Review: The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series

So much for the anti-vampire rant. After the last post I had vampires on the brain, was browsing for something new to read, laid my hand on Lover Revealed, a novel in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by author J.R. Ward and proved myself a liar.

I consider the BDB to be a guilty pleasure. I cannot tell you how many times I groaned at the stuff coming out of the character's mouths (You feel me, my brother?) or how I laughed myself silly at the characters' names when they were introduced (Wrath, Tohrment, Rhage, Vishous) ... you see the cringe-factor here??

But, I still kept reading, because the vampires were intriguing, the romance was hot and Ward's fictional world in Caldwell, NY entirely too much fun!! After LR, I immediately got the first book in the series and I havnt stopped yet. Apparently the initial idea was to have a 10 book series, book 7 will release in 2009, however the genre of the novels have changed. Book 7 has been acknowledged by the author to be urban fantasy (??) rather than paranormal romance. Here's the synopsis:

In Caldwell, NY, vampires exist along with humans who are unaware of their existence. Vampires are a species created by their goddess the Scribe Virgin (oy this obsession with virgins as deities), they are born and cannot be made from humans. The Scribe Virgin's opposite is the Omega, created to bring a balance to the world and he leads vampire slayers called the lessers, human undead who have given up their souls devoted to killing the vampires.

For survival, the vampires started selectively breeding until a sub-species of the strongest vampires was formed, called the Black Dagger Brotherhood, who have the responsibility of protecting the civilian vampires from the Lessening Society. The vampires and lessers have only one point they agree upon, their existence MUST be kept a secret from the humans around them.

Vampires cannot survive on human blood which is too weak, they need the blood of another vampire to sustain them. Here's where it gets murky for me, apparently the blood has to be from a member of the opposite sex? Something like that. The vampires, civilian or brother, in the pretrans state (until the age of 25) are lesser bait - short, scrawny, weak, asexual. When the transition hits them their bones break at the joints and elongate, they become huge, muscled, self-healing monsters capable of annihilating lesser butt. This is for the males, I have no idea with the female transitions.

The BDB currently contains 6 brothers, all of them leather wearing, substance-abusing, gangster talking, rap-listening, tattoed and scarred - emotionally and physically, highly trained, fast healing killing machines. I know, I know, but stick with me here, I promise you'll have fun. The first 6 books are their stories.

The Bad: Ward is heavily obsessed with namedropping (Grey Goose, McD's, BMWs), designer wear (Hermes, Gucci) and every single character spouts slang. I have to say the slang irritates me (shitkickers, thank fuck????) as does the author's pretension that adding an 'h' in italics creates a completely different language (sehclusion, cohntest). Ms. Ward, I love your books, I really do but the verbal distractions are killing me!!

The lessers as the source of conflict are dull dull dull. I dont think there's a way to make clumsy undead who smell of baby powder interesting and Ward doesn't try since she gives us an interchangeable cast of lessers over the course of the first 5 books. Additionally, Ward's complex characterisations end with the brothers, most of her heroines are ill-developed and unidimensional. Including the Scribe Virgin who has to be the most inconsistent, demanding, anti-feministic, unlikeable deity ever! And the world building isnt consistent, plot holes abound. I realise that the number of factors I have against these books are huge, but I AM addicted. Now that that's off my chest, let's just move on, shall we ....

Dark Lover Rating: 5 / 5
Wrath, the last of the purebred vampires, vampire king and hater of humans is approached by one of his Brothers, Darius to help his half-breed daughter Beth Randall make her transition. Darius dies soon after making the request, and Wrath after initially refusing, is forced into making contact. Beth a journalist, is good friends with most of Caldwell's PD esp. homicide detective Butch O'Neal.

When the cops start to investigate the bomb that killed her father they eye with suspicion the overloaded-with-weapons-gangster-type hanging around Beth and the plethora of murders which seem to follow him around. With the cops looking for him, a new fore-lesser recouping his forces to go on another offensive against the Brotherhood, his jilted ex-wife Marissa's brother Havers who is determined to avenge his sister and the Scribe Virgin who wishes Wrath to assume the role of the King, Wrath must find a way to protect Beth, help her be born again as a vampire, acknowledge the intense attraction that lies between them and wrap his mind around the ascension to the throne and possibly a new Queen.

