Black Dagger Brotherhood - Dark Lover Summary and Review
Dark Lover by J. R. Ward is the first book in her epic Black Dagger Brotherhood series. It features Wrath son of Wrath, the king of vampires with the purest blood the species has. Wrath, along with the strongest warriors bred to protect the race, form the Black Dagger Brotherhood. There are 6 brothers left to fight against the Lessers, humans who have given up their soul in exchange for immortality and the strength to do what they love the most, kill vampires. After the death of Darious all that is left to aid Wrath in the eternal battle are Tohrment, the peacekeeper, Rhage, the ladies man, Vishous, the tech wiz with an S&M fetish, Phury, the celibate and Zadist, the scarred. Each book takes a closer look at each of the brothers lives and it only natural for J. R. Ward to start with Wrath, the king.
While Wrath is the king of the race he is first and foremost a fighter. A warrior. He doesn’t see how sitting behind a desk and leading his people will help them more then being in the field and literally fighting to save their lives every night. Before Darius’s death he asks Wrath for a favor, to help his only daughter, Beth, through her transition. All vampires males are born small and weak like a human and around their 25th birthday they transition into being a vampire and are required to drink the blood of a vampire of the opposite sex or they will die. Some die anyway because of the physical change the body goes through, literally gaining height and width from their former scrawny appearance. Beth is at even greater risk of not surviving her transition because she is half human. Wrath despises the human race and when he is first asked he turns Darius down flat. However, Darius is killed by the enemy that night and Wrath feels honor bound to give in to his last wish. The book continues to tell the story of Wrath and Beth, following as Wrath guides her through the transition and introduces her to the world of vampires, which she was previously completely unaware existed.
This is an erotic romance but it is also much more than that. Even without the wonderfully erotic and heat rising sex scenes this is a great story. The characters have a great range of emotion and the camaraderie between the Brothers is great to read. There is a definite flow of plot from one book to the next and the world and war with the lesser is beautifully set up in this first book. J. R. Wards version of vampires is also very unique and refreshing. They are a completely different race, not immortal (though still long living by our standards) and they only have to drink the blood of their own species to survive. They have their own God, the Scribe Virgin, creator of their race. It is an artfully woven world, taking place under human noses, letting them remain blissfully unaware.
I highly recommend this series to anyone interested in erotic vampire fiction.