The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward

So it’s been a LONG while since I’ve written a review. Between juggling three jobs and planning a wedding (oh yeah, I’m engaged—crap, it’s been a while), my schedule’s been pretty hectic. In fact, for the whole month of September, I didn’t get a single read in which really set me back on my 50 book goal for 2014. I did a TREMENDOUS amount of catching up over the last month or so. Now I’m only five books away—although I’m pretty sure I can’t squeeze in five books in ten days, especially with the holidays (le sigh). Enough about my tragic life, and onto the first series I want to talk about.

The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward

Book 1: Dark Lover
Book 2: Lover Eternal
Book 3: Lover Awakened
Book 4: Lover Revealed
Book 5: Lover Unbound
Book 6: Lover Enshrined
Book 7: Lover Avenged
Book 8: Lover Mine
Book 9: Lover Unleashed
Book 10: Lover Reborn

Vampires? Check. Romance? Check. A cliche storyline? Abso-freaking-lutely. Sometimes, you’re just in the mood for a cheesy read, and I definitely was when I started this series back in May.  The first book had me hooked immediately. Although I was a big fan of the Twilight series (cue reader eye-roll), I appreciated the more Gothic element in Dark Lover. Actually, maybe ‘Gothic’ isn’t the right word. I visualize Wrath and the other vamps as characters in Sons of Anarchy. I’m getting off topic here. The story was good—not epic, but good. I continued with the series and had the same pleasant experience with Lover Eternal and Lover Awakened. As a matter of fact, all the way up until the 7th book, I was content to continue reading the series. Each book got just a little bit steamier than the one before it, but I’m not here to lie to you; for the most part it was the same storyline over and over again. Still, I appreciated Ward’s ability to differentiate each vampire by their distinct personalities.

Fast forward to the 8th book, however, and it all went downhill. Lover Mine was okay—just okay. John Matthew and Xhex’s story was exhausting. How many times can a couple go back and forth before saying, “Screw this. You’re really annoying. The end.” Spoiler alert: that’s not the last time we see them in the series, which is doubly infuriating. Lover Unleashed (book 9) was absolutely unbearable. Sometimes too much cheese can really ruin an entree, and that is exactly what happened here. I was physically nauseous reading this book. I seriously considered stopping at this point. Actually, to be frank, J. R. Ward should’ve stopped at this point.

I don’t know what possessed me to continue reading the series. Maybe I’m secretly a masochist, I don’t know. To my surprise, though, Lover Reborn was one of the best installments to the series (probably because it goes back to Tohr, a character that we haven’t seen since the earlier novels). The storyline was completely different from any of its predecessors, and not your typical boy-meets-girl-and-they-instantly-fall-in-love pitch. It was just good! On that note, I decided to quit the series there. Better to leave on a high note, right? I don’t think I’ll be reading any more installments (don’t quote me on that). I’m a big fan of series books, but I can’t stand when an author continues to tell the same story to make a buck. Every story needs to end at some point.

Final verdict? This is certainly not a “must read,” but not the worst I’ve ever read. It earned itself a mention during my days at Cliche Mag (see below).

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