An overview about the Black Dagger Brotherhood
So in case you’re wondering what this is all about, this is sort of a review of J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series as a whole. There are a lot of books in the series by now and since I basically adore this series, I have a lot of things to say about it. But basically, I wanted to just talk about this series as a whole, because this sort of considers all the books and I didn’t want to put it in one review.
I will review the books separately, but they might not be extremely long since I’ve probably re-read them a thousand times.
But I hope you enjoy and the fact that the books aren’t Young Adult won’t put you off from reading these books or my ramblings about them.
First, story time!
Okay, I heard about the Black Dagger Brotherhood via the grapevine and by that I mean the Youtube - it’s amazing how many books I’ve actually found via Youtube.
So here we have a series about world-saving hot vampires and really, that right there sounds like my kind of a book. But when I tried to find any more information, all I got was miniature reviews - you know, in the sense of “Ward writes hot and steamy yet again and the characters jump off the page” - and well, hardly anything that was written anything after 2007. Frustrating! Especially since JR Ward, though awesome, chooses to use mostly Facebook and her website offers no more information. (It was very frustrating!)
Actually I think one reason why there was so little info about these books is because, oh the horror, they belong in the most terrifying genre of all: romance (Insert scary music.) I think there’s the whole soccer mom, chick lit -literature stamp over romance books and people aren’t going to talk about them that passionately as they talk about Young Adult or the big bestseller books out there. Romance books are thought to be easy reading, something you do when you have nothing better to do. This is just the same thing to me, that gets me everytime: my mother literally, literally, despises paperbacks. She doesn’t think they’re decent books at all, they think they’re actual trash and is always telling me to upgrade to actual books.
So I feel like there’s the same attitude towards the romance books, that all these people riding this “We Read Actual Books, With Big Words And Metaphors” -wagon, are telling us that read romance or any other genre that isn’t as favored, to upgrade to bigger and better books.
And then there’s a lot of sex in the books which I imagine makes some people hate them already because of that and hell, if I know.
(Phew, rant over! Sorry about that)
So I couldn’t get any information that I wanted about the books (this was before I discovered Goodreads) and one day I just went and ordered the first six books that were in a pretty package (destroyed now, sadly). When they arrived, I finished all six in one and a half weeks. And that’s the story of how I fell in love with these books.
Let’s start breaking it down. Firstly, the books are about sex-ay vampires, so that’s got me hooked already. (I really need a shirt that says vampire girl.)
And what I mostly want in a book is A)excellent characters B)awesome writing. And these two of course depend on the characters, but this series delivers on both. The characters are, well, perhaps not the most original, but extremely well done. They’re relatable even if they’re a little out of this world. The characters feel human, feel real enough to touch. If the whole vampires-as-a-precious-little-race-thingie is scaring you, I can assure that the characters could ift in our world if you took their vampirism away: some of them really feel like you could just walk next to them on the street and I’m pretty sure there are some assholes in these books that I’ve met in real life.
Then there’s Ward’s spectacular writing. Seriously, it is amazing and mind-blowing. It’s true that one writer can’t re-write another’s story, but I seriously doubt there’s anyone else who could have pulled this series off. Perhaps some could have come up with the same idea, but no one could write these characters the way she does. There’s just this way she describes them and lets them take over the book. Ward seems to always have a little humor going on and the dialogue is most fantastic. But she really throws herself in to every little detail and everything that happens on the page. All the action scenes and well, even the sex, seems to be polished to its best. But it still feels like you’re looking at someone’s life and it just happens to be written down. It’s polished and at the same time it’s a little raw. It’s perfect.
Now, the series changes main characters with every book, this you might know already if you know anything about this series. I guess you could call this an ensemble cast series, a little like Sarah Rees Brennan’s Demon Lexicon series, if you want a YA version (sort of). And I actually love that kind of series. There’s a big storyline that flows through all the books, but then there’s all these little things in every book that combine them, things that pop up constantly throughout the series. People talking about a past thing, doing their favorite activity etc.
A series that changes main characters might not be for everyone, but don’t be afraid, this doesn’t mean your favorite character won’t appear ever again. They’ll be there, more in some books and less in others: it depends on what happens, who’s eyes we’re looking through, are they necessary to the plot so that they need to be seen and heard. Sometimes they get POV scenes, too and they do make appearances in most books.
And I like that, because you can pick your favorite book and you can even have your least favorite book. Thanks to the mail, I read two books out of order and that didn’t matter in the big scheme of things, only two minor scenes were spoiled to me. But I’m am pretty resistant to spoilers, so.
The whole setting of the world just might be one of the most original things in the book. Alright, I can come up with similar settings, but it’s still pretty good. Ward puts her own twist to it and well, you really have to read one of her books to know what I mean.
I like it that in saving the world, the bad guys are more or less obviously the bad guys. It’s always a little bothersome, when the good guys go against bad guys who are, for example, forced to do it. It’s personally, for me, hard to stand behind. But here, the bad guys are literally heartless, so I like that and it’s got an exciting pantheon and whole species and magic thing going on. (If that m-word is scary to you, don’t worry, it’s got more to do with the whole setting-thing.)
As final thoughts I’d say this: these books are not for everyone. Ward writes in a very particular way and if that’s not for you, then the books are going to be difficult to read. But I do encourage everyone to try, to try and get past the first book that isn’t in my opinion the best one in the series.
And a little hint towards their awesomeness: I seldom re-read things often, because I basically remember the books I’ve read so well. But I just keep going back to this series.