Book Review: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

This is the first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series of which, the 16th book just came out April 2018 and the 17th book is set to come out next year according to Goodreads.

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Being a fan of paranormal romance I have obviously seen this series included on basically every list out there so it was only a matter of time before I had to pick this one up for myself.

The set up for this book/series is that there is a vampire race that lives in secret among humans and it’s population is dwindling, partly due to difficulties with the female vampires struggling to have children and the other part due to the race of de-souled humans, called lessors, whose main purpose is to kill all the vampires. The Black Dagger Brotherhood is a band of the most powerful (hot, hunky & tormented) vampire warriors who work to take out the lessors and defend the vampire race.

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-leaving his half-breed daughter unaware of his existence or her fate-Wrath must usher her into the world of the undead-a world of sensuality beyond her wildest dreams.

The main couple: Beth, who is a was born to a human mother but doesn’t know that her dad was a vampire, as well as a member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, and that she is about to go through the change from human to vampire.  Wrath is the leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood and king of all the vampires really, except he prefers to just kill and be a warrior and not lead. He gets stuck with the job of helping Beth transition from human to vampire out of loyalty to her father, in attempt to make sure she survives the transition with the help of his super strong vamp blood and not die, which is a high risk.  In this world vampires don’t feed off of human blood but must feed off the blood of other vampires of the opposite sex.

I thought this was a pretty fun and imaginative story.  The connection between Beth and Wrath was super instant but written in a way that was really kind of fun and spooky and gave you those paranormal feels. Everything between them and the whole story really escalated super fast.  I did feel that everything that happened was believable and fit with the story and genre but that it all took place in like three days seemed a little… silly I guess.

The setting was urban and contemporary though technology isn’t a big part of it. There are some words that Ward seems to have invented for this world from the old vampire language that you kind of learn throughout but she does have a glossary for explanation on her site and I think possibly in the book too.

The Brotherhood itself was fun to get to know if even all of their names are completely ridiculous: Wrath, Rhage, Zadist, Vishous, Phury, and Tohrment.  See?  Also Beth has a cop friend named Butch who gets involved.  Butch the cop. Seriously lol.  But honestly I kind of like that Ward is just like yep this is happening and owns it.

The story changes POV throughout and doesn’t just stick with just the main couple’s POV. I actually really liked the times it was in Butch’s POV or other scenes with him because I’m so into the ‘ship between him and a certain vampire lady who apparently have their own story fleshed out in book 4.

This book is definitely like snack crack or whatever where you can just pop it in, go for a fun ride and then not be surprised at all if you eat the whole bag, or book series. I haven’t felt too needy for the second book just yet but it feels good knowing I can always go back to them for a quick fun paranormal romance fix. Each book in the series centers around a different main couple but they include other character POVs and smaller story arcs that sets up for other characters’ books. Also there seems to be a more overarching story arc across the series dealing with the vampire vs. lessor war.

This is definitely one any fan of paranormal romance should check off their TBR including fans of vampires, alpha males, and that old school vampire aristocracy.

3.5 stars!


  1. Great review! I just bought this on my kindle last month, and I’m looking forward to reading it some time when I need something fun and “junk food”-y (or snack crack as you called it – I loved that lmao). Also, I literally snorted at “Tohrment” – wow… what a name.


    • Thanks! I definitely want to keep going with this series but I’m not feeling compelled to binge read this one, probably because 16+ books in a series is a lot even for me and because it felt written in a way that I can actually pace myself.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My mom has devoured these books and always pre orders the newest one. I always say that I’m going to pick it back up so we can talk about it. I only got to book 4 and my favorite so far was Zhadist.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. So this is on my own personal reading challenge for myself. It’s a romance series I’ve definitely heard of but never felt much push to read because vampires are just not my thing. I do think it’s cool there’s a slightly different take on vampires happening here so maybe I won’t roll my eyes at it. It sounds like an enjoyable read but the fact everything happens in such a short space of time is definitely something which can be annoying because I hate when things feel rushed, I’m also a slowburn kinda girl. I’m interested to read, though, and can’t wait for some of these character names.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well as someone who is really into vampires and vampire books/series this one probably definitely WILL make your eyes roll! Hahaha but it’s a quick read so I’d still say give it a shot? And if you ever want any other vampire reads, I HIGHLY recommend Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series. Probably my favorite series ever and it’s got another cool take on vampires and has some kinda urban fantasy gothic vibes. And it’s real sexy and the characters are fantastic.


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