Until I tried to condense the story, I didnt realise how many plot elements there actually are here. It's also the main reasons why I like these books, because Ward develops all her characters so well, the plot is involving and there's so many POVs. We're never stuck with just the romance bit of the story, which moves at a fast pace btw.

Wrath has an adequate amount of trauma for being a centuries old vampire, he has problems with trust and emotional attachment which he has to work around to finally acknowledge his love for Beth while Beth has her own dealing to do with the sudden appearance of a father she never knew existed, the knowledge that she is half vampire and the fact that she could die with her transition. The rest of the brothers, Marissa and Butch are also given some time here as setups for the rest of the books. All in all, a fast-paced enjoyable read.

Lover Eternal Rating: 3.5 / 5
Rhage, the strongest and most dangerous of all the warriors, is drop dead gorgeous but underneath the superficiality which attracts scores of women to him and has made him vampire legend, lies a lonely man looking for love and bearing a burden only the rest of the Brothers know about. For Rhage is part man and part beast. Cursed by the Scribe Virgin he is doomed to turn into a monster whenever his emotions become unstable, a beast capable of harming both friend and foe.

Mary Luce is a survivor, she tended her mother through a debilitating illness, works with autistic children and has recently been informed that the cancer she spent battling has returned. Mary's work at a suicide prevention hotline brings her in contact with an angelic young man, John Matthew, a mute, traumatised orphan who seems too fragile to be alone in the world. John Matthew visits Mary at home where he is seen by her vampire neighbor Bella who immediately realises what the young man is. When Mary's services are needed as translator for John she finds herself in the BDB's mansion and suddenly being the target of attention of the most attractive man she has ever laid eyes on, for plain and outspoken Mary is the only one able to tame Rhage's monster.

DL I inhaled in one go, LE for me was a lukewarm book which moved along a tad sluggishly. Mary and Rhage didnt feel like fully developed individuals, both being defined by their respective curses. Rhage was sweet in the beginning, roaming around with a silly grin on his face just because Mary lets him in her house and their love story has a particular poignancy with Mary having a very limited time left to her. But, ultimately all the wallowing in self-pity from both parties lost any empathy I had developed. And I hate couples who cannot communicate.

But I wasnt bored and I wasnt indignant. Alongwith the main romance, the lessers ran around being ineptly murderous and the John Matthew track was interesting, John gets adopted by the Brother Tohr and his wife Wellsie. And, the book had a fabulous buildup for the next one in the series with Bella and Zsadist - I'm SUCH a sucker for Beauty and the Beast stories.

Lover Awakened Rating 4 / 5
Zsadist, the most terrifying of the brothers has an awful reputation. He massacres lessers, kills humans for feeding and can only be with a woman if she is terrified of him. All his emotions and his feelings have been ripped out of him in the century he spent being a blood slave, from which he was ultimately rescued by his twin Phury. Phury, who lives only for Zsadist, had spent his entire life looking for his lost brother, took a vow of celibacy and shot his leg off for Z.

Bella encounters Zsadist in the Brotherhood's mansion and is instantly mesmerised. After she approaches him, Zsadist rejects her even extracting a promise that she wont approach him anymore. But, Bella is then captured by the lessers and Zsadist finds himself almost driven mad by the compulsion he has to find her and punish the lessers who dared lay their hands on her.

LA is a good story of Z's awakening to first trust then intimacy to the two people he loves but hasn't been able to express his love to - Phury and Bella. The lessers have a new strategy for finding out about the Brotherhood, they capture civilians and torture them for information. With the capture of Bella though, a lesser becomes obsessed with her and wants her for his wife. Once she is rescued the war takes a new turn as he tries every means possible to get her back.

So, LA was a great read since having the lesser with some solid motivation introduced a good source of conflict. Also, Phury, John Matthew, Rehvenge Bella's half-breed vampire and sympath brother now have their own stories building up here. While Z's story arc leading to intimacy was believable, I didnt feel the romance so much. Which is the reason for the missing point.

