Saturday, June 2, 2012

Dark Lover, J.R. Ward

Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

Quite honestly, if I had not been able to get this for the Kindle, I would never have read it, simply because the cover is so embarassingly romance-novel-like and I would never have picked it up. Dark Lover can only be described as an urban fantasy, although it is also listed as paranormal-romance. I very rarely read romance novels, as usually they don’t interest me. However, I had a friend who had read this and LOVED it, so I thought why not take a little trip to the darkside and check out a romance novel. I am very glad I did. This is NOT your Mama's Romance Novel! This is about big, bad vampires and the completely separate society that they exist to protect. I warn you now; there is a great deal of profanity and some graphic sexual content in this novel.

The story begins in a nightclub. Darius, a vampire and high-ranking member of the ‘Black Dagger Brotherhood’ asks a personal favor of Wrath, his leader and King. Darius wants his friend to help his unacknowledged half-human daughter, Beth, through the transition that all vampires go through at the age of 25. Wrath and indeed ALL of the Brothers has a bad attitude, being somewhat xenophobic, and refuses Darius’ request. Wrath is the only pure-blooded vampire left in the world, and Darius believes that if his daughter drinks Wrath’s blood during her transition, she will survive it and then he will be able to acknowledge her.

Unfortunately, Darius is killed in a car-bomb explosion as he leaves the nightclub. Wrath then makes the decision to find Darius’s daughter and honor his friend’s last request. Wrath is an interesting character. He refuses to acknowledge his birthright and rule the vampires as king for personal reasons. He is also known as ‘the Blind King’ as he is blind, but one would never know that upon meeting him. Ward describes him as having a ‘cruel mouth’, and his appearance inspires terror in all who see him. All of the Brotherhood are big, well over 6’5” and skilled in the martial arts.

Vampires were created by the ‘Scribe Virgin’, and The Brotherhood exists to fight the strange once-human cult that preys on them, ‘The Lessening Society’. Lessers are the dregs of human society, always men, who have been altered by ‘the Omega’ and are used to hunt vampires. They are somewhat dead, no longer sexually capable, and smell like baby-powder. Lessers are also formidable enemies of the vampire society, and they are responsible for the death of Darius. In Ward’s world, vampires do not drink human blood; they drink the blood of other vampires.

Their society is very rigidly constructed, and the rituals of their religion are central to it. Worship of the Scribe Virgin who takes a personal interest in their lives is the underpinning of their culture. She represents their God, and The Omega represents their Evil.

The battles that the Brotherhood fight against the Lessers are graphic and not for the weak of stomach. The equally important battles between Wrath and his Brothers as they try to convince him to rule their society as he was born to are really well done, and the characters of the Brotherhood themselves are quite clearly drawn. Each male is an individual, with demons of his own to fight.

The story of Wrath and Beth sucked me in and refused to let me go. If you are looking for a big, broad adventure with a certain amount of adult content this is the book for you!

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