Retro Re-Read – Black Dagger Brotherhood 1-3 by JR Ward

Posted July 16, 2015 by smutmatters in Paranormal, Retro Re-Read, Reviews / 1 Comment

Retro Re-Read – Black Dagger Brotherhood 1-3 by JR WardDark Lover Published by Penguin Group (USA) on September 6th 2005
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 393
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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four-stars
three-half-flames

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.Also see: Alternate Cover Editions for this ISBN [ACE]
ACE #1
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Retro Re-Read is a new feature. It’s not going to be regularly scheduled for now; I’ll just post them when I can. The only rules are that the book has to be at least five years old, and it has to be a re-read, obviously, not an older title I’m reading for the first time.

I thought these books were perfect for the first retro re-read post. I recently read and reviewed the latest book in the series, The Shadows, which caused a lot of controversy among fans. While I didn’t have as big a problem with some aspects of that book as a lot of people did, reading these books and writing about them made me remember how much I loved this series in the beginning, especially, the first 3. Yes, there were problems. I’m certainly not discounting those. But I really wanted to go back and re-read those first few, especially now that I have thirteen books worth of knowledge to take into account.

Finishing these books, I realize that they’re like a big bowl of chicken soup when you’re sick.I really loved these books when I first read them, and they still comfort me. I’ve also found that re-reading a loved book can help when I’m stuck in a reading rut, and these and the Harry Potter books are the ones I go to the most. Yes, the pseudo-slang and way the Brothers talk is ridiculous. None of that has changed. I thought that when I first read these, and I still think it. But it’s just so much fun. Ten years ago, this was the first vampire book I had read in ages and it’s the only vampire series I’m still reading. I’m not going to go back and re-read the entire series again, but I’ll probably pick a few other randoms and read them.

Lover Awakened (Zsadist and Bella) is still my favorite book. (I love a tortured hero) Weirdly, even though, of the three, Lover Eternal (Rhage and Mary) was my least favorite, they’re still one of my favorite overall couples. JR Ward revealed the cover of The Beast today, and it’s gorgeous. I’m happy Rhage and Mary are getting another book. The King is my favorite of the last few books, and I think revisiting some of the original couples is a lot of fun. As long as they still end up together by the end, I certainly don’t mind checking in with them. The glimpses we get through the other books aren’t enough, especially with the women. They rarely show up once their stories are completed, except for Doc Jane. After The Shadow, it’s clear that something’s going on with Rhage, and I’m relieved that we’ll be able to find out so soon instead of waiting through several more books.

One thing that struck me with these books was how much time we spent with the lessers. I didn’t completely skip those parts, but I did skim most of them. There wasn’t really any vital information I was going to miss by not reading them. These days we don’t spend a lot of time with the lessers because Caldwell has just gotten so much more crowded. I really miss how contained it used to be. I realize that in order to keep the series going, Ward needed to introduce other characters, but I just feel like it’s so spread out these days that the main stories don’t get as much attention as they used to.

I also thought the women in these first few, while not without their own issues, were a lot better heroines than the later heroines. They were a little more fleshed out than the last few have been. Part of that is due to the main story lines getting more book real estate in the beginning, I think. The books were only split between chapters for the main storyline and chapters with the lessers. Now there’s the main story, the lessers, XCor, the Band of Bastards, Assail, the Shadows, etc. There are flashbacks, flash forwards, maybe some flash sideways. There’s just so much else going on. The main story is the Brothers and their ongoing war, so the heroines, even though they’re part of the main story, are the smaller part of that story, so they’re not getting as well developed as they used to.

Overall, these books were a fun beginning to a still-beloved series. Even though I realize there are issues with it, I don’t care. I can see the issues and still want to keep going. These books are my crack. Some people have Kristin Ashley crack; I tried and didn’t enjoy it. I have JR Ward crack.

About J. R. Ward

J.R. Ward is a #1 New York Times and USAToday Best Selling author of erotic paranormal romance. She lives in the south with her incredibly supportive husband and her beloved golden retriever. After graduating from law school, she began working in healthcare in Boston and spent many years as Chief of Staff of one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation. Writing has always been her passion and her idea of heaven is a whole day of nothing but her computer, her dog and her coffee pot.

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