Lover Revealed Rating: 3 / 5
Butch O'Neal, homicide detective for Caldwell PD has been living an empty life until he hooks up with the Brotherhood. Estranged from family and friends, the hard-drinking and hard-living have taken a toll on him. As has the unrequited love he feels for a female vampire.

Marissa is everything he has ever dreamed of, she's vampire aristocracy, rich, beautiful and delicate, completely out of his league. When Butch while trying to rescue a civilian from the lessers is captured, tortured and left for dead, Marissa and his roomate Vishous are the only people who can save him. Marissa with her love and V who is the yin to his yang, the light to his dark.

I didnt enjoy LR as much as the other books, the sole problem being the lead pair. Butch is a stereotypical cop but that didnt bother me until he took up with Vanilla Marissa. Ever since her intro in Dark Lover and the whole virginal act she put up there she seemed one of the TSTL heroines. Plus, the pages with Butch and V fairly sizzle their chemistry is so hot, Marissa seems like an audience-appeasing third wheel here. Whine. But we get to know V better which ups the rating in my book.

Lover Unbound Rating: 2.5 / 5
Vishous, resident clairvoyant and computer genius, is having a meltdown after Butch hooks up with Marissa. Consumed by jealousy and abandonment and a nagging worry that his visions of the future have dried up V takes his aggressions out with a lot of hard sex and hard fighting. He gets shot and lands in Dr. Jane Whitcomb's operating theatre. V instantly feels a connection with Jane while she is fascinated by her new patient - with the 6-chambered heart, fanged mouth and healing powers beyond the ordinary.

But, V has to be able to lay his murky past with a violent, abusive father at rest as well as the demands of the Scribe Virgin that he be the Primale (wed ~40 of the SV's followers, or Chosen) before he and Jane have a shot at being together.

I have to say I didnt like this book. V was my favorite among the brothers (probably because I came in with LR) and I was so angry that he never got a chance at a HEA. He and Jane had a great story arc going, Jane is aggressive from being a trauma surgeon and capable of handling the intensity that is V and both prepared to deal with the fact that Jane would grow old and die and I thought it was realistic and very well portrayed.

Instead, as with all the other books with human love interests, Ward introduces a twist, which I hated .... I'm a traditional kind of gal, this is why I stick to the historicals!!!! I think I would have been much happier if V and Butch ended up together. Much. And I havnt even started on the doormats-as-Chosen track or the angsty, boring John Matthew and friends track.

Lover Enshrined Rating: 3 / 5
Phury who sacrificed himself in LU to become the Primale of the species has brought the Chosen Cormia over to the other side so he can get to know her better. But, with Phury's spiraling descent into addiction and the new turn that the war against the lessers takes with the birth of the vampire son of the Omega it looks as if there will never be a chance to be together. And there's also the problem of the 40 additional mates. With the Lessening Society engaging in an all-out offensive against the vampires and as widespread destruction and horror ensues, Phury comes to realise that it is only Cormia who can silence the demons in his head.

So, poor, noble Phury gets cheated out of a romance even worse than V but honestly both Phury and Cormia are so boring together and apart that I couldnt care. What did sustain my interest is all the other action that is here - Rehvenge is being blackmailed by a sympath Princess, the teenage vampires John Matthew, Blaylock and Quinn surprisingly become strong allies in the war, John Matthew and Xhex (another sympath) have an attraction going on, the Omega's son and a dreary little fore-lesser are running around mucking things up on a much larger scale than before, the Scribe Virgin and her daughter and her Chosen are more fully dealt with, Tohr comes back with a fallen angel ... Ward's paranormal world just gets more crowhded. Heh.

As a transition book from the romance to the UF realm this worked for me, though Ward has now created such a huge cast of characters it remains to be seen if she can do justice to all in the following books. I certainly missed all my old favorites Wrath, Beth, V etc in this one. And I did miss the romance a teeny, tiny bit...

