Ugh, I started this book months ago but ended up skimming through the end last night. I just couldn't take another description of the forced and contrived tension between the main characters. I feel like my feelings about Twilight and this book are going to give people the impression that I hate Vampires, especially romantical ones, but that is simply untrue! I <3 Gail Carriger's "Soulless" delievered all the things this book tried for but failed to achieve.
Dark Lover by J.R. Ward
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Wrath, Rhage, Tohrment, even these character's NAMES make them sound like pro-wrestlers and the descriptions in the book "giant, towering, intimidating, scary, scarred, muscled, mountainous" don't help much. In fact, I kept picturing all of the Brotherhood as the pro-wrestler "The Undertaker" and all of the "lessers" as that kid in "Powder." That isn't even the worst problem with this book, but it certainly didn't help me get into the story at all.
So, basically Darius, an important Vampire/member of the Brotherhood (protectors of vampires from some arbitrary war with the vampire hunters known as "lessers") is killed by the lessers. As luck would have it, he'd just asked the leader of the Brotherhood/future king of Vamps, Wrath, to watch out for his half-human daughter, Beth. Darius never bothered to introduce himself to Beth, but we are supposed to believe he's always watched out for her and cared for her. Evidently daddy dearest watched her from afar as she went from foster home to foster home like a creepy stalker. In Ward's world vampires don't mature until their 20s when they become vampires...a transition which they may not survive. Her world building is pretty intricate and even involves a glossary at the front of the book (thank goodness.)
Things are complicated by the fact that Vampires only really get much nutrition from feeding from the opposite sex of their own species (which must be unpleasantly intimate for the gay vamps.) Most vamps have some sort of relationship with their feeding partner, but our kingy, Wrath, he just has never been much interested in his partner Marissa. Of course, his disinterest means Marissa is totes in lurve with his beefy self. But, Wrath meets Beth, Darius's neglected urchin of an intrepid reporter (of course) and he's instantly all hot in the pants for her. She's instantly all hot in the pants for him. They basically explode from overwrought metaphor. It is pretty gross and not sexy. Also the fact that Wrath is so damn intimidating that scariness roils off of him like tangible waves in all directions scaring Beth to bits just before they hit the sack the first time makes me cringe. And I'm not really sure why, but the Vamps are kind of wussy and die easily so why am I supposed to be all gushy about them in the first place? Way to ruin the appeal, J.R.
For some reason though I really liked the servant character Fritz though. I guess because he kept trying to help Beth make sense of the crazy-storm around her, which not a whole lot of anyone else did.
Seriously, do yourself a favor, skip this book and read "Soulless" by Gail Carriger or anything by Kelley Armstrong or early"Anita Blake" stuff by Hamilton instead.
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