Y’all, I’m giving it 4 pretzels.
Look, romance is not my jam. In life or in literature. But I gave Dark Lover by J.R. Ward a shot because one of my best gals recommended it.
Here’s the thing, I loved it. Ward’s (s)take on vampires was refreshing, new, and not at all glittery. Mad respect to anyone who can take a tired out trope like a vampire romance and make it new and exciting.
So, what’s it about? Well, basically, the king of the vamps is a moody, broody guy who has reluctantly agreed to look after his best vamp’s girl. Girl as in daughter. That’s right. Ward vampires can reproduce. And that’s not the only change she made. Vampires are born. As in they are born like humans, grow up human, and around their mid-twenties they shift. Some die trying, others make it out just fine. It’s wild. Before Dark Lover, I assumed you had to stand in an alley in the middle of the night hoping to be attacked by a vamp, but not attacked enough to die. Ward’s way seems better and much less scary. I mean, what if you think you’re being attacked by a vampire, but it’s just a Billy Riddle situation. More on him later
So, Wrath agrees, but it’s one of those things you agree to but assume you’ll never have to actually do anything. Like, LeRoux asked me if I’d go to her family Christmas celebration. I said yes because I know she’ll never actually go. Anyway, Wrath agrees and then Darius almost immediately dies. Womp-womp.
Okay, I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll stop there, but this book is brimming with interesting side characters. I mean, it’s basically the seven dwarfs of vampires. We have Wrath, Phury, Tohrment, Vichious, you get the idea. There’s a cop and a butler who is like if Lurch and Tim Gunn had a baby. It’s wonderful.
As much fun as the plot is, my favorite aspect of the book is Ward’s tweaks on vampire and vampire slayer lore. I told you we’d get back to Billy Riddle. Look, this book is full of vampires, weird monsters who live inside vampires, but nothing, and I mean nothing, is scarier than the vampire slayers. Again, I thought you were born into slayer-hood so you surrounded yourself with books, friends, and a refined Englishmen. You armed yourself with stakes, pleather pants, and a sharpened wit. You went out into the world hunting vampires, and sometimes dating them, to save the human race.
That is not the case with these slayers. They are terrible`. < That’s terrible with a little flare.
I found out this series has a whopping 26 books in it, and I am here for all of them. So, I guess, the take away is, don’t be a book snob. Try something new. Recommending books to people is hard. So, if you have a pal who wants you to read something, do them (and yourself) a solid and give it a shot. The worst that can happen is you don’t like so you have to sell your home and move to avoid telling your friend why you hate their favorite book. I’m kidding. That won’t happen. Probably.