Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Dark Lover, by J.R. Ward

Rating: 4/5
393 pages
Publisher: Signet
Source: library ebook

Description: 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.
(from Goodreads)

Review: This is not a good book. It is, however, an entertaining book.

First the problems, the bad guys, known as lessers, are easily identifiable because they smell like baby powder. I'm not sure what made the author pick that particular scent, but it makes it hard to take them seriously. The lessers also refer to each other as Mr., followed by the first initial of their last name. (Mr. X, Mr. O, Mr. R) I guess they never plan to gather in groups larger than twenty six.

Then there's the author's attempts to be... trendy, I guess is the best term. This leads to some rather forced name dropping of rap artists (apparently all several hundred year old male vampires really like rap music), forced use of odd slang (they all wear "shitkickers", which is I guess is some sort of boot, but could easily be some other form of footwear), and some odd product placements. (The most awkward of which is "He watched for a moment as her glossy blood seeped from her neck. In the darkness it looked like Quaker State motor oil.")

And let's not forget the character names of the Black Dagger Brotherhood: Wrath, Rhage, Zsadist, Vishous, Phury, and Tohrment.

Finally, there's the author's decision to make Wrath not quite blind, but pretty close to it. This could have made for an interesting aspect to the character, except it never had any payoff. We keep getting various mentions of it, but it never seems to effect his ability to fight. Shortly after we first meet him, he takes down a lesser in a dark alley, at night, with a shuriken. This seems unlikely if his eye sight was as bad as the reader is lead to believe.

Despite all this, I found myself enjoying the story and rooting for Beth and Wrath. While they fell in love too fast for real believability, I did like their scenes together. I did appreciate that Beth was written as able to take care of herself and not always needing someone to come to her rescue* and as being willing to stand up to Wrath when he tries to order her around.

I may go on to read some of the later books to see what happens with some of the other brothers, but I probably wouldn't buy them.

*This is first demonstrated with an attempted rape scene. While this actually has some bearing on the rest of the story, you can just skip the end of chapter one, after she starts being harassed on the street, without missing anything.

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