I simply can’t believe it’s been 10 years since I first read The Black Dagger Brotherhood. Isn’t it crazy how fast time flies when you’re “adulting”?
The first time I read this book I was only 31. My likes and interests were the same, but it was definitely a more idealized version of me. Baby Chick was only 6 years old, and I was a Goodreads newbie.
While writing the Top Ten Tuesday prompt “Books That Made Me Smile” I started feeling really nostalgic about the Brotherhood. This series was such an addiction to me a decade ago. I devoured everything and anything I could find. Back in the day each one of these characters had twitter accounts, and I was hooked.
It begs the question, how would I feel now. And that’s what brings me to this series.
Ten Years Later, Black Dagger Brotherhood edition.
Today, Dark Lover. Next Week…. Lover Eternal!
Dark Lover by J.R. Ward
Black Dagger Brotherhood #1
Penguin Group | September 6, 2005
Way back in 2010, when I was a starry-eyed young mother, I remember feeling lukewarm about the first book. I enjoyed it, but remember only giving it 3 stars.
Then I read it again in 2011, and 2012…
And, at some point I bumped it up to 4.
Since 2010 I’ve grown to understand the world in a much broader way. I’m not young anymore, or starry-eyed.
Our political climate today causes me as a reader to look harder, and recognize problematic areas. For instance, vampires pre-transition don’t feel sexual urges. Fine. I have no problem with that. Beth, however, was raised human. Yet, as a human who didn’t feel sexual urges she wondered if something was wrong with her. Rather than owning some dialogue about asexuals, her troubles are “cured” when she finds her “mate”.
Or, Doggen are a race of beings whose job it is to take care of the vampires. They are the aristocracy’s staff, of sorts. This is also fine. However, there was an undertone to Vampires and Doggen that reminded me too much of the Gone with the Wind rhetoric of “serving is how they feel worthy”. It’s not a partnership of two races, it’s almost petlike. The aristocracy offers their thanks to the Doggen, and they act as though they were given the greatest of gifts.
It made me feel icky.
So, adding all of those deeper thoughts to my reread, plus the fact that I can’t forgive JR Ward for Wellsie, I know already I won’t be reading the entire 19 book series again.
That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy my reread. I did. I’m not throwing my boxset of BDB in the donation pile just yet.
Fiction isn’t black and white, so I can’t write the entire series off. What I still enjoyed, and what will keep me reading, is the relationship between the Brotherhood.
Black Dagger Brotherhood was never special to me because of the romance, or the world. Frankly, a lot of that is cheesy. What is special about this series is the friendship between the men, and the how real they begin to feel for the reader. JR Ward dreamt these men to life, and she put everything into each of their distinctive personalities and histories.
It’s also how you become hooked. You read Dark Lover and you get just enough about Rhage and Zhadist, Butch and Vishious, and you want more. You want to read about these guys, in an almost alarmingly addictive way.
The first time I read this series the plot invaded my own dreams, and despite all my problems, it happened again last night.
Ten Years Later.