I was searching for a new flavor of vampire and came across Dark Lover by J.R. Ward by pure accident. It had everything I was looking for and then some.
In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing more than Wrath, the leader of The Black Dagger Brotherhood.
The only purebred vampire left on earth, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But, when one of his most trusted fighters is killed-leaving his half-breed daughter unaware of his existence or her fate-Wrath must usher her into the world of the undead-a world of sensuality beyond her wildest dreams.
Welcome into the world of the Brotherhood and their enemy the lessers, a society of soulless humans whose entire existence is to hunt down and destroy the vampires. I think this new spin on vampire hunters is interesting yet a little strange, as they are relatively easy to kill although they are somewhat immortal as they don’t age. Maybe it’s the pale skin, blonde hair and blue eyes that all members eventually get that creeps me out. With the lessers growing in numbers and about to bypass the vampire race, the battle between the two is heating up. If something isn’t done to prevent the lessers from spreading, the vampire race will die. Things become chaotic when a new leader of the Lesser Society takes over and begins to track down the Brotherhood. It is disappointing that you don’t see much of anything done to fix the issue of the lessers taking over, as the majority of the story is wrapped around the king of the vampires, Wrath, and a half human half vamp, Beth. But there is a promise that something will be done in the near future.
The relationship of Wrath and Beth is your typical love/hate scenario, except Wrath isn’t your average guy character. Wrath is this frightening behemoth of a man whose mere presence scares the pants off of everyone. He doesn’t like warm fuzzy feelings and being emotionally attached to anyone ticks him off because to him, it’s a weakness. He’s spent centuries hardening, and molding himself into the best warrior he can be, and love and being devoted to someone doesn’t mix with that lifestyle. If it did, it wouldn’t matter as he doesn’t feel he deserves it nor does he understand the concept of love. Then you have Beth who is a tough cookie, yet she has a vulnerable side. From the beginning, Wrath’s plan is to pass her off to someone else in the Brotherhood, as he does not want the responsibility of a female. But she takes him off guard and throws his cold existence into a whirlwind. She shows him how wrong he’s been about himself, and shows him that love isn’t the weakness he once thought it was.
Even though the relationship between Beth and Wrath is very familiar, they are still entertaining characters. I’m more a fan of Wrath than Beth, as he has more of a presence and more time and effort is spent on his character than hers. She’s not a spot in the road by any means, but she’s not given the same detailed descriptions as her hunky costar.
Getting down to the knitty gritty, this series brings on a whole new twist on the vampire legend. I know we see/hear this all the time, but J.R. Ward really has stepped things up in the cool factor. To give you a small glimpse, check out these tidbits:
- Instead of drinking from humans to survive, they drink the blood of the opposite sex of their own kind, as human blood isn’t powerful enough to sustain them for long. This means that they cannot turn humans, as you are born a vampire but don’t transition until your mid-twenties. Plus, with their need of blood from the opposite sex, they are either bound or mated to someone for life.
- On top of the normal powers, they can dematerialize, instead of the typical flying or running at the speed of light to travel. Which I think is by far more entertaining, in my opinion.
- They have an agenda, these vampires, unlike the majority of what you find in other books. Because they are born a vampire, they aren’t blood thirsty and maniacal; they seem more human-esk and have a purpose about their existence other than drinking the blood of a human. Don’t let that fool you though, they are still scary and still kick ass. But their hearts and souls are still intact, which gives a romantic twist to what is normally a dark and twisted genre.
I love Dark Lover. I love the concept of vampires that J.R. Ward has created. I love the Brotherhood and their purpose. I love the brothers themselves; they are different than your typical vamps yet they still have the same scary factor that draws me in. You can’t pass up this series!
Lover Unleashed (2011)