J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood Series

That's it. I'm done with J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood Series, something I thought I would never say while reading the first two selections in the series. Those first two novels are two of my all-time favorite books. Period. Always will be.

For me, the books after the first two focus more on the science fiction/paranormal/vampire and less on the romance/sex. There also seems to be less about the central couple and more in terms of sub-plots in the later books, which I didn't like at all.

Keep in mind that, with all of the sub-plots involving characters like the students at the school established by the Brotherhood and the Lessening Society (fighting to eradicate the vampires), the books have to be read in order. If you just jump in during the middle of the series, you'll miss a lot.

Here's my personal take on the series so far:
The series starts with Dark Lover, the story of almost-blind, pure-blood Wrath and Beth, the half-vampire, half-human woman, unaware of her father's vampire status and just about to turn. This book is hot, hot, hot. The chemistry between the two is fantastic. I didn't even register until my second reading of the book that Beth didn't even know Wrath's name the first time they had sex, which isn't exactly the "norm" for romance novels. Works here, though. I love the way the Brotherhood and the Lessening Society are introduced to create a whole sub-world in this book. This is my second favorite title in the Brotherhood series.
Book two, Lover Eternal, is the story of Rhage (aka Hollywood for his stunning looks and way with women) and Mary Luce, his human love interest. Because I really appreciated the way Mary Luce was presented, this is my absolute favorite of the Brotherhood series.

I anxiously awaited the publication of the third novel, Lover Awakened, about Zsadist, my absolute favorite member of the Brotherhood, and Bella. Yes, find me a fictional man who is suffering and needs to have his lost soul nourished, and I'm there. Then I was so disappointed with the amount of written space actually devoted to Zsadist and Bella in the same place at the same time, and I wish the epilogue had been completely skipped because going to the fourth book meant backing up again. I think this was certainly the beginning of the end of my love affair with this series.

The fourth book, Lover Revealed, is the story of an honorary Brotherhood member, human cop Butch, and Marissa, a vampire and long-time blood-supplier for Wrath. I liked this one slightly more than the third installment, though not nearly as well as the first two books.

Book five, Lover Unbound, is the story of Vishous and Dr. Jane Whitcomb. The format in which Jane exists ("lives" seems like a stretch) at the end of the book is a little unsettling, so that kept the book from working for me.

Book number six, Lover Enshrined, is the story of Phury and Cormia, one of the Chosen who serve the Brotherhood. I can't offer much of an opinion on this book since I quit reading on something like page 32 or 34 and never went back again.

The seventh book, coming in April 2009, is Lover Avenged. Um, yeah, yummy cover, but I think I'll be waiting to borrow the paperback from the public library.


KELI said…
I have to admit, I totally agree with everything you had to say in your comments about this series. I am so disappointed in how she has written the last 2 books; to me, it feels like someone other then J.R. Ward wrote these books. I heard the next book is a HARD BACK BOOK, how can she justify a hard back book, when her writing has gotten sloppier (maybe not the right word, but you know what I mean). I also know we are not the only ones out there that feel this way...COME ONE PEOPLE...SPEAK UP!
Yes, that's correct. Lover Avenged will be the first release in hardcover. Sigh. Another reason to leave the series.
Nicola O. said…
I hope your cover-love isn't the only reason you're planning to read this one, because they're going to change it...

I really didn't like Enshrined very much, but I loved the whole series up to the last bit of Unbound. I've sort of come around on the Jane thing, but I really hated it on first read. And I was a little disappointed in the development of V's sexuality within his relationship to Jane. But this is me wanting to control what the characters do, and until I figure out how to write a book, I don't get to do that.

It still rates as a great read for me, despite the plot turns that I did not get to pre-approve.
You have a definite point, Nicola. I think I was so disappointed in Zsadist and Bella's story because the situation didn't develop as *I* imagined.

I'm working on writing a novel, but I don't think it will be half as good as the worst of the Ward novels. LOL
Anonymous said…
zsadist and bella story was my
favorite. vishous, i expected it to be the best of all, but disappointed. Phury's story was something i cant describe. just horrible after the build up. i know this lady can write, so i am not giving up and will probably pay that horrible price and not just for the cover.
m-dog said…
I have spent the last two weekends holed up, absorbing the series from the very first book to the IG. I even downloaded the audiobooks of the last two from NetLibrary to listen at work. I am so hooked on thsi series it is embarassing!

I was so dissapointed with Phurys book. He and Cormia's story was pretty much shoved to the background and all the sub-plots took over. I got lost in it all but flipped through looking for their story, along with John Matthew. I hope she does right with Rhev's story - he has the potential to have some serious action and issues! Keep the faith!

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