So, while I didnt care for Phury's addiction theme (author's please note - A Drug Addict Does Not A Romance Hero Make), the further development of Ward's world is what made this a good read for me. I know I'll definitely read the next one in the series to see where the author is going to take this series.

Lover Avenged - Rehvenge's story - reviewed here.

Lover Mine - John Matthew and Xhex's story - reviewed here.


eye-in-sty-in said...

braindead now - will come back to comment...

Anonymous said...

WratH, ToHrment, RHage, PHury, VisHious, seHclusion, coHntest......isn't this cHalled living on the H :p Wonder how Zsadist escaHped!
Helluva good review....(pun intended), remarkably detailed and tongue-in-cheek. Really marvelled at the 6 chamber heart stuff.....lot of boot space ;)
Guess what might be the last book of the series....Lover Kicked The Bucket?

Smita said...


eye-in-sty-in said...

ha ha ha - didnt you know? once bitten, there's no turning back! :P

These bats chose NY as their hideout? I guess with a cemetry, a park and a college nearby, Caldwell is a good place for resting and preying :P (I think the twilight bats were smarter in this aspect - they chose an obscure town that was cheap on real estate :D)

you know what - now that you mention the name dropping, I recollect that the last 2 books I read had similar name dropping lines in it - Also on the distractions, I was reading Robin Cook and he tried using slang that was such a bore to read! It prolonged the story so much, I fell asleep reading it! I suppose the authors do it coz they get commission from it?

Hey! Why did you condense? That was not cool... liked the LA part of the revu a lot! btw, whats TSTL? And if the bats are self-healing, why do they need a doc? and whats HEA?

Last Q - When do they make a movie out of it :-)

couchpapaya said...

roflindian - welcome to the blog and thanks ! :) i guess Shadist didnt have quite the same ring to it .... re. the last book, i hope not, i quite like the lovers here :D

smita - not god, VAMPIRES lol

EISI - u know i blame u! anyways, i doubt poor authors get any endorsement contracts, i doubt it's like movies .... i agree, i hate reading slang and that's the thing that bugs me the most abt the books.

what did i condense? didnt understand this part of ur comment ..

and the acronyms are std romance novel fare, i can see ur not a romance reader :P

TSTL - too stupid to live
HEA - happily ever after

and i hope they never make a movie out of it. imagination is well and good, but i seriously doubt i'll take well to a 6'7" long haired, bulky, fanged monster. very few men can pull off the sexy long hair :P

eye-in-sty-in said...

Hey, I warned you about commenting on a vampire/werewolf review during a full moon. I'm not the one responsible if u threw caution to the winds :P

Now thats stupid then - If they dont get money, the why do they thorment us with the name throwing? You know, when Robin Cook tried to write ghetto, it was so bad! I'm not kidding - he started writing about rap music and then expletives started flying for no reason - i mean, come on, its a Robin Cook book! Leave the mystery writing to the likes of Alistair McClean and stick to the viruses and bacteria!

What did you condense, well honey, you wrote "Until I tried to condense the story, I didnt realise how many plot elements there actually are here". To be honest, If it were up to me, I'd make you write individual reviews of all the books! (Remember, I asked for your pic so I can worship it.... This is coming from there)!

The acronyms were googled by me. And I had 6-7 results of which 3-4 fit. (was pretty certain you were not shooting for "Thread Safe Template Library"... lol)
HEA - I had no clue! Google was not helpful with it!

Hey! I did read 1 Mills n Boon that I had swiped from my ex? Isn't that enough? (Straight face...)

HellBoy was tall n muscular And he looked cool in the movie - even w/o the hair, didnt he! Also Vin Diesel! (Remember Riddick) They'd make for good vampires! Also the new one in Twilight who beat Cloony and Cruise in a sexiness survey! If push comes to shove and none can pass the cut, theres always Antonio Banderas with the pony tail and all! Will that work fer ya! :D ;-)

Now that the heroes are covered, what about the heroines? Eh!

avdi said...

Ghosh ! Ye sab bengali hain kya? Anyhow with a perennial paan in their mouths bengalis can look like vampires too.

