I have some very persuasive friends. They have been going on and on about a new series about vampires that I just had to read. The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward. I held out for a long time because I didn't want to start another series about vamps. So over done, right? Um, no, Not if the way this author has written these books are any indication. In a word, wow.
I picked up the first three books in the series late last week. And while visions of sugarplums should have been dancing through my head, I found myself settling in with some very totured, very hot vampire warriors, their highly destructive yet incredibly loyal human friend and some incredibly strong women. Not to mention so slick & sick evil guys. Yowza! And the high body count. Always a plus. *evil grin*
Wrath's book, Dark Lover, was a great set up to the series. I loved this story and the dark world into which I found myself being drawn. All the brothers are amazing. But even in that first story, I found myself drawn to the brother who stood toward the outside of the circle, the brother who was a little off, a lot twisted and oh so lost. I'm a sucker for the lost ones.
With Wrath's story finished, my heart bleeding for poor Darius and for Zsadist, I quickly grabbed Lover Eternal from my pile of books. Rhage is not my favorite brother, but as I became entranced with his story, he showed himself worthy. The book had so many layers - the lessers (souless vampire hunters) and their power struggles and ambitions, the orphaned and mute pre-transition vampire John, the aristocratic and fearless vampiress Bella, Zsadist, his twin Phury and all the other brothers.
I love how the story was about Mary as much as it was about Rhage and that with every dark turn there was a glimmer of hope. I also loved how the book didn't just center around this couple, but showed others in the Brotherhood, so when Bella stepped into the house for the party I was sunk. Just as I knew Zsadist was sunk.
And Phury. Don't get me started on that. Man, I almost teared up. Almost.
Then, on the heels of the cliff hanger ending, I picked up Lover Awakened and tossed it in my purse as we went to a family Christmas Eve gathering. I found a quiet corner and settled in. For here was the story I knew was going to break my heart. Wrath and Rhage and Darius and John were all tugging at it, twisting it just a little before doing something to make me smile. But Zsadist was going to break it, I could tell.
And I was right. Seeing Zsadist in Bella's house all alone after clearing up the mess the invaders made, having Butch tell him he wasn't wanted, my heart cracked. Then with the first flashback, I nearly died. The pain was unbearable. And through out the book I wept for Zsadist, for the young man he once was, for the hope and the future that should have been his and for the warrior he is now.
He totally broke my heart in a way few fictional characters have been able to. I mean sobbing, aching in my chest, howling to the moon broken.
I finished Lover Awakened yesterday and my heart is still heavy. I know Zsadist will have his happily ever after, but I also know there is so much left to heal. I ache for him. I also ache for John & for Tohrment. God, do I ache for them. And Phury. My favorite line in the book is John to Phury where John tells him he's worried about him because he's in a prison with no bars. *gulp*
JR Ward truly knows her writing. I've spent the better part of the morning reading her tidbits on the bb and she appears so very passionate about these characters and their world. It shows in her stories and in how she interact with her growing horde of fans.
And dammit, she made me cry!
If you're looking for something different, though not something for the weak of heart, I highly recommend this series. The next book, Lover Revealed, will be coming out in March I believe. Sigh, yet one more series where I have to wait with baited breath efor the next book. However shall I fill my days? Um, by working on my own darned book!