November 18, 2013

Dark Lover, Lover Eternal + Lover Awakened - J.R. Ward (Mini-Reviews)

Black Dagger Brotherhood Party

The Black Dagger Brotherhood Party is an awesome week-long celebration that RachelKelly & I are hosting. We love the series, we love these vampires, and we wanted to share that love with all of you. Expect fun posts from each of us, and some posts that we've all collaborated on, as well as mini-reviews from me and Rachel, who are first-time BDB readers! You can also chat with us about the books, the characters and anything BDB-related on Twitter, by using the hashtag #BDBparty.

Just in time for the Black Dagger Brotherhood Party, I'm bringing you my reviews of the books in the series. Unlike my traditional reviews, these are a little bit shorter than usual. The books will be reviewed in groups of three and I will endeavor to stay as spoiler-free as I can possibly manage. I will also be reviewing the trio of books in an overall capacity.

General Thoughts

This first trio - Dark Lover, Lover Eternal & Lover Awakened - is admittedly my favorite of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. It serves as a solid introduction into these vampires, their world and rules, and also their story -- and I think J.R. Ward really hit the nail on the head! Each story featured - Wrath's, Rhage's & Z's - was compelling and drew me ever deeper into the Brotherhood until I was invested in the series. It was certainly a solid start to an awesome adult paranormal romance series, and would come highly recommended from me!

Dark Lover - J.R. Ward
Dark Lover by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #1
Publisher: Signet Publishing
Publication Date: September 6, 2005
Source/Format: Borrowed from Melissa || Paperback

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)

I adored Dark Lover so, so much. It serves as the introduction to the incredible world and story that JR Ward concocted, complete with this amazing brotherhood of vampires and their freaky, creepy enemies, the lessers and their leader, the Omega. Plus, Beth was good heroine. She starts off as someone average and transforms into someone quite admirable, as she's faced with a bunch of impossible revelations!

But the real reason that I loved this book? It's Wrath, of course. He's my favorite member of the Brotherhood, because he's strong, loyal and trustworthy. He experiences some inner conflict as he wrestles with the prospect of accepting the leadership position, weighing it out against fighting alongside the brothers he loves. Add to that his slight vision problem, and this unexpected development in the form of Beth (who happens to be the daughter of one of his fallen comrades), and he certainly has a lot on his plate. Thankfully, in spite of all the craziness that ensues, he comes to terms with his destiny... and claims his mate.

All in all, I'd mark this book off as a successful start to the series. It drew me in completely, and also convinced me that I needed to give these vampires, at least, another chance!

Lover Eternal - J.R. Ward
Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #2
Publisher: Signet Publishing
Publication Date: March 7, 2006
Source/Format: Borrowed from Melissa || Paperback

Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetites. He's the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover-for inside him burns a ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin. Owned by this dark side, Rhage fears the time when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him.

Mary Luce, a survivor of many hardships is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world and reliant on Rhage's protection. With a life-threatening curse of her own, Mary is not looking for love. She lost her faith in miracles years ago. But when Rhage's intense animal attraction turns into something more emotional, he knows that he must make Mary his alone. And while their enemies close in, Mary fights desperately to gain life eternal with the one she loves... (from Goodreads)

My sister loves Lover Eternal, and going into it, my expectations were pretty high. Thankfully, I can report that they were met! Ward gives readers more information on this world she's created, good things (like the Brotherhood) and points of conflict (those freaking lessers) alike - and she does it well. As this is one of the earlier books in the series, I was very interested in learning more about the lessers, despite my hatred of them, and how their schemes would affect the Brotherhood. There's also Mary, our heroine, who isn't exactly my favorite female. She seems like a sweet kid, but her story just made me sad. The one thing I love most about her was that she cared so, so much about Rhage.

Ah, Rhage. Hollywood, as they call him in the Brotherhood. He's actually the main reason I liked this one!  His story is like a very twisted take on Beauty and the Beast, but it still felt very original too. Rhage has a number of issues to deal with, but the primary one has to do with the monster that's unleashed when he loses control. He's a character that's both strong and vulnerable - strong, because he's had to learn self-control and discipline; vulnerable, because he's afraid of revealing that dark side and scaring everyone away. Witnessing him learn to accept himself, with Mary's support, was quite the journey, and definitely added an authentic emotional aspect to the story.

Lover Awakened - J.R. Ward
Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #3
Publisher: Signet Publishing
Publication Date: September 5, 2006
Source/Format: Borrowed from Melissa || Paperback

A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion, and terror is his only passion—until he rescues a beautiful aristocrat from the evil Lessening Society.

Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for one another begins to overtake them both, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now, Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past, and find a future with her… (from Goodreads)

Of the first three books in this series, Lover Awakened is the most intense. Apart from the ongoing conflict between the brothers and the lessers, the two main characters have turmoil of their own. This was also the most exciting read, and I definitely held my breath a lot in anticipation of what would happen on the next page.

Bella is definitely a contender for my favorite female of this series! She's strong-willed yet sensitive, and manages to kick ass as a vampire. Her fierce determination to understand Z and woo him in her own way was lovely, and I loved that she refused to give up on him. 

Z, however, is the main reason I liked this one (which should come as no surprise, seeing as it's the trend in this set of mini-reviews). Z is so damaged, and scarred, and it's understandable when his history is revealed to the reader. He likes pain, and refuses to be put in a position where he's vulnerable or has to connect with anyone other than his twin Phury. Watching him wage a war against his demons, and the sad, tragic past that's left its mark was heartbreaking and hard -- but it was so worth it. Plenty of my friends, and even I, love Z -- and you'll see it's for good reason after reading this book in the series.


Stay tuned for more Black Dagger Brotherhood Party posts this week! In the meantime, check out the ones that are already online:


  1. Love your reviews, A!! YAY Z!! I'm so glad each of us have a different Brother to claim MINE over! :)

  2. I SO need to read this series. I actually have the first two books, but I've never had a chance to get around to them. I'm looking forward to meeting Rhage, Wrath and Z now. ;) I'm glad you enjoyed these overall!


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