Series review: Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward

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First of all:
here you can find the titles of novels as listed on Goodreads, available in Black Dagger Brotherhood series. And much more. You might notice that the series enjoys overall a very high ranking – that’s why I was lured into trying it. I skimmed just three books and surrendered to the inevitable – each one of these was for me a DNF of a kind. Why?

My impressions:

It is easy to recognize one of these series from the first book. The author introduces you to a group of available men and/or women – they might constitute a big, extended family or a unit of fighters/warriors or a pack of werewolves – relatively young, close-knit, highly trained and rather secretive. In this case it is a coven of male vampires called the Black Dagger Brotherhood led by Wrath with a mission of fighting ugly lessers. In every installment one of them is paired with an appropriate love interest a.k.a a worthy female, Wrath being the first victim…er…happy bride groom of the aforementioned pairing.

All the characters share several tell-tale traits – for example every single one of males is handsome and muscled (actually let me quote one of the novels to make my little review more colourful: ‘built like a brick shithouse’ and ‘hung like a Louisville Slugger’ was the actual description) but also in some way conflicted, with shadows in their past (in other words pop psych at its finest). At first it might seem an interesting idea but after two-three books you find you have to stifle a yawn or two, so similar to each other they all seem. Also every one of these ‘worthy females’ is invariably pretty, kind, curvaceous, young and honorable. Damn it, even intelligent. They might behave sometimes like a skunk but only with their ‘chosen one’ so it remains more or less acceptable.

Well, it is a world where you recognize your second half instantly and without any necessary hassle and once you fall in love, you stay in love no matter what. Vampires dress well in brand-name clothes and swear like your common–or-garden thug. They tattoo (or rather carve) the name of their beloved on their own backs. If they have sex (and there’s plenty of it) it is always and unvaryingly mind-blowing experience with multiple orgasms and such trifles. Of course, despite being kick-ass, as-hard-as-nails, tough-and-rough, leather-clad professionals every single one of them has that white fluffy bunny buried deep inside. Who can find the bunny? Who can make a big, muscled macho vampire snuggle and moan and lick your metaphorical shoes, all sappy and soft, while proposing on his knees or on all fours or on his back, with all limbs flailing about, his position completely depending on your mood and preferences? You guessed it – a worthy female, the one and only.

If there are any problems in this vampire paradise you get Her Holiness Scribe Virgin – an entity who is neither a virgin (she has a vampire son and daughter!) nor a scribe but a deus-ex-machina solve-it-all fairy godmother of the scarier kind. Add to that blend a bit of family drama, bad childhood memories, feminist whiffs and some unpleasant torture – the parts of particular vampires’ past experiences – and you get in a nutshell what this series is about. Artificial as hell and sweet as glucose-fructose syrup. If you swaped these heroes and heroines with, say, My Little Ponies, nobody would notice.

English: Rubik's cube Italiano: Cubo di Rubik
 Rubik’s cube  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is of course a lot of steamy scenes during which male parts and female parts are getting closely acquainted, no inhibitions. It is a paranormal romance, very close to paranormal erotica after all, right? Insta-lust and insta-attachment seem to be two virulent diseases plaguing these stories – as soon as a male or a female gets a whiff of their future mate they are in a constant hormone overdrive mode and you can be sure: in the end every Jim will get his Jane, no matter what obstacles are thrown their way and they will remain blissfully happy, like ‘a Rubik’s Cube solved (another quote – isn’t the writing style lovely?). The syrupy sweet ending is one of the features the readers of such novels are expecting, actually one of the most important reasons they  buy and devour those books with a notorious regularity of a sugar junkie.

There have been ten books published so far and there will be two more. I really can’t help thinking that it speaks volumes about the state of the publishing business and not exactly kind words, mind you.
Junk food literature, nothing else. Well, if you need a nice piece of junk food from time to time who is to say you can’t have it? And who is to judge you? Not me.

Bon appétit or tuck in! In my case, however it was…

This entry was posted in a total failure, book review, erotica, paranormal, romance and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Series review: Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward

  1. rameau says:

    I think you're being a bit optimistic with your estimation that the series will end with twelve. I think I read earlier that she wants to write at least twenty books for this series. I could be wrong and things might have changed but obviously this is a formula that works. For some.

  2. *headdesk* 20 books? Honestly, I thought 10 was far too many…

  3. blodeuedd says:

    I liked the first 4..well liked and liked, I was young. And then they started to suuuuck

  4. lol I tried to read one of them, and yes, very skimmable. I can't believe you read the whole series! Ooooh, you should read Christine Feehan's Carpathian novels–now there are some truly horrible vampire novels.

  5. And they have continuded to suck ever since…

  6. I haven't read the whole series, just three first installments. Proves I am not a masochist after all. ;pOoooh, you should read Christine Feehan's Carpathian novels–now there are some truly horrible vampire novels.Don't tempt me.

  7. carol says:

    I haven't read any of these, but I hate to admit that the whole formula paranormal romance works for me at times. I tend to like knowing what to expect.

  8. It is fine. Really fine. I read Nalini Snigh myself. Still sometimes I feel like criticizing is because if you have 20 books in a series, all of them are based on the same scenario then yor tolerance might end…

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