Alas, I can share your enthu for romantic lit, but not this. I cant stand medical thrillers either. Go back to Dashneil and Georgette Heyer babe !

couchpapaya said...

EISI - u read 1 m&b?? well, that's one more than I have (have never read a complete one). the romances nowadays are really so much better than the m&b stuff. really :D

as for the men, remember the bottleneck was the hair. and u shld go back and read the twilight review, i think u didnt get the fulle xtent of my dislike, else u wld never have mentioned pouty, pretty boy here!!!! banderas was hunky as armand but too old now :D

avdi - was sick of the historicals actually so was looking for a new genre to read. looks like i might have found it :D

eye-in-sty-in said...

Hi CP,
I did read the complete book as I have this compulsion of finishing what I start reading! As far as I remember, I have only left 2 books half way yet - The fountainhead and LOTR. Cd not finish the 1st one coz of the heavy plot and the movies were much better in the LOTR series. I cd not bear myself reading the books as scenes from the movie kept flashing in my head till the book reading felt like a huge waste of time.

I mentioned pouty pretty boy specifically because of ur revu... :D! Well, I cannot think of other men who wd look good in a pony tail - But I do know a lot of actresses who can look good in one... although that would not help you... lol ;-)

Mama - Mia said...

OMG! how do you manage this CP? and do you write these in one shot?!

i bow to thee!



couchpapaya said...

EISI - i used to do the same but now there's too many books out there for me to complete some book I cannot enjoy. unless i plan to review it, it's ditched ... read the hobbit - this time u can say u read some part of tolkien before a movie was made :)

abha - manage what? reading the genre? try it :) as for the review, i wrote each book after i finished it, u can imagine how much patience it required to work on a post for more than a month :S

couchpapaya said...

EISI - looks like a lot of people think like u, ie vin diesel for one of the vamps in the movie

i'm still on the fence about him. someone mentioned viggo mortensen and chris meloni ... now those i cld see *drool*

eye-in-sty-in said...

Vin aint that bad - he is likeable on the screen. But he needs less lines bcoz he speaks kinda slow :P If u like viggo mortensen and chris meloni, I recco Hugh Jackman to u! He'd fit to a tee! What say you?

couchpapaya said...

no no, and as much as i adore hugh jackman .... just NO!!! EISI just read them will ya, u'll understand! :D forgot to add, in that discussion there's a bunch who dont want to see the books made into movies, i'm firmly in that group.

eye-in-sty-in said...

Now now Cp, u know the books aint gonna be read by me. But I can relate to what u say about the books not being made into a movie. Coz I have the same feelings for the HP movies. The books are infinetely better! And the converse holds true for the LOTR series! The movies rock!

If these actors read the blog, they'll be intrigued or even shocked by your selectiveness :P

couchpapaya said...

nooo, LOTR books rock !! it's another thing that the movies are so well-made that they are good too ... and added bonus, with the books u dont get annoying liv tyler :P

am waiting for the latest BDB book to release, will it never be the 28th *moan*

Rhage said...

If you like roleplaying, and you like this series, check this out:

A Role Play Based Off of the Series by J.R. Ward

Caldwell, N.Y. -- In a city where crime is the major staple, a war rages between vampires and their hunters.
Hiding in the shadows of the night, a mighty group of males known as the Black Dagger Brotherhood, join together to protect their dying race from the evil Lessening Society.
These are their stories, and the journeys of all those tangled within their world.

Won't you join them?

kira said...

I dont normally leave comments on blogs and reviews, but I thought I should leave one here. I fell inlove w/ V on Book 4, too. And was slightly disappointed when I read his story on LU. But I was able to reconcile about the ending on V's book because I kinda got what Ward wanted to say - not all HEA got to be the traditional kind. After all, one human got it already (Mary w/ Rhage) and it would be a bit redundant if V and Jane got it, too. So her being what she is at the ending is what I guess Ward could get off as the best possible outcome.

