Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood #1) | Book Review


By: J.R. Ward

#1 in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series |393 Pages | Pub. 2005

dd heading

Dark Lover At a Glance

  • Overall Rating: ★★★ 
  • Dude: “A vampire with the social equivalent of road rage”
  • Heroine: She’ll be your eyes
  • Brutality: Eyeball scoopers
  • Steaminess: Locked in a basement on silk sheets

Pairs Well With

Vampire Kiss Martini

  • 1 part raspberry liqueur
  • 1 part vodka
  • 1 part champagne
  • Blood orange slice

Beware. Spoilers are coming…

Teagan’s Reactions 

Okay, let’s be real. This book is *weird*… I like paranormal romances and a good vampire romance is always up my alley but this one just didn’t do it for me. In theory it had all the elements of a good romance novel: hot, tortured, alpha male hero with a gang of loyal followers, a heroine with a cat, and a unique world. But to me, all these pieces just got warped.

The worldbuilding could’ve been interesting but overall it’s just weird and gross:

  • “Needing period”- basically when a female is in “heat” and has to be “serviced” by a male and that causes all the males around her to go crazy.
  • The social hierarchy – I didn’t like their segregated society in which Fritz was basically a slave and females were only “worthy” if they were virgins who dutifully served their “chosen” males.
  • The “Lesser” society – EW to the fact that these freaks basically give up their souls and turn into sadistic albinos.
  • Whipping-Your-Mates-Initials-Into-Your-Body Wedding Ritual – What says “this is the happiest day of my life” as your groomsmen whip you for every letter in your mate’s name?

I’m particularly disturbed by the Lesser Society and this “Mr X” who basically sounds like he’s formed some warped BDSM club. But instead of consenting adults this guy tortures innocent vampires and gets turned on by torturing them. Disgusting.

And while I love a good brooding, tortured alpha male… I just don’t love Wrath. I get that he’s had a tortured life but he really treats women like shit. He ignored and basically mentally abused his “mate” Marissa for 300 years for no reason instead of being an adult and letting her go. Then he meets Beth and treats her like a second-class citizen. I mean who wouldn’t want “Now let’s get this over with” to be the attitude of your first date? *Swoon* Even by the end when Wrath gets woke and finally owns up to the fact that he can’t just stand by and let his society fail and should love Beth like she deserves it just was a little too late for me.

And don’t even get me started on Beth’s dad. He supposedly this “noble hero” of their society but lets his daughter be raised in an orphanage. But don’t worry it’s okay because he and his slave have been stalking her from the sidelines her whole life and have photos to prove it. I mean why would you find a girl a real family when you could just stalk her?! Photos > stability. I’m not ever gonna be okay with this “Dad of the Year.”


Jess’s Reactions

So this was weird. There were so many things that I hated in this book, but I didn’t hate the book itself if that makes any sense. What I had to go through was worth it in the end for the adorableness that was Wrath and Beth. Let’s take a quick walk through the insanity though.

Billy Riddle trying to rape beth – You got what you deserved motherfucker. He likes to rape girls for fun and is a Senator’s son so he never gets caught. Eaten alive by dogs is the best outcome. I was kinda looking forward to him becoming a lesser because that would make him impotent.

Mr. X He is a cross between Jack the Ripper and Dr. Evil. It’s absurd that some weirdo martial arts teacher is running around killing women with NINJA STARS and the cops can’t solve this. Also, he abuses his dogs and makes fun of a body-building woman while he can’t even get it up. Next.

Marissa in denial- How many times does a guy have to turn you down for you to leave him? Apparently for 200 years. TBH I liked that she was coming around at the end and had some character growth. Much appreciated.

Butch supporting police brutality – Yeah Butch, it’s only the bad ones. Until you fucking hurt an innocent person! You are not god and this is not okay.

So that was the journey we took to the happy ending… It was a ride. I had lots of uncomfortable feelings about Wrath and Beth’s first meeting considering it was very Dracula-esque. He opens her door with his mind, walks in and they just have sex right there on the couch after exchanging about three words. This is right after Beth was assaulted and almost raped in an alley. You do you girl, but I’m not convinced that the relationship was healthy until the very end.

“Back off, Wrath, and wipe that word from your vocabulary when you’re speaking with me. We may be married, but I’m not going to be ordered around like a child by you. Are we clear on this?”

Speaking of that, Wrath was so adorable at the end! I like the way Beth stood up to him and asked questions and he never treated her like an idiot.

Then Ward had to go and ruin it by bringing the dad back? What? Isn’t the whole point of him wanting to see her because he wants to know his daughter? He gets his memory wiped voluntarily? I’m calling bullshit on that. Also calling bullshit on the fact that, while I wasn’t a huge fan, I liked the supporting characters enough to read the next book.


Let us know what you thought of Dark Lover in the comments! 

Drink Up - Teagan & Jess

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11 thoughts on “Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood #1) | Book Review

  1. Ok so I read the first like, 9, books in this series on a binge one summer. They definitely get better (in fact, this first one is probably my least fav) and they focus on a different couple, which is cool. If you are into more paranormal romance and are willing to give it a go, I’d say it’s worth trying the next 1 or 2 to see. But also I totally respect if you don’t! Haha.

    Liked by 1 person

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