by J. R. Ward

September 2005
ISBN: 0-451-21695-4
Reviewer Graphic Button Signet Books
Mass Market Paperback

What a thrill! Whereas Iíve been bored with most of the recent vampire romances, I was pleasantly surprised with the first book in J. R. Wardís ďThe Black Dagger BrotherhoodĒ series. The Black Dagger Brotherhood are vampire warriors trained to protect the vampire species against the Lessening Society. In J. R. Wardís world, vampires are a separate species from that of humans. And the Lessening Society is an order of vampire slayers, recruited from humans.

The hero in Dark Lover, Wrath, is the leader of the Brotherhood and the last purebred vampire. Thus his blood is strong, strong enough to help the half-human daughter of a friend. Wrath hates humans and wants nothing to do with them, but when his closest friend is murdered he sees it as his duty to help Beth Randall through her transition. Beth doesnít know of her heritage and is scared of the changes in her body and of the dangerous and sexy man who visits her at night.

There is plenty of sex and violence in this book, but there also tender moments and love. Itís a good balance. Iíve had some problems with the charactersí names Ė they felt too gimmicky Ė but the men are just so potent that Iím willing to get used to names such as Wrath, Rhage, Vishous, Phury and Zsadist. J. R. Ward aka Jessica Hall has finally found the right story lines for her alpha heroes. They are allowed to be bigger, better and more dangerous than other men. They are tortured, but they donít whine!

J. R. Wardís world is a very complex one (the glossary with it is a welcome addition) and as Dark Lover is the first in a series it sometimes feels a little crowded as too many characters are introduced at once. However, to enjoy the hopefully soon to follow titles in this engaging series, one needs to read Dark Lover to understand not only the storyline, but also its characters and the world they live in. Itís a wild ride, fast paced and with an imagination that keeps you enthralled. Donít miss it!

Reviewed in October 2005 by Kris Alice.

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