Anyway, someone here commented that once bitten, you'd be hooked. He/She is sooo right. I've been an avaricious reader my entire life and had my share of blood novels (inc the dance w/ the nasty Twilight series - yes, I knooow!). Thing is, IDK why, but I'm fascinated w/ BDB. Damn Ward.

couchpapaya said...

Kira - Welcome to the blog! I'm so excited to receive my first comment from a fellow BDB fan so thanks for commenting :)

With V and Jane, it was the whole non-corporeal aspect that bugged me at the time!! But, in the latter books Ward has Jane interacting with everyone and I think she even mentions that to V it's just as if she's normal, so I guess even I've come to an acceptance of the solution.

Re-reading this review, it's like I felt that I had to be a bit apologetic about liking these books and it's clear I dont know why I love them either. And I'm still reading and re-reading them. You are right, the formula she has is evil! I hope she keeps at it :)

kira said...

OMG. I can't believe I'm back. Normally, after I read a review, I don't go back. When I read your reply, I realized I just HAD to reply back. My other bookworm friends can't "fathom" how addicted I am to this series. Seriously.

So I just re-read Rhev's story and I was supposed to post this on your LR review. I had to admit that I adore Rhev too. (See my post in your LR review afterall).

I did a write up on V when I just finished reading his book. At that point, I only read Book 4 and 5. When I re-read what I wrote, I didn't get to mentioned why I really love that guy. Aside from all the obvious (uber smart, scary as fuck and strangely addicting). And when I got to read ALL the books in the series, I told myself I'd do a follow up. But I'm too lazy to do so, it would seem.

I've been browsing several forums and there's a lot of speculations on the Brotherhood. Who's Lassiter and what's his story w/ V? Would Payne be the only female exception to the Brotherhood? Would the triumvirate of JM, Qhuinn and Blay be inducted? Would Qhuinn turn gay? Or would he get w/ a female of worth like he'd been wanting? Whatever happened to the other Brothers? Would Tohr get his own now that JM would get his first in Lover Mine? How will Rhev hide the fact his a half-symphath? And wtf are iAm and Trez and being Shadows?

Damn. I could go and on and on but I figured that if we want to have an intellectual discussion on the series, we might as well wish pigs could fly.

I will admit that I'm w/ you about this series being made into a movie. NO ONE will be as good as these fictional characters on screen. Maybe if they animate them? I'm addicted to anime too, btw. I guess that could work.

I still maintained that even if it's Book 7 now, I'm still Vishously in Love w/ Ward and her world. Drat.

couchpapaya said...

Kira - I'm so glad you came back!! Cant wait to read your comments on Rhev's story. I liked Rhev until his book (story of this series it seems). And is your writeup on V online? Do point me to it!! As you pointed out the smartness and the scariness were what appealed V to me, as also his snarkiness and diamond-white eyes. I'm really looking forward to Payne's book!!

Have you read the Insider's Guide? It's really self-indulgent and I dont recommend it to anyone except extreme fans, but while reading about LU, Ward mentions that she dislikes V. Sad, can you imagine if she felt about him as she did Zsadist how amazing his book would have been?! Sigh. I hope she likes Payne better.

I think all of the fans of the BDB *get* the problems that others have, the campiness, the bad writing, the slang ... but we're along for the ride because of how tortured the heroes are and how emotional their stories are. Extreme romance if you will. If you like Austen you might want to look at this essay - which compares Ward's heroes to an extreme version of Darcy - they're referred to as Darcy's Ultimate Heirs :)

I read some forums a while ago (on Amazon) and some readers felt that after Butch and V fell through, Ward just might go the gay route for Qhuinn. Right now, I dont care much for the trio- they're such kids so I'm not sure if I care one way or the other. It would really be interesting though. Because I dont like JM much, I'm a bit worried about Lover Mine. I'm hoping it has a lot of Muhrder, who sounds very interesting.

I was annoyed when Lassiter, iAm and Trez popped up. I cant help feeling that they're being setup for more books and I have had all the characters I can handle so far. Also, I like my series to have definite arcs and an end in sight would be good to have with this one!!!

Anyway, I dont watch anime, but that would be interesting. As long as I dont have to put faces to them and be disappointed :D Thanks again for coming back! It's been good to chat about these books!!

couchpapaya said...

