Screamer’s, a dark club on the streets of Caldwell, New York, is a frequent meeting place for the six members of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. The pounding music and Goth clientele allow the vampire Brothers, without too much mind-wiping, to blend in.
It is there, at Screamer’s, that Darius first asks Wrath for the ultimate favor. Darius is Wrath’s best friend, but even as such, he hesitates to ask such a task of the King of the Vampires. Wrath is well known for his awesome temper, not to mention that he is the last pureblood vampire living on Earth, and the awesome, untouchable leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. But the favor that Darius asks could save the life of his last living child – so he has no choice.
Wrath refuses to honor the favor, just has he has refused to take his rightful position of King. He has no wish to get involved in the world of humans – which is exactly what would happen if he did as Darius requested. Better to let someone else usher the half-human daughter that Darius so loves into the world of vampires, if she were indeed to make the change. Wrath wanted no part of it.
But, fate intervenes in the form of one of the members of the hated Lessening Society, and Darius is killed. Wrath’s sole focus has always been to battle the Lessening Society and protect vampires from their murderous intentions, and having failed to keep Darius, his fellow Brother, from dying, he now vows to honor the favor that he had previously refused.
Beth Randall has no idea that she is the half-blood daughter of a vampire – let alone a vampire who is a member of the elite Black Dagger Brotherhood. She is blissfully unaware that vampires even exist, and has no idea whatsoever of the war that has existed between the vampires and the Lessening Society for centuries. Beth is simply a journalist, living the daily grind, wasting her time at a dead-end job with a small-time newspaper. She has no family that she is aware of, as she was put into orphanage at a tender age. She has no romantic prospects, not that she doesn’t have plenty of offers, she’s just not interested in the average man. Beth longs for something – although she has no idea what it is, and lately she’s been feeling quite ill so any thoughts of romance aren’t necessarily the first thing on her mind.
Until one dark night when Beth’s world is turned upside-down and the most devilishly handsome man visits her apartment, beginning a journey of incredible fantasy for Beth. The handsome stranger reveals secrets, and uncovers potent desires, that Beth had never even fantasized about.
Author J. R. Ward has crafted a truly incredible debut novel. Her characters positively jump off the page, and the sexy lead character, Wrath, is enough to make any reader wish she had her own dark secret to share with him! The storyline is exorbitantly clever, dragging readers headlong through an ingenious paranormal world blended seamlessly with reality. Ward makes no stops for bland prose and meaningless details in this novel – the pace is fast and incredibly interesting, with enough quirks, twists and surprises to keep readers eagerly anticipating what might come next.
Very few books are good enough to leave me thinking about them for long after finishing the last page, but DARK LOVER did exactly that. I found myself pondering, for several days, the intricate vampire world that J. R. Ward has created, and eagerly anticipating the next in the Black Dagger series, which, it seems, is due out in March of 2006. This book is defiantly a must read for fans of paranormal fiction! J. R. Ward could very well join the ranks of the most popular fantasy writers – after all, she does share initials with the likes of J. K. Rowling and J. R. R. Tolkien.
Reviewed by Janean Nusz
for The Road to Romance
December 19, 2005