Author: J. R. Ward
Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books):
“In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing more than Wrath, the leader of The Black Dagger Brotherhood.
The only purebred vampire left on earth, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But, when one of his most trusted fighters is killed-leaving his half-breed daughter unaware of his existence or her fate-Wrath must usher her into the world of the undead-a world of sensuality beyond her wildest dreams.”
Thoughts: Sometimes, you just need to read something so outside your normal comfort zone and/or something that forces you to just sit back and enjoy the story. There is no lesson to learn, no study of human nature to observe, no reflection on relationships to ponder. Everyone needs to read a novel like this occasionally. For me, J. R. Ward’s Dark Lover was just such a story. Sexy and violent, it was a refreshing change for the more serious fare I’ve been reading for many months.
Dark Lover is not your every-day vampire story, and these are not your every-day vampires. With kings, civilian vampires, lessers and the Brotherhood, Ward has created an entirely new species, one that contains an entire society, complete with histories and politics and procreation. Monogamous and/or married vampires are an added twist that prevents the story from becoming too predictable or fluffy. I had actually tried to listen to this novel via audiobook several months ago, but the narrator just did not work. He made everything too serious and dramatic, much like the voice-over guy for movie trailers. After 30 minutes, it became almost farcical. I’m glad I stopped when I did because I’m not certain I could have made it through the bedroom scenes without laughing hysterically. It would have definitely destroyed the mood.
Dark Lover is the perfect summer romp, engaging and not too mentally strenuous. There is no hidden agenda other than to enjoy the characters brought to life by Ward’s capable pen. While it is not a series I will run right out and obtain immediately, it filled a void for something fun I did not know I had, and I will be sure to pick up the second novel in the series whenever I need something similar.