Oh, and what's up with the lower-case in iAm?? I can't tell you how much it bugged, irritated and distracted me when I was reading LA. Argh!

kira said...

I seriously need to have my head checked. Really. Cause for some absurdly morbid reason, yes, I'm back. :)

I'm not big on the internet, to be honest. And I don't like leaving traces. No email addy and no links either. My write up on V is something I'll probably not share. Or not. I've read a lot of your reviews and I'm astounded by the types and the books that you've read. And I was like, "Oh!". Damn sweetie. And here I thought my library was extreme. I'm so glad I found another bibliophile who loves to read to death and can write decently, too!

All right, back to the discussion on hand. Thanks for the link by the way. I love Austen too. I started reading romance by the route of historicals. I have a degree in history and though Edwardian and Victorian eras are interesting enough, I find the art of subtle wit the most seriously whacked form of communication and probably the best in these eras. As you have noticed in Ward's books, her delivery of wit is not Austen's style. She's like in your face and though I appreciate it as well, I'm a "little" lost with all the name dropping. I'm not an American, so the brands and names she blabs on her books had to go through Google. Heh.

I don't think she'd go through the gay route w/ Q and Blay. Why? Because Ward is a conventional writer. She'd write the books that would sell. And most, and I said most, because I won't be one of them, of her rabid readers won't really tolerate and understand a gay sexual relationship in a paranormal romance book. Look at the the reviews for LU. The mere fact that V had dom relationships w/ males weren't received well. I could be wrong w/ you though. You might find the idea interesting, but do you think Ward can write a steamy sexual scene w/ 2 gay people like she does for the hetero ones? The scene in which Q was attending Blay's wounds in the PT room was hot but at the same time, it smacks a bit sad for me. I figured that Blay would probably end up being used as an emotional tool and not as a partner for anyone in the future.

On a side note, after the events on LE, the three boys suddenly lost a lot of screen time in LA. Why is that? And why is Blay and Q suddenly felt like mere posse to JM? They were one of the interesting parts in LE. I wasn't big on LE because I thought Phury was supposed to get a really good story line. But him being celibate and having his bonding instincts come up really late in the novel was a surprise I wasn't expecting. If you noticed, most of the Brother's bonding instincts came up pretty fast after they met the girl. I thought Phury would have the same thing going on. Especially since the word "Mine" went through his head right after he met Cormia (who was tied down in the Primale hall). But it took "months" for him to act on his instincts! I cannot fathom the reason for that. Really. And I get his drug abuse problem. But the sorry for himself part as his tormented story line? He was great in all the books prior to his own!

kira said...

I wonder why Q wasn't attracted to V or why Blay wasn't either. However, remember that lawyer in LA? When he found V attractive? And he was in Rhev's den w/ the entire Brotherhood? I looooove that scene. Too bad V's mated and wasn't even given a slight line to say what he was thinking or feeling. Oh well.

If you noticed, all the Brother were great, till they get their own books. I disagree w/ your review for LU, though it was yours to rate. I find LE worse than LU to be honest.

You were right. I had so much problems w/ the campiness of Ward's prose. The more I read of her books, the more certain I am that she's gonna get worse. It feels like she's writing for money now and not as a writer should. The joy of being able to tell a good story.

Her first three books were more focused. On the last 2, everything seems to be everywhere. It was a bit hard of keeping track of everyone as new people seems to be popping up here and there. Plots and story lines are shot through hell. The story line of Wrath being blind in LA was dragged on too long that I actually skip those parts.

I think Ward is having difficulties keeping everything together and just decided to hell w/ it.

My friends commented that it feels like my IQ drops every time I pick up Ward's books. Her books are no-brainers. But in some insane dimension of my gray matter, her books are really good reads for me.

Maybe we're jealous of the fact that she's the "challa" of the Brotherhood and not us? Lol.

