Black Dagger Brotherhood - Series by J.R. Ward

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there's a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There also exists a secret band of brothers like no other - six vampire warriors, defenders of their race.

Vampires aren't what we think. They aren't undead, they aren't evil, and while they do drink blood they mostly stick to the blood of other vampires. And vampires are nearly extinct, hunted for centuries by humans called lessers - humans turned into immortal soulless puppets by an evil god. 

The Black Dagger Brotherhood is a band of vampire warriors bred and trained to protect their race from the lessers. Led by the vampire king, the brotherhood has dwindled to only a handful of men, each with their own secrets and dark pasts.

Tags: demons, paranormal romance, vampires

Books

Review & Comments

Although I would classify the majority of this series as paranormal romance, it really rides the edge of what readers expect from a romance. Some endings aren't exactly happy, for example, and good people get hurt. That increased my emotional investment in the characters in a big way. But if you are looking for light escapist romance you may want to look elsewhere. 

J.R. Ward impressed me over and over with the realistic dialog between couples. Half the time you get the feeling that the leads are having two (or more) completely separate conversations even when they are talking face to face - a problem I have in my own relationships. Even when the couples settle into their relationships, it's often not because they have magically learned to communicate but beacuse each of them has accepted that while they may never quite understand each other, they love each other anyway.

Most of the books do an excellent job setting up main storyline characters in the preceeding books, not with a single chapter or two but with a strong dose of consistent characterization. This gives the the characters a solid foundation from which to grow a relationship in their own stories.

One big turn-off: the names. Wrath is fine. Rhage is a little silly but okay. But Phury? Zsadist? Torhment? Egad! And it gets worse - many of the words of the vampire language are similar English words but with letters (especially h) inserted at random. Leahdyre, for instance, or sehclusion. The convention does help remind readers about the meanings of the 'foreign' terms, but also leads to a lot of gratuitous eye-rolling.