Back today with some recent reads. You might vaguely remember that one of the challenges I'm doing with my book group is a year-long one to read as many of the Top 100 paranormal books that made the list for our group. The Black Dagger Brotherhood series, by JR Ward, was the #1 set of books chosen by the group. (This book group is big - like 2700 people on Goodreads, so you figure that was a lot of input to select this one series). I had flicked thru enough of the reviews, I thought I'd enjoy these and decided to give them a whirl.
In book 1, Dark Lover, we're introduced to the Black Dagger members - a small group of elite vampire warriors who are attempting to keep "the lessers", a weirdly sort of Stepford husbands-like group of vamp killers, from annihilating the vampire race. The main character in this book is the last remaining pure-blood vamp, and the half-blood he winds up falling in love with.
I will come clean and say for the first... oh.. third of this book, I thought: Really? Number 1 top reader's choice? REALLY? We'll say it's a little slow to get started, and I wasn't even sure I could get into the characters, but apparently the author found her groove midway through this book, and I was hooked. I couldn't put it down and I think I read the entire second half of it in one go. I know some of the slowness is due to the fact that the author has to introduce the characters, and in this book, the relationship between the five members of the Brotherhood is really key to understanding what makes them tick, as well as the back stories, so it was necessary to devote some time to introducing all of them and allowing the reader to fit the different personalities into the storyline, how the Brothers interact with each other, and the set of rules that govern their universe.
Having enjoyed book 1, then I snapped up book #2, which continues the ongoing vamps versus lessers story, and introduces us more in depth to one of the warrior Brothers, and a bit more to a third one (and I am anxiously awaiting putting book 3 on the Kindle to read to hear more about the third one's story)!). I don't want to give too many details away - many of them are integral to the plot, but we'll say that the main character has a really awesome/scary/wonderful dragon tattoo, and the human woman he falls in love with is actually normal. Like a normal, non-Barbie-looking person. THAT was a nice addition to the plot. In some respects, while I loved this book, I got almost too emotionally involved in it. Seriously. There were points were I was even kind of snuffly - I think I empathisized with the heroine too much. There were a lot of things she said in the book that I've said myself. Definitely a character I could relate to, and I was pulling for her 110% to come out of this book with a good outcome and a happy ending. (You know... as happy as you can get being attached to a warrior vampire whose entire race is on the list to be wiped out. Minor detail.)
I'm giving this series a hearty two-thumbs up. Entertaining, great back story line to follow, vampires with a mission, and characters I can get involved with - all good.
(PS: I initially was kind of put off by the Brotherhood's names. They seemed sort of... I dunno.. trite and odd. All of the characters have some sort of sort of gansta-ish name, but spelled oddly with the addition of an extra "h" in there. But then I realized one of my favorite heroes in my life was my best horse buddy, Bhen, so really... I had to get on board with the odd spelling, didn't I?)
All for now.....