The Black Dagger Brotherhood has been a series I have adored and hated at the same time. It started out strong and then about the time Phury got his story, I started to lose interest. The biggest problem with the last few books is the epic size of them and how many plot lines you have to follow. I finally gave up after The King. In The King, I basically skipped any section that didn’t directly deal with Wrath and Beth. I think there was at least one more book, maybe more, but I couldn’t get myself to care about this world any more.
Blood Kiss changed all of that and branches out into a new series called The Black Dagger Legacy. If you have dropped out of The Black Dagger Brotherhood series, you should be able to easily jump back in with this spin-off series. It is set at the same time period, but this particular book gives a look at the new generation that hasn’t been trained for the war between the Lessers. Rules have changed, lives have been lost and now we get to start back over in a way with what I loved about the series once upon a time.
Paradise, blooded daughter of the king’s First Advisor, Abalone II, is loved, but feels tied down with the traditions of old and the glymera. Joining the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training program seems like the logical idea. Right? She wants to learn to fight and be her own woman. Accepted into the initial program, Paradise is unprepared for the trials she must go through to make the final cut. Some of her fellow trainees are out for themselves, some have secrets and some just want to escape life that is going no where. Could she be the last woman standing…or even man for that matter?
Craeg is the one bump in her plans. She meets him when he comes in for an application to join the training program. He’s normal in appearance and fierce. A common citizen to her founding’s blood course through her veins. She can’t deny the attraction she has for him as much as he pushes her away. Is it just a walk on the dark side, the elusive need to be a bad girl or is it deeper? She holds close her secret of being from the glymera, not wanting the others to treat her any different.
Craeg for his part hasn’t had an easy life. Life was normal up until the raids destroyed his family. Bent on revenge, he is determined to shelf the attraction he feels for Paradise. One purpose, become a brother and seek out revenge on those who killed his father. With each step, he is drowning in her scent, lyrical voice and kindness to help others. Pushing her away seems logical, but is the very opposite of what his body is telling him.
Through their story, we get to also see Butch, the Dhestroyer, and his mate Marissa. Butch is off his game much of the story as he has put Marissa on a pedestal that she feels she can never climb down from. There is also a mystery dragging up old memories for Marissa that leads her down a path she never thought she would revisit. While this story is intertwined with Paradise and Craeg’s, it does naturally intersect and come to a conclusion together.
I appreciated the sort of reboot to the series and getting back to what it was all about without so many story lines dragging you this way and that. Paradise was a character I adored that kicked ass in a lady like way and never gave up. She went after what she wanted even though at times she was treated pretty badly. Craeg…well, I loved him and wanted to Gibbs smack him at the same time. He was rough with Paradise, which was fine, but he often rejected her after something she would do for him. Rebuffing her got old at times. Together, their story could have used a few more pages to work things out. It felt like the latter half of their love story was rushed.
Butch and Marissa’s story was spot on in the amount of time it took to get where you needed to be. I love Butch! He isn’t my favorite, but I love where he came from and how Marissa loves him deeply.
Rhage and Mary get page time through other characters. Never in their minds, just interacting. These two are part of my favorite characters and I can’t wait to read more about them in 2016.
Blood Kiss is a great addition to The Black Dagger Brotherhood and an awesome start for The Black Dagger Legacy.
Sophia Rose’s ReviewBlood Kiss by J.R. Ward
I was curious and had a certain amount of anticipation built up after reading the author’s post that with this spin-off series (or to be accurate- parallel, in between stories), the books were returning to feel of the earlier books of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. As I really liked those, of course I got excited. Not only does the author return to the style of only one or two plot threads and had a lot of Brotherhood moments (thank you, baby Jesus as Butch would say), but also it picked up what-happens after the HEA for one of the brothers and his shellan, Butch and Marissa. And also started to follow a whole new generation of fighters (and lovers, of course).
Now, while this is a ‘new’ beginning, I wouldn’t recommend jumping in here without having read most of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. The Brothers, the situation of the vampire world, other key players and situations are all coming into the series as an ongoing, assumed thing.
The story opens with Paradise, daughter of the King’s First Advisor and member of the aristocratic Glymera finishing up her work as secretary and ready to try out for the Brotherhood’s training school. Her dear father allows it because he wants her to know how to defend herself even though he is nervous about her in warrior training. Paradise has been shelter and feels the heavy burden of expectation from her rank. She doesn’t want an arranged mating or to be an ornamental shellan to some boring aristocratic male. She wants to be free and follow her own star. Paradise has no plans to fight in the war, but taking the step of joining the training school puts her on an adventurous path. That becomes even more of an adventure when her whole insides light up after encountering the aloof commoner, Craeg.
Craeg has no prospects after his family was destroyed in the killings by the Lessers. His father was a floor layer and that is the humble roots Craeg comes from. Being accepted into the Brother’s warrior training is his big chance. He will not be sidetracked even for the most beautiful, alluring female he has encounters. And this resolve grows more difficult each day. He wants Paradise so badly. But then he learns the truth and how deep and wide the gulf is between their situations.
Marissa is working at Safe Place and she is shocked out of complacency when a brutalized female mysteriously appears on the lawn and is dying. All the Brotherhood physicians are busy and so she must ask her estranged brother, Havers, to help. Marissa is affected by the unknown girl’s death, by seeing her brother care for a stranger when he doomed her to death by throwing her out of the house right before sun-up because Marissa was with the then human, Butch. All her feelings come boiling to the surface. But worse than those is the distance that is forming between her and Butch as both choose not to share with their mate what deeply affects them. Will what is left unsaid eventually break them apart?
