Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood #1) by J.R. Ward

I had pretty much burned out on adult vampire stuff after the Anita Blake series went too far.  I mean, those books just got gross after the 8th installment.  Or maybe it was the 9th?  Whichever one had the victims that had been skinned and were being kept alive in quarantine in a hospital.  That was just too freaking much, and so until about two weeks ago I hadn’t read an adulty vampire novel in years.

Enter the Black Dagger Brotherhood.  Why didn’t I read this series sooner?!  I never knew how empty my life was until I met the Brothers.  I’m exaggerating, I know, but seriously.  These are vampires like no others, in the best way possible.  They don’t feed on (typically) or kill humans, but on members of the opposite sex (and it’s totally hot).  There are good guys and bad guys, and no one is on the fence.  It’s wonderful for a battle between good and evil to be so straightforward.  The Scribe Virgin (think Virgin Mary) and her vampire warriors (the Black Dagger Brotherhood, the sole purpose of which is to defend the vampire race against the nasty lessers) versus The Omega (think Satan) and the lessers (AKA the Lessening Society, the sole purpose of which is to exterminate the vampire race).  The end.  Beautifully simple.  But never boring.

Anyway, in this first installment of the series we have the story of Wrath (the reluctant king of the vampires) and Beth (the daughter of one of the Brothers).  Of course, Beth has no idea she’s actually a vampire.  So we get the usual awakening type romance story, but it’s way hotter thanks to Beth needing a male to help her through her transition into a sexy vampire lady.  Oh, and Wrath is blind but is still a totally badass warrior protector of his race.  So awesome.  But there’s more than just the romance in Dark Lover.  The war between the vampires and the lessers is prominent and compelling.  I think that had the sole purpose of the story been the romance between Wrath and Bella the book would have been boring and too predictable.  But the backdrop of a war makes everything more interesting (as it often does in books).  And all of the surrounding characters (the other Brothers and even the servant, Fritz) are pretty amazing, adding a depth to the story and to the relationship between Wrath and Bella.

What I love most about the Black Dagger Brotherhood series is that there is a biological explanation for what would otherwise be weird and completely unbelievable insta-love. That biology also makes the sexy scenes exponentially more sexy.  The vampires in this series are unlike any other vampires I’ve ever read about.  They’re not creepy, beautiful, sparkly, or strangely obsessive.  They’re strong, attractive in many ways (not just physically), and fiercely loyal and loving.  What’s not to adore?  As of today, I’m about halfway through book 5 (I read the first 4 in 9 days).  I have all 7 remaining books on my coffee table awaiting my attention.  And there’s another installment due out next year.  Be still my swoony heart.  Now go read it.  Now.


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