Dark Lover by J. R. Ward
Book #1 in Black Dagger Brotherhood
As the half-human daughter of a vampire warrior, Beth Randall is one the verge of huge changes in her life. In order to survive her transition, Beth will require the help, and blood, of a vampire male. Wrath, the fierce leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood and the last pure-blood vampire is the perfect candidate and as a result of his debt to Beth's father finds himself in the unwanted position of helping Beth. However, when the two come together sparks fly and they are irresistibly drawn to one another.
This is my second attempt at starting Dark Lover as I was initially unable to suspend my disbelief in order to complete the book. Things went more smoothly this time perhaps because I have read more PNR since then. Even though the first sex scene between Beth & Wrath made absolutely no sense to me,(what woman who has just been the victim of a sexual assault has sex with a complete stranger), I was able to get past it.
Let's begin with the most problematic aspects of the book - the plot and the dialogue. The story is mediocre to say the least. The villain is completely one dimensional and his plan to destroy the vampires overly simplistic. Moreover, his name, Mr. X, kept reminding me of Steven Williams' more ominous character in The X-Files, and as such, his failure to deliver is even more disappointing. In addition, the Satanic-like cult, whose members smell like baby powder, cannot possibly be considered a serious threat and are merely slightly annoying.
The dialogue is truly awful. The male characters sound like overgrown teenagers making a lame attempt at "gangster speak". Seriously? What rational adult uses words like "bro", "deal", what's up", "zip it" etc.?
On a more positive note, the vampire mythos is interesting and well developed. The fact that the vampires eat food is particularly appealing as the lack of food consumption is the one thing that bothers me about vampires in other series such as Lara Adrian's Midnight Breed and Tina Folsom's Scanguard's Vampires.
The romance between Beth and Wrath is enjoyable and they make a cute couple, especially at the end. Their fight scene with the Lessers is also entertaining.
While it is difficult at first to distinguish between the various members of the brotherhood, they ultimately develop singular personality traits and become very intriguing, especially Rhage (can't wait to find out more about his curse), Zsadist (can't resist a tortured hero) and Butch (his relationship with Marissa has definite potential).
In conclusion, despite my issues with this book, I will give the next one a try as I've heard that the series does improve in later installments.