She hates V. She does. And V hates her back. Have you read the "Interview that Never Happened" on her website? It was suggested that the reason V hates her is because of the things she wrote about him, him being insanely private. And she hates V for him hating her. I think she's too used being loved by everyone in the Brotherhood. And man, that gotta sting.

couchpapaya said...

Kira - I'm having a terrible time getting back to work today, it's good I can take my mind off with the Brothers for a little bit :)

I used to read a lot of different genres earlier, last year I was taking a stock of my reading list I realised how much romance I read. The disadvantage is it's made me impatient with books which have a slower pace, so this year I'm all about mixing more classics and other genres into my reading. Well, that's the resolution but mine typically dont hold out for long so we'll see how that goes!

Anyway, hearing about your internet policy makes me all the more glad you broke your silence on my review. I have to hide the books from my friends when I read them :(

Do I think Ward can write a steamy gay scene? I think that Ward gets into the head of her male characters much better than any of her females. So, yes, I can totally see her writing a gay romance. In fact, I thought the sparks flew between Butch and V in LR and LU. She definitely went the right way with both of them since both have a long hetero history. But, with Qhuinn I have the feeling he's still unsure and experimenting with his sexuality so it could happen. Whether she'll actually do it? I think you are probably right about the conventional writing.

It's sad because though a lot of the BDB world is so much fun a lot of it is ultimately extremely restrictive. Like the hetero pairings for sharing blood, something which never made sense to me. And the traditional roles of the women. I have great hopes for Xhex and Payne!

I guess the boys will be back in Lover Mine and I do hope they are all dealt with in that book. I dont think I have enough interest in Qhuinn or Blay to read entire books about them. And I want this series to end in time :) You are right, holding the threads together has got to be pretty difficult esp. when new characters are being introduced all the time. I was so stunned to see the kidnap angle introduced again in LA.

I dont remember the LA scene - looks like I have to pick it up again :) As for LE, Phury and Cormia were a terrible couple. I think the whole idea was that Phury wanted to give Cormia time to adjust to the outside world, that coupled with the celibacy probalby made him not as aggressive as the other Brothers. Of course, the way things worked out with Cormia was stupid; she sat alone in her room, none of the shellans seemed to be around to help her. I felt she didnt choose Phury so much as he was the only choice around. And that whole wizard thing made me want to throw the book, I skimmed all those parts. So, I was so relieved everytime I came to the rest of the action, probably why I came away thinking it better than the other book. And Phury isnt V!

That thing about her mutual hatred with V, this freaks me out. Because, ultimately, it's all in her head!! So, I try to ignore all those interviews, even skipped them in the Insider's Guide. And why I have never ventured into Ward's forums. The books are enough for me.

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

couchpapaya said...

Anon - Thanks! Hope to see you around more!!

Amy said...

This review is terrible. You claim to enjoy the books, but then do nothing but complain about them.

The difference between Urban Fantasy and Romance is that Urban Fantasy does not require a happy, perfect ending.

These books are about good men, tortured men, struggling to get their lives together. They deal with issues that are relivant...i.e. sexual abuse, drug abuse, parental abuse.

If you want to write a good review, why don't you tell us what you liked about the books instead of battering them because you don't like the language or the fact that the heros don't fit into the mold or romance novels. Or if you hated the books, say that. But make up your mind.

couchpapaya said...

Amy - Thanks for your opinion. If you read through my review, my stance on the series is pretty clear. If you have a different review style I suggest you use your blog for adding one.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your reviews. My sister gave me the books to read three weeks ago and I have read all except Rhevenge (am starting tonight) and John Michael's books. V is certainly my favorite character, love that guy.

Butch's book and Phury's books were so angst ridden just wound up skimming through some of it but was worth it for the side stuff going on.

I like the slang which adds to the down and dirty nature of the series. Do wish / hope the author keep the main Brothers more involved though.

Phury's book and the wizard aspect / chosen aspect was totally boring to me.

Loupe said...

I love!! your review of The BDB, I put it on my website, I also put a link to your blog, I review audio books,(audio book junkie here!), you can check it out at:
I see you are reading "IRON DUKE"
I just finished it, I liked it a lot.
The BDB audiobooks are just great!!

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