Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

One of my new favorite vampire books has to be Dark Lover by J.R. Ward. Basically it is a vampire romance novel that has some adult scenes (but they are easily skipped if that makes you squeamish). Normally I don't read romance novels but this book was suggested to me (and they left that little detail out of the description).

Anyway, this is the first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. While all of the Black Dagger Brotherhood novels, of which there are nine out so far, are good, this has to be my favorite because as the first in the series, it sets up the world perfectly and has one of the best story lines of all the novels so far.

Dark Lover introduces the Black Dagger Brotherhood, which is a group of six vampire warriors who are fighting to protect the entire vampire race from their mortal enemies, the Lessers.

Each volume of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series focuses on one vampire and the subsequent romance and perils that befall that specific character. The focus of Dark Lover is the vampire Wrath, he is the prince of vampires who refuses to ascend to his throne because once he does, he is not allowed to fight the Lessers.

Wrath falls in love with Beth, the daughter of one of his closest friends and fellow member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Darius. Beth is a half breed vampire who hadn’t transitioned into a vampire yet, Wrath sees it as his duty to help Beth through her transition because it is a very dangerous and potentially deadly process and she doesn’t have anyone to help her since Darius was murdered by a car bomb placed by the Lessers.

Wrath successfully helps Beth transition but tensions rise between them because the only way to keep Beth safe is to keep her locked up in the secure compound that all the members of the brotherhood live in. Beth doesn’t like being cooped up for so long and has a few fights with Wrath and eventually becomes convinced that the other hates her.

In reality, however, it is quite the opposite, Wrath has fallen deeply for Beth but he is very conflicted about it seeing as he knew her father like a brother, he is quite a bit older than her and he is also concerned that she wouldn’t fully want him as a husband or partner because he is nearly blind and any sort of physical impairment like that isn’t a good thing for a vampire warrior to have.

While the Black Dagger Brotherhood series is a bit cheesy (it is a romance novel after all), Dark Lover tends to follow the standard formula of most romance novels: tall, dark and handsome vampire meets a woman who the reader can easily relate to and they initially don’t quite like each other but by the end of the novel they have become a happy loving couple. Black Dagger Brotherhood switches it up a bit though by placing as much emphasis on romance as it does on the storyline of battling the Lessers and the life and death struggle between the two species.

This series has to be my favorite vampire romance novel series because the vampires are actual vampires like the original vampire of Dracula - meaning they can be killed by sunlight, not at all like the wimpy vampires as described in the Twilight books.

Dark Lover does an excellent job bringing the reader into the vast world layered over New York City and introducing them to Wrath, the blind king vampire and the other members of the Black Dagger Brotherhood who will take on the role of main characters in the upcoming novels.

I highly recommend this vampire book, Dark Lover, and the entire series to all my friends who love romance novels. For one reason because the romance novel label shouldn't scare them away but also because it is a novel with drama, action, twists and turns - and romance too! But the best part is that the romance isn't really thick or heavy like in most romance novels.

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