Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward

Dark LoverThe King

This is another of my favorite authors and series.  I discovered JR Ward in an online article and decided to check out her series: The Black Dagger Brotherhood.  I was a new reader at this time, so I had not been introduced to many genres or styles of writing.  The only series I had read were Eragon, Twilight, and Southern Vampire Series (True Blood books) in that order.  So I was gradually introduced to the romance world.  Well, let me tell you, with this series there was nothing gradual about it! To read the cover of the first book, Dark Lover, click here.  To read the cover of the latest book, The King, click here.  To visit JR Ward’s website, click here.

From the very beginning the Warden (she has come to be called by her paranormal readers) captures your attention with the fierce vampire warriors as they go through everyday life against the war with the evil Lessers.  She has created a unique vampire world that is set in modern times in a make believe city in New York called Caldwell.  In this city, a war that has been fought for thousands of years in the old country has followed the vampires to the new world.  The vampires are still a secret to society and are not equipped with super strength or lightning speed as some writers portray.  They are born weak, if not weaker than humans and undergo the change into a vampire around their 25th birthday.  Before then, they eat and function as humans in the daylight.  If they survive the change, they must stay in the darkness, undergo physical growth and beauty, are able to dematerialize in a calm state, and must drink blood in addition to food.  They do not require human blood (equivalent to tofu: no lasting nutrition and not as filling, not to mention not as flavorful) but vampire blood from the opposite gender.  From the vampire race, there are those family lines that have the ideal genetics to be a warrior for their race: fast healing, keener senses, bigger frame, and loyalty.  If you have the right status as well as the DNA, you can be a candidate for the Brotherhood, which are the elite warriors that usually get most of the glory and respect.

What is a Lesser?  To explain that, is to explain the religion of the race.  There is the good force: the Scribe Virgin who is the mother and creator of the race; and there is the bad force: the Omega who is the pure evil and hates the entire vampire race.  The kicker is that the two are siblings with their father as the ultimate creator of everything.  The Scribe Virgin created the race and helps to nurture it through an ultimate balancing game of give and take.  She has her own little nunnery going on in the Other Side that is called the Chosen.  The Chosen stay secluded from the rest of the world on there own plane and devote themselves to the race and the Scribe Virgin.  They are only allowed to mate and interact with one male, the Primal.  The Primal is usually a selected Brother that lives on that plane and fathers potential future Brothers (males) and Chosen (females).  Chosen females do have the option of leaving their bubble life to enter the real world and never come back; they are referred to as Fallen Chosen.  Either way, in order to be a Brother, you have to have a Chosen or a Fallen Chosen for a mother with a respectable blooded father.

The Omega envies his sister’s creation ability, since he was not given it.  So he figures out a way to make his own army of minions through altering existing life, and ultimately taking it away.  He does this by taking human males (males ONLY) and draining them of their blood and removing their heart and placing it in a jar.  He then cuts his own wrist and drops his own black blood into them and recreates them into an undead thing that never eats, requires little sleep, has greater strength, and eventually looses all color pigments. Voilà! A Lesser. Doesn’t sound too bad right?  Well there is also the little fact that they will now spend all eternity impotent and smelling like baby powder.  They can be hurt like mortals, but they can heal minor injuries with a little time and sleep.  For the major hits, they might be completely incapacitated for the rest of their immortal lives.  You can give them the final shut-eye by stabbing them in the chest with steel and flashing them back to their maker, which is where the real eternal hell begins for them.

The Black Dagger Brotherhood is led by their king who is the most pure blooded vampire in their race: Wrath, Son of Wrath.  Wrath was reluctant to lead his people at first from lack of self-confidence based on unfortunate events from his past that he could not control.  That changed when the Scribe Virgin informed him that in order to have a mating ceremony with his newly discovered and beloved mate Beth, he would have to take on his rightful role as King and lead them into a better future.  Being a fully bonded male of honor, that was all it took to accept his title as the Blind King.  Blind?  Due to his pure blooded status, a minor genetic hiccup rendered him with a visual impairment that has progressively gotten worse; but don’t think that it slows him down with his fighting, judgment, or anything else…  You won’t hear Beth complaining, if you know what I mean. ;)

As for the Brothers…well, you will just have to read the series to learn about them because no single paragraph will do them justice.  Trust me when I say you will want to get every book in the series so far, including the Brotherhood Insider’s Guide, when you start to read because you do not want to put them down once you start.

Overall, this series has it all for paranormal romance readers.  The characters and the world are so well written and developed, that you are 100% convinced that you could travel to New York, find this city and smell the powdery sent of the lessers, hear Butch’s Boston accent and the clang of well-forged steel, feel the brother’s demanding presence and the thump of the bass of their music, taste the doggen’s pride in their cooking and the sweat of a hard days fighting, and hope to see a peak of the mansion surrounded by mhis.  This is one series that is a must own because to give it up, would be like giving up a piece of yourself.

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