Beth's dialogue is simply terrible. When the author delves into her thoughts it is even worse.

Wrath, the hero, and I use this term loosely. He wants to protect Beth while she is going through her transition. He normally doesn't have anything to do with humans but Beth smells good so he makes an exception. He will basically kill anything that gets in his way although the author claims he's quite honorable. He's blind, leather-wearing, (pants too) emotionally weak and the leader of the vampire mobsters. His homeys consist of Tohrment, Rhage, Zsadist and Phury. They are also leather-wearing, sword-weilding vampires who sit around listening to rap. One of them likes to rape and kill. Cool.

We have some really wonderful baby powder scented villains (no I'm not joking) who are trying to kill all the honorable vampires. Mr. X as he's called is the most one dimensional villain that I've ever read. His scenes are really quite disgusting. There must only be 26 of these soulless, zombie villains because we would run out of letters pretty quickly otherwise and would have to think up real names.

Butch is a stereotypical, macho cop who's in love with Beth. He actually hiked up his pants when he was going in for an arrest. Yep.

There are a few other cardboard characters within the book but they are really not worth mentioning.

Within the book you can read such wonderfully original prose:

"His throat was raw, and it felt like he'd french-kissed a blowtorch."

"He looked like he was smuggling paint rollers under his skin." (refers to six pack abs)

These are probably the worst similes I have ever read. There are many more in the book though if you like that kind of thing.

I know I didn't really get into the plot but I think you get what I'm trying to say. This was a bad, bad book. Unfortunately I bought a few of the other books in the series at the same time. I've learned my lesson.
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on April 26, 2008
Oh boy, where can I start? I usually have good luck using Amazon reviews to choose my next book. This time however, I have to disagree with all of the 4 and 5 star ratings. This book was laughable. I found myself cringing at the dialog between the supposed tough guys. No straight guy in the history of the planet has ever uttered the cheesetastic lines these guys did. And the names......Zsadist, Rhage, Phury,'s embarrassing. I couldn't even finish and I'm still baffled by other people's glowing reviews.
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VINE VOICEon December 8, 2007
I knew going in that Dark Lover was a paranormal romance, so I was expecting a slightly formulaic plot with sexy vampires and a rocky path to forever love. I can honestly say I got that; but I keep vascillating on just how much I enjoyed this novel. On one hand, I kept turning the pages as it was interestingly written and peopled with stereotypical characters you love or love to hate. On the other hand, the "romance" between the main characters never really made it for me as it was almost totally built around lust.

There are lots of things that bugged me about this novel, and some things I did enjoy. Firstly though, I simply couldn't buy into all the experiences the heroine suffered with almost no qualms: assault, an intruder that she desires immediately (and has sex with!), violence against a friend, turning into a vampire, learning about the father she never knew, marriage within days of meeting her "mate." I wanted more build up between the hero and heroine; that would have at least given credence to the sudden, soul-clenching, can't-live-without-you relationship which develops. Secondly, I really *hated* the names of the vampires; Rhage, Phury, Zsadist, Wrath? It reminded me of the odd spellings I tried to come up with for future children when I was in junior high school. I also had difficulty with the vampire world as presented here as it followed few of the "rules" I've read about anywhere else (but that may not have been a bad thing). Finally, the formula itself was almost too much; a twist or turn here or there would definitely have fleshed the story out, and made the characters much more life-like.

So what did I like that kept me reading? I liked that the hero was flawed with poor vision; that kept him from being too stereotypical. I loved some of the minor characters, including Rhage, Zsadist, Vishous, Butch the cop, and Fritz the butler. They were definitely nice additions that rounded out the landscape. I liked that Wrath finally stepped up to his true calling and I'm sure I'll want to know how things work out in their world. The writing, while quite purple at times, was engaging enough to keep me going and wondering how things would turn out (though I was certain I knew...and I was right).

A friend who often reads the same books as I do recommended this one to me and overall, I can't say it was a bad choice for me. While wishing it was more than it is, I can say that fans of paranormal romance and vampires in particular will enjoy it. In fact, as I reflect more on my reading experience, I may yet think it falls in the four star category. Despite its flaws, it's good reading that doesn't require much of the reader other than turning those pages.
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on May 2, 2012
I'm not a romance literature fan. I used to be, but after over 4yrs of not having read a romance novel, I decided to give this a go. It's too cheesy to finish: the dated references, the continuous leather pants wardrobe, the even cheesier names (Rhage, Phury, Thorment, Wrath). Lol. The initial encounter when she flings herself at the man could've passed for a drug induced haze, had she not sobered-up and still been willing. Now, a woman who was almost raped 24hrs ago, is cool getting down with a stranger she thought was going to kill her two seconds ago! A man who is in her locked apartment. She's cool with it. I'm sorry, is lust this strong after attempted rape? Do recent victims give an intruder a free pass to break-and-enter them, since the intruder proved so efficient at breaking-and-entering their homes? At this point, I'm done. It's all I can do to not laugh myself into respiratory distress.
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