A Light in You (Dark Lover by J.R. Ward)

Review of 
Dark Lover 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 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 -orphaning a half-breed daughter unaware of her heritage or her fate- Wrath must usher her into the world of the undead...

Racked by a restlessness in her body that wasn't there before, Beth Randall is helpless against the dangerously sexy man who comes to her at night with shadows in his eyes. His tales of brotherhood and blood frighten her. But his touch ignites a dawning hunger that threatens to consume them both...

Let me start by saying that I was surprised how different the Goodreads' synopsis is from the one on my book. I always go there to do some good ol' copy/paste but I want it to be the one on my book, because they can be different and I feel more truthful by choosing that one. 
Anyway, the one on Goodreads is far more boring and for some reason it focuses on Wrath. Also, I hadn't thought about it before, but the whole first chapters sounds quite chilling , with the whole relishing in killing -thing. It's not that bad, I promise. 

So the first book in the series is very much focused around on Beth coming to terms with being a vampire and that’s generally pretty good, thinking that while she’s being introduced, so are we. Not everything is picture clear, but I kind of like a little bit of mystery.

I mentioned in the overview that this is not the best book in the series and that when reading it for the first time, you should go for the next book even if you’re not convinced by the first one. What I mean by that is that especially after reading all the books in the series several times, you really notice just how “introduce-y” the first one is. 
In the first book, all the characters are introduced and the setting is made very clear. It wasn’t very obvious on the first read, but now as I re-read the book for this review, I realized, that it’s very “here are all the players and settings that we’ll be playing with later on. Get used to them now and everything will good when things start moving.” Personally, on the first read I was so amazed by this book that I didn’t notice it. But now, looking at it from a different angle, I can see it. 
So if the first book seems simple to you or something else, don’t worry. It could just be the first book. Plus there’s a thing at the end that just might make you pick up the next one.

Also, this book is perhaps the most focused on “loves me, loves me not” -kind of plot as well as introducing the world to the reader (and Beth). It’s less so in the next books. The plots get a bigger part in the later installments and gets more complicated as the series goes on. The plot really gets bigger and badder with every book and we are given a lot more details along with it. 

So Wrath pretty much is a lone wolf, warrior used to kick ass first ask questions never, growl not speak, kind of a guy with an attitude problem. That's how he starts the story and yeah, he does stupid shit and is very stand-offish, but I like my characters complicated and not perfect. And already as the story progresses we see a change starting to come for him and we see more sides to him and he becomes more than a muscled guy draped in leather. 

Compared to Wrath's moody nature Beth seems at a glance almost dull. But I think that's what's great about her: she's as a person more simple than Wrath: she's fiercely independent, smart about things and caring. She's very straight-forward and resilient: she seems enjoy things as they come at her and doesn't seem like the kind of a person to hold a grudge -at least over the little things. 
I'm not sure if I've described her adequately, but she's very level-headed. As a match for Wrath she's  excellent since she thinks things through first and she doesn't have this huge honor-bound warrior status. She’s the calm point in the middle of his storm. (Just now realized what that sounds like. Oh well.)

And as for the rest of the brothers. They're first introduced in a rather vicious light, focusing on their strength and deadliness. Their masculinity is almost constantly mentioned, which does get a little too much at points. But I like Ward's writing so much it doesn't become a huge issue. It more or less seems like the way to describe an almost seven foot tall wall of muscle wrapped in skim tight leather and with hidden weapons. 
But what I think is the book's maybe most telling scene about them, is -I'm describing this in a way that shouldn't spoil too many things - when each is seen nodding off in different ways, holding onto a weapon, except for Zsadist, who's turn is to guard. I won't tell you the details, but the way it's written is really tender and caring and for guys who throw around death-threats and listen to hard-core rap for the rest of the book, it's a soft kind of moment. 
It's one of my favorite moments ever in the series and reading it the first time, the details and the context that I've left out make it even bigger and better. 

Re-reading this book especially  for this review I tried to see if there were any noticeable bad things. And yes, I suppose that the way the males and females of the vampire race are written in the books, it might taste weird to someone. If you’re wondering what I mean, to put it simply, the males are very male, meant to take care of the females who are rather fragile. 
Basically the males want to protect them with everything they have and have a lot of I’m a manly man -feelings. But if that sounds frightening, the problem is acknowledged in the books. It’s not all “oh my man wants to protect me, so dreamy”. And I do consider myself all equal rights to everyone and everything, but it is nice to think that someone cares enough to take a bullet for me. 

My biggest problem is the way that Wrath and Beth meet. I’m trying to say as little as possible, for fear of spoiling anyone. So skip this one, if you’re afraid. But Wrath, with the intention of protecting Beth, goes to her home and then they have sex. The two haven’t spoken a word to each other before that and then they’re both taken over by lust for each other. 
This happens so often in books like this and it makes me want to scream. Maybe I’m naïve, but really? Without speaking each other, they fall to bed on page 65? So that’s probably my only problem with this book. 

Now, my kinds of books are really those where the plot and romance walk hand in hand: neither dismissing either, but both being just as big or slightly so. It’s rare that I like a book that has only plot and very little romance or very little plot and a lot romance. I want both, so if that’s your thing, I highly suggest this series.  

Final thoughts: If you’re curious, try this book (and the next one.) If you’re not interested after that, forget it, don’t bother. But they’re definitely compelling books, with interesting characters who make mistakes and try to do good just like we all do. If anything that I’ve tried to describe sounds good to you, it’s definitely worth a try. I was hesitant at first about reading these books, but I’m so glad that I did. I’d be so very sorry if I hadn’t. 

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