The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by J.R. Ward
This was a ground-breaking series for me. It opened my eyes to a new world of possibilities in paranormal romance. When I refer it to friends, I call it the “Twilight for big girls and boys”. The action in these books is fantastic, and the sex isn’t too bad either! Seriously, hot warrior vampires and beautiful women (inside and out); how could it not be erotic and steamy?
Set in Caldwell, New York, six warriors defend the entire vampire race from the slayers. It is a turf war between the Black Dagger Brotherhood and the Lessening Society.
The Black Dagger Brotherhood (BDB) are the strongest, fastest and fieriest of the race. They have been bred with the strongest females, so they have become a subspecies among their kind. They are the protectors. Their current roster consists of: (Darius), Wrath, Thorment, Vishous, Rhage, Phury and Zsadist. Their “deity” is the Scribe Virgin, who is the Supreme Being who created their race and guides them to the after life (the Fade).
Lessers make up The Lessening Society, which are humans who have given up their soul to The Omega (the supreme evil counter part). After being a lesser for a while they begin to loose the pigment in their skin, hair and eyes; giving them a ghoulish appearance. So the BDB know they are coming, they smell like baby powder. (Not sure how I feel about a bad guy who reeks of baby powder, makes me look at babies funny now and again if I catch a whiff of powder on them.) Lessers do not eat, drink or have any “human” urges any longer (yes, an army of eunuchs essentially).
In Ms. Ward’s world (the Warden, as her fans refer to her) Vampires can feed from humans, but it does not sustain them for long. To survive and thrive they must feed from the opposite sex of their species, which can be from very erotic to just a form of nourishment. Some are enslaved and used for their blood and body. The Warden does not create a perfect world; it is real and gritty. She even has a glossary of terms to begin each book, to help her readers understand the BDB world, their language and heritage.
To get to his happily ever after (HEA), each brother has “issues” he has to overcome. During the first six books of the series, you meet all six brothers and see how their lives intertwine. Many hints are placed for the future along the way, even something small will make a reader go back and reread a previous book passage just to prove that “oh yea, I thought I had read about this back then.” Even minor characters from previous books become major characters and vise versa. This shows a very ingenious writing style by Ms. Ward. At times, I had to wonder how the Warden ever kept up with everyone’s plots and subplots; but she did a superb job.
Book 1 “Dark Lover” Released: September 2005
“Dark Lover” opens with the series with Darius asking Wrath to help his daughter, Beth Randall, through her transition. (Transition happens around the 25th year when a vampire or in Beth’s case half human/half vampire, changes into a full adult vampire. From then forward, they are stronger, more resilient, need to drink blood and cannot go into the sunlight.)
Wrath is the last purebred vampire on earth; he does not have a drop of human blood in him. He is Beth’s best chance to survive her transition. He was not expecting to be attracted to her and bond with her.
Raised as an orphan, Beth never knew her father watched over her and kept his distance for her safety. When she discovers her father’s world, it is a shock and she is beyond frightened.
Seeing Beth and Wrath open up to each other and fall in love was so moving. The badass vampire king was insecure and thought no one would find him worthy enough to love, so he had shut himself down and was cold…until Beth warmed him.
As I have gotten to know each of the brothers in this first installment, I found myself wanting to know more and see where their journey was going. I was hooked! The BDB reeled me in hook, line and sinker. “True.”