"You Feel Me?"

7 Nov

or: “Some Comments about J. R . Ward’s “Black Dagger Brotherhood” Series

I finally broke down and ordered J. R. Ward’s first Black Dagger Brotherhood novel Dark Lover even though nothing screams louder sequel baiting than this series. From the start it’s clear that there’ll be (a lot of) sequels.

Anyway, I ordered the next two right after I finished the first one. I did that despite the (many) problems I had with the first one. Why? I liked the broader focus of the story. I enjoyed the sheer craziness of the over-the-top emotions. And yes, the sequel baiting worked.

The problems I had with Dark Lover are also there in Lover Eternal
and Lover Awakened. And still, I plan to get the next one. Apart from asking myself “How crazy can you be?” I have to admit these novels are possibly the closest I come to guilty pleasure reads at them moment. It’s the emotional, the over-the-top factor, I think. Ward pushes all the buttons there – and then some more.

Instead of repeat the common problems in every comments about the novels, I get them out of the way here. In no particular order:

  • the side line heroines: The novels so far have been very hero-centric. The heroines (and their problems) remain on the side. Some of this can be explained by Ward’s world building – traditional, patriarchal – and the uber-alpha nature of her heroes. Combine this with the hero’s problems and issues and there is not much room for other characters and their problems right from the start of the story. The women (the humans, anyway) drop from the face of the earth after they’re introduced to the Brotherhood and nobody wonders about that or misses them because, conveniently, these heroines didn’t have much connection with other people to begin with. In a way, they go from being independent to dependent because – after they’re the mate of a Brother – it seems their sole purpose it to wait for their mate to come back home.
  • the names; also known as the “Hs”: I think there is some reason for the “Hs” but I don’t care. There isn’t much information about the names in the novels to begin with, and it’s not as if the names without the “Hs” wouldn’t be corny all on their own. With each novel, the “Hs” seem to spread: a lot of words, not just the names, get extra Hs. And as irrelevant as it is: shouldn’t it be “nheeding”?
  • the slang: These vampires are hundreds of years old. And they are supposed to be into something which is a rather new and modern way to speak? And mostly, I think, by young people? Maybe as a joke, from time to time, but all the time? I think not.
  • the music: I just can’t shake the feeling that Ward tossed in the Rap/ Hip Hop references in because this kind of music is generally associated with certain images. The problem is the same I see with her use of slang: would beings who’re around for hundred of years seem so “rootless” in their music preferences? I mean, I’m in my thirties and I admit that I’m heavily influenced by what I listened to in my younger years even though I like to listen to other stuff now, too. But I see no reflection of this in Ward’s use of music. My impression is, the music is chosen for the sake of the image it’s associated with and not tied to an believable development of taste. It just doesn’t fit with other characteristics (mainly being several hundred years old). It’s superficial. Mind, I don’t say I can’t believe they would listen to it but to embrace it so wholeheartedly and solely? I think not.
  • the juvenile behaviour: Seriously, no matter how hard I try, I just can’t see some of the Brotherhood’s antics as an outlet for all the stress and tension in their life. It seems as if the transition puts a stop on their (emotional) development, there’s a lot of angsty teenage stuff going on. With an age of several hundred years that seems just bizarre. Or maybe it’s just something like one hundred years for them corresponds to a decade for a human?
  • the lessers: Now, this is a serious flaw. This series is connected by the ongoing battle between the members of the Brotherhood and the lessers (or the epic battle between the Scribe Virgin and the Omega). But I get no sense of an ongoing battle and no sense of evil and danger here. The leadership of the lessers seems to change constantly, and the description of the Omega as the ultimate leader of them is fuzzy and not very intimidating.
  • the “logistics”:
    1) The lessers are only known by capital letters. Does this mean there are always only 26 lessers in the world? If not, how do they prevent confusion?
    2) How many albino, powder smelling people can you have running around a town without them getting noticed? From the body count in the three novels published there were quite a few in Caldwell (maybe even more than 26) and nobody remarks about it? I never saw even one with an “albino look” and I live in a bigger city than Caldwell is supposed to be (I think, at least).
    3) Do vampires live just in Caldwell? Because (as far as I see) only the members of the Black Dagger Brotherhood are warriors and are able to fight against the lessers. If there are vampires in other countries (I expect that very much), don’t they need protection, too? Or is Caldwell the only town with lessers? (I don’t think so).
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5 Responses to “"You Feel Me?"”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. J. R. Ward - "Dark Lover" « Books and Games - Saturday, October 18, 2008

    […] also “You feel me?” for more […]

  2. J. R. Ward. - "Lover Eternal" « Books and Games - Saturday, October 18, 2008

    […] also: “You Feel Me?” Would I recommend this novel? […]

  3. J. R. Ward - "Lover Awakened" « Books and Games - Saturday, October 18, 2008

    […] also: “You Feel Me?” Would I recommend this novel? […]

  4. J. R. Ward - "Lover Unbound" « Books and Games - Saturday, October 18, 2008

    […] This one is still more or less valid except that I the names and the strange spelling bother me only rarely now. […]

  5. J. R. Ward - "Lover Revealed" « Books and Games - Saturday, October 18, 2008

    […] and the other elements was just right and I wasn’t as annoyed as in the previous novels about certain things. Also, I was not tempted once to skip ahead as I was in the other novels, although I still skimmed […]

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