REVIEW: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

Dark Lover: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood (Signet Eclipse)

Dark Lover by J.R. Ward is book #1 in her popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I’m probably one of the last readers to read about the brothers from the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward.  I’ll make my thoughts as brief and concise as possible: I didn’t like it and I didn’t finish it. I don’t think I can read another word of it, honestly.  I would describe the writing  as sophomoric and uneven. The premise?  The Lessening Society as explained by the author, was created by the Omega to eradicate the vampire species and the Brotherhood, led by Wrath, is determined to stop them.

Dark Lover is Wrath’s story and as mentioned above, he is the leader of the Brotherhood. A role he doesn’t care for due to some emotional baggage that he carries around. The Brotherhood includes other leather-clad, sex gods such as Zsadist, Phury, Torhment, Darius, Vishous and Rhage. The Brotherhood is all that stands between the lessers and the vampire civilian population. Besides hunting down lessers, Wrath is on a mission to fulfill a request that involves locating Elizabeth Randall. Beth is a beat reporter who has no idea that she’s half-human. Wrath reluctantly takes on the assignment of helping Beth through her “transition” since he is the only true pure bred vampire left. The “transition” as described by the author, is when a vampire comes into adulthood. It’s a dangerous time and one that many do not survive. Whatever. I quit reading before they could meet.

I stopped at Chapter Seven. It was the weakest chapter written thus far and I couldn’t read another word. The author provides a glossary at the front of the book that I thought was a necessity as I felt thrown right into the mix. I found it a struggle  to read for lack of flow, up to the Seventh chapter before calling it quits. The dialogue was stilted. Very stilted. The world building weak.  This book read like a first effort but I don’t think this is Ms. Ward’s first published work. All in all, Dark Lover just didn’t work for me. I can’t really even comment on characterization as there are quite a few characters in the story. Even after stopping, the one character that left it’s mark or impression on me was Homicide detective, Butch O’Neal. I did feel that the story was rushed a bit. You know, trying to get everything set up? I felt the lessers were a weak enemy and did not make interesting enemies at that. The centuries old feud used here is not new. Anyway,  it’s difficult to put my finger on the one thing that bothered me as there were several things that interrupted my reading. So, let’s just say that I felt it was better that Dark Lover and I  should part ways. Unlike me, I’m sure most readers are more interested in the romance regardless of the flaws. The thing of it is: I’ve read better.

This series is wildly popular so, count me in the minority who just didn’t “get it”. The book wasn’t flat out awful, not really and to quote this reviewer from Amazon:

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.

Thus, in the end, Dark Lover by J.R. Ward, wasn’t the worst book I’d tried reading but it certainly was the most over-hyped book of 2006. My grade, DNF.

[tags]JR Ward, Black Dagger Brotherhood, Paranormal Suspense[/tags]

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9 Responses to REVIEW: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

  1. CindyS says:

    I was one of those people who loved this book but it was Butch that caught my attention and I think I kept reading for him alone. Even still, I continue to love the series and look forward to Butch’s book although I am worried that he won’t live up to what I want for him. Seems that’s the norm for series characters though. They get built up to a point where the author’s view of their story can’t make everyone happy and I normally end up as the unhappy one.

    We should do over-hyped as a category every year 😉 I’m trying to think of what would be my ‘over-hyped’ book for this year. I’ll have to think on it.

    CindyS

  2. xina says:

    Too bad that you didn’t like this one Keishon. I liked it quite a bit…in fact it is my favorite so far in the series. I don’t think it was perfect though and agree with you that the writing wasn’t wonderful, but I liked the overall story. I’m not much into reading fantasy or vampires and such, but this is one of 3 authors that I’ll follow in their series of books that are paranormal/fantasy related.
    I love the part where you mentioned the leather wearing sex gods. I made that comment on AAR…well, about all the gosh darn leather, and no one responded so I assumed it hadn’t bothered anyone. Wearing leather pants everyday seems, well…confining. Unless you ride a motorcycle…for a living it just seems silly. Silly like those names. Big Bad Vampires having names like a Disneyland character was a tad ridiculous too, but I’ve looked past that and enjoyed the books for what they are. Haven’t read the latest…although I’ve had it since it was released.

    JR Ward writes contemporary romance as Jessica Bird. I think she has at least 8 books under that name. I’ve read a few and they aren’t bad, but I like her JR Ward writing better. I understand not liking an over-hyped book. I am usually in that camp scratching my head wondering if I had pages missing or something to have all readers love a book and I don’t…at all.

  3. Anne says:

    YAY! YIPPEE! WOO HOOO!!!

  4. Anne says:

    YAY! YIPPEE! WOO HOOO!!! Someone besides me who couldn’t stand this book. Thank effing goodness. Now, in Karen’s eyes, you can be a Heathen just like me.

    Wasn’t the writing just the WORST? Were there enough horrible euphemisms for you? GASP! This book sucked. sucked. sucked. I will NOT even bother to TRY to read any more… the first book put me off and that’s it for me. Blech.

    Anne

  5. Dance Chica says:

    I enjoyed Dark Lover quite a bit. It took some time for the story to get off the ground, but once it did, I enjoyed the dark, contemporary world; I liked the hip-hop loving, Brothers. I read the second one, Lover Eternal, and couldn’t wait for more. But by the third, Lover Awakened, I kind of fell out of love with the series. I didn’t really like the direction the series was going in, and all the lessers began to feel like cannon fodder–just an “evil” for the Brothers to fight aganist. As it is, I probably won’t be reading anymore. If I do, it’ll be for V’s book. I can understand both, why the series is popular and why someone wouldn’t like it. It’s definitely not for everybody, but I did enjoy the first two.

  6. Avid Reader says:

    CindyS: What would your vote for the most over-hyped book be? I really liked Butch. I’d read his story 😉

    Xina: The leather clad vampire sex gods – I guess that’s HOT.

    Ann: Your not alone. I’m sure we’re not the only two readers out there that didn’t like this book. Are we? {{echo}}

    Dance Chica: I really didn’t feel the lessers were any kind of enemy that was interesting nor complex as far as character development. Motive was simply a feud to give the Brotherhood something to fight when the mood’s right. For all eternity. To me this story was set up for readers to see these guys be bad ass vampire warriors who have hot sex on a regular basis while fighting evil. ::eye roll:: Just wasn’t for me.

  7. Nicole says:

    Well, I haven’t actually yet read the book yet. I can’t quite bring myself to. Yet I can’t give it away. Hrm…

  8. Kat says:

    I find the lessers the weakest parts of her world building, too. I must admit, I wasn’t a big fan of Dark Lover but Rhage’s book sucked me back into the series. I also have to admit to not liking the third book as much as everyone seems to (although I did think it contained some of her best writing in the series thus far) but I’m totally addicted to the BDB.

  9. Avid Reader says:

    I find the lessers the weakest parts of her world building, too. I must admit, I wasn’t a big fan of Dark Lover but Rhage’s book sucked me back into the series

    Hmmm, I’m kinda scared to try the next one but since I own all three….I might as well try.

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