Second Bookses

It's like second breakfast. Only with books.
Dark Lover - J.R. Ward It was shocking to me that a vampire series existed somewhere in the universe that I hadn't read yet. When I found that my library system had somehow managed to not have the first few books in J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series (referred to from here on out as BDB), a friend graciously offered to part with hers so I could rectify this unheard of hole in my vampire-loving reading history.::: The Plot :::Dark Lover is the first novel in the series, and, like all first books, sets up the story for the next 8000 sequels an author has planned. The book opens with vampires meeting in a bar (no, I'm not going for a joke here). Darius has a half-human daughter he wants Wrath, the apparent king of the vampires, to take through her transition. When Darius is offed before the night is even over, Wrath honors his last request.The half-human daughter comes with her own baggage, however. She's an orphan who grew up in foster care as far as she knows, works as a copy editor at the local newspaper, was nearly raped by a senator's kid who seems to be heading to the dark side pretty fast, and is lusted after by half the local police force, including a cop named Butch with a rep for police brutality.By the time we get to the end of the book, we have our questions answered:Does Wrath fall in love with Beth?Can the vampires save themselves from the soulless lessers, former humans who now hunt them?Will Wrath take on the role he was born for?Will we ever be able to keep all these vampires straight?::: Sometimes a Good Story Can Make Up for Things :::Like I said, I'm totally sucked in, even though I was texting my friend as I was reading asking things like "Does the writing ever get better?" Following the trend of writing like a braindead high schooler instead of someone who actually learned English grammar, Ward has filled Dark Lover with things like dangling participles and sentence fragments that make me want to red pen my friend's books. I'm never sure if the characters deliberately drop words or if Ward's editor is the laziest editor to walk the planet, but missing words and other errors seem to abound, making it a frustrating read for anyone who likes to see the English language used appropriately.The novel also has an inordinately large cast of characters. One assumes it's to facilitate a big series (and therefore, sell way more books), but it's really hard to keep all of them straight, especially the vampires, most of whom have names that are hard to wrap your head around (like Zsadist and Phury... get it?).There isn't a whole lot new or different in the BDB take on vampires: we know about kings from the Sookie Stackhouse books, and transitioning vampires from Blue Bloods, and smutty sex scenes from... well, everywhere, but Ward manages to make us care about the characters and what happens next anyway. These are bad-boy vampires, a la Lost Boys, not pretty, sparkly vampires or elegant, refined vampires. You'll find yourself rooting for them even as you cringe over some of the writing.This review was originally published at Epinions:

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