I waited ages for this book to come out and then another age to actually read it! It’s the 10th book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood (BDB) series by J R Ward. At the time I also believed it to be the last one, but then I found out at the end and also on line that there’ll shall be another one! I’ll admit though that the size of the novel and the 572 pages did seem a bit daunting at first. However, I then became lost in Ward’s Caldwell, NY with her vampire warriors and I forgot all about it.
The first book in the series is Dark Lover and this sets out the main plot in all the other books. There is a vampire member (or soon to be) of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Which is an elite band of warriors who serve the vampire king and fight to defend vampire civilians against their enemies the Lessers. The vampire meets his true love and that’s either another vampire, or a half vampire or a human. They’ll try to get together but things/others get in the way or/and they start believing that the other one doesn’t actual want them. Often there’s some kind of falling out and then a resolving at the end where they do get together. There are also a number of subplots such as the war with the Lessers, the war with another band of warriors, random events that happen to members of the BDB. So it falls very nicely into the supernatural romance genre.
All the books have a third person narrative and can be split into two different points of view (POV); that of the BDB members and that of the Lessers/rouge vampires. The main narrative comes from the points of view of the hero and heroine. The sub narratives switch often. The first sub followers individual members of the BDB and creates something of a snap shot of what’s happening in their lives as a back drop to the main plot. The second sub is individual members of their enemies and gives a good look into plans/happenings within this area. In writing from so many characters’ view points readers will worry that they’ll become lost and forget who’s who, but Ward has actually pulled it off very nicely. She’s done this in a number of ways; firstly by giving each vampire his own book. Which means that we get the full story of each vampire in depth without having to get him mixed up with anyone else. Though the vampires basically go through the same romantic events, Ward has made them so different from each other that they all stand out. After I read the first three I was able to recognise each vampire by only a few words.
Secondly, Ward uses the second sub narrtive of the enemies to balance the novel out. Yes, it can get a bit triedsome having to read what a lesser character is secretly ploting when all you want to do is see if the lovers are going to make up. However, its nice to be taken out of that story sometimes and allowed to see what else is happening in the world. Thirdly, somehow the subplots and different POV don’t distract from the actual action. The narrative is written in such a style that the main plot doesn’t become drowned out by subplots and readers aren’t easily lost amongst plots and characters.
With this being the tenth book I’m finding it hard to talk about it individually, but I’ll properly go into more depth about it later. It’s easy to talk about the books as a whole series because they have so much in common and follow a linear larger plot. I really love this series and yes it does have something to with the whole vampire thing and the fact that it’s horror/supernatural/romance genre. But it’s also because of how Ward writes. Her use of narrative language, description and dialogue appeals to me greatly. But before I launch into that, let’s look at Ward’s vampires!
These vampires stand out because they are not your stereotypical vamps, though they do have some connects to typical vamps. Firstly, these vamps like to live in family groups and they can have children, though at a massive threat to the lives of the females and the young. Secondly, they can’t go out in the sunlight and I can’t actually remember if the reasoning behind this is stated (I read the first book three years ago and have read so much since then!) They are fine with religious symbols, garlic and stakes. They don’t sleep in coffins and they can’t turn into animals. They can only feed on a vampire who’s the opposite sex to them. The blood gives them nutrition, strength and allow them to heal faster. They can also eat and drink real food though. They have supernatural healing abilities which means that they can come back from near death injuries. They can also create a mist in which to hide from enemies, hide their homes or hide fighting scenes from the public. They also embrace technology; they have phones and computers, defensive tech, TVs, music, a range of cars and the latest med tech. They have a large range of weapon choice, but they all use guns and daggers. They also have their own language with the common words often appearing in the novels. Ward has a glossary at the back/front of the books which appears to get longer every time! But also you get use to these words and have to look up the translations less. They mate for life and have marriages, though a female can sometimes take on two males if she wants, but males get very over-protective of their females! They also have a Goddess who they pray too. The BDB vamps are warriors and take the description as such. They are often described as being very tall, muscular guys, seeming to fit the Greek warrior image more than that of stereotypical vamps. The other vampires do take on a more typical vamp image though.
The characters in the novels are all well written. My favourite happens to be Rhage the star of the second book which I read first and so got me into the BDB. Ward brings each character to life through their background stories- which can often be very sad-their descriptions and dialogue. All the main characters have a lot of depth to them and the reader gets to see them develop throughout their individual books. Afterwards or before their books they take something of a background check and though some things are touched upon the main develop is left in their own stories. This works well because you get interested in each character, you want to find out more about them and how their current behaviour has come about. Plus they don’t just disappear once their stories have been told.
I really like the heroines. All the women in these novels are strong, independent and capable of controlling their males. They have interesting back stories too and seem very realistic. Ward has also made such that they are matched up to their perfect lovers. And this comes across well as the characters easily compliment and complete each other. The development of the heroines mostly centres on their discovering and coming to understand love. Whilst the males often have to overcome their past or issues they currently have.
The other characters in the novels and yeah there’s a lot of them all feel realistic and well developed even if they are only background characters like the servants. This just brings the story more to life though and gives it added depth. It does work having characters like this because the reader is aware of them all the time without really knowing it. Plus also we don’t have to question what a character is doing there because we understand it from the narrative.
Ward uses a language relating to the New York setting of the novels. At times this slips into something of gangster style. Which I’ve to admit I’m not so keen on as I don’t think it adds anything to the novels. Swear words are common place and the vocabulary is adult, though it is a simple language that she uses throughout. The pace and flow of the language is great and it allows fast reading whilst soaking everything up. There’s no sudden jumping to different scenes as everything just flows nicely on. The dialogue she gives her characters is also very good. It feels real and you can image the characters actually saying those words. Ward gets a lot of emotions across in her dialogue, whilst still staying to the point. Some of the characters have accents, which does work fine because it’s only a handful of them and not everyone single one!
So finally, Lover Reborn is the story of Tohrment and No’One. Tohr’s character has long been established and readers have followed his recent tragic events. Now though he’s about to find love again with the most unlikeliest vampire! However, it does turn out that they are well suited for each other and they are able to rediscover love once more. Once they’ve gone through all the trials though! The subplot to this is one that started in the previous book that of the other band of warrior vampires. These guys are old fashioned, shunning technology and preferring to have very basic lives. They want to take over the BDB and plan to use the recent Lesser attacks to swing the civilian vampires into choosing them. The other subplot is that of an angel- Lassiter- trying to get back into Heaven by getting Tohr and No’One together. This novel’s main theme is all about letting go of the dead and learning to live and love again. I’m pleased to say like the other books it does have a happy ending!
Overall, I love this series and I’m so happy that there’s another book coming out! The novels are so well written, the characters good and entertaining, the plots work well and also sometimes they can keep you wondering about how it’s going to work out happy in the end, which is what I like. They work well as modern vampires too and Ward has made them unique enough. The language and dialogue is great and flows nicely. Ward has written some other singular books and also another series which is about angels. I’ve those books, but haven’t read them yet.
Next time I’m going to look at another series; The Lords Of The Underworld by Gena Showalter.