Butch loves Marissa more than anything. She is his shining, pure light. He doesn’t want her to know about the shadows of him mind or the things that disturb him in his sleep. But Marissa is drawing away and keeping things from him. Has she woken up and realized what he already knows? That he’s not good enough for her? Butch might just have to delve into his deepest nightmares if he wants to keep his mate.
Alrighty, so yes, this was a reunion of sorts. I felt like I did back at the beginning when I was just encountering the Brothers and their new recruits. I wanted to cry a little when V and Butch return to the Pit and V uses the light in his hand to remove the lessers black blood from his body. I mean how long has it been since we saw that? Or to see the Brothers working to train the newest recruits in hand to hand and other defensive and offensive skills? Oh, and the mystery of the unknown brutalized woman with Butch and Marissa on the trail of the perpetrator was exciting.
As promised, the story stuck to two main couples. I could get used to this pattern of new younger couple paired with an older Brother and his shellan. The main younger couple are not entirely unknown. Paradise was a minor character in the BDB series and her story thread was already in motion. Her love interest was the unknown.
I was pretty much in hog heaven with this one with the exception of one thing. I’m not a Paradise fan. I didn’t have a love at first sight with her and I didn’t warm much from there. She’s a spoiled, self-absorbed rich kid, but also a warm, caring, vibrant woman (i.e. a normal person with flaws). I would have been alright, but I felt like she was a manipulator because her lies and her refusal to see there are repercussions for lies particularly to the people you claim to love. She does this with her father and she does it with Craeg and feels no responsibility when things go south as a result. It is Craeg who has to do the ‘I’m sorrys’ for getting the eensiest bit upset that he got lied to over something fundamentally huge. He tells her that he, as a commoner, could be killed or at the very least in heaps of trouble for taking an aristocratic daughter’s virginity so she goes off on him about discrimination. Really, Parry? Point flew right past her head because she was busy working up some anger because he was angry. He’s upset that she set him up for death if her dad gets angry enough, but her comeback is to tell him to get over himself in an ‘I am woman hear me roar’ speech. I will concede that he did have hang-ups about the aristos because his dad and several other commoners died partly because of their selfish actions, but knowing that he was already sensitive about her kind, she chose to seduce him without telling him the truth because she knew he wouldn’t sleep with her if he knew the truth. That is manipulation to me and is the opposite of love. Deep breath…gal hit a touchy spot for me- thus the tirade here.
So yeah, the Craeg/Paradise romance, eh. She didn’t seem ready for something deep and long-term so while I was okay with their passionate encounters, I was only meh on a romance. Now, that said, I don’t mind them together and I do like what they each bring to the table as part of the training group.
Then, there was Butch and Marissa. Sigh…loved. So loved this. This was all about a couple working through the grind of a long-term relationship and not just the explosive beginning. The love and fire is there though banked and now they have to wake up the fire and put the work in. Very satisfying and I loved how the author didn’t blow up some empty angst, but something real and complex that took some time to tease out.
“I love you, Butch,” she said. In the darkness, he knew she was looking at him and he f*** loved it. He wanted her undivided attention, craved it, needed it to ground him on some pathetic, talk-about-castrated level. But he would never demand that kind of thing from her- and for an impatient SOB, he was very, very willing to wait for it. God, when given freely? Her love, her focus was a gift, that, like her, never grew old to him. Closing his eyes, he felt how much she loved him- and it was funny, sometimes, when you were with a person for so long, married to them, living with them, moments like this were just as wondrous and magical as that incredible instant when ‘I love you’ had been said for the first time. “God, I love you, too.” The action plot and the suspense was good stuff. Was I ever stunned to discover who was behind that poor girl’s beating and death. Nicely done, JR! I can’t wait to see what comes next for the training group. They are quite the team of misfits that work well together. They are from the aristocracy and the commoners and they each have their own skill sets and secrets. And there is room for any additions that need to come along in the future. So, even though I got a hair up my nose about Paradise, I feel this book was an overall win and a breath of fresh air for the BDB world. I felt the book was energized and crisp and opens up the opportunity for more of the same. I recommend it for BDB fans in particular to take the time to read this offshoot, but also I’m putting in a plug to paranormal romance and vampire romance fans who haven’t tried the Black Dagger Brotherhood to add it to the list of reads. My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #415 PNR
New to Me #198 series
Latest posts by Shari (see all)
“I love you, Butch,” she said.
In the darkness, he knew she was looking at him and he f*** loved it. He wanted her undivided attention, craved it, needed it to ground him on some pathetic, talk-about-castrated level. But he would never demand that kind of thing from her- and for an impatient SOB, he was very, very willing to wait for it. God, when given freely? Her love, her focus was a gift, that, like her, never grew old to him.
Closing his eyes, he felt how much she loved him- and it was funny, sometimes, when you were with a person for so long, married to them, living with them, moments like this were just as wondrous and magical as that incredible instant when ‘I love you’ had been said for the first time.
“God, I love you, too.”
The action plot and the suspense was good stuff. Was I ever stunned to discover who was behind that poor girl’s beating and death. Nicely done, JR! I can’t wait to see what comes next for the training group. They are quite the team of misfits that work well together. They are from the aristocracy and the commoners and they each have their own skill sets and secrets. And there is room for any additions that need to come along in the future.
So, even though I got a hair up my nose about Paradise, I feel this book was an overall win and a breath of fresh air for the BDB world. I felt the book was energized and crisp and opens up the opportunity for more of the same. I recommend it for BDB fans in particular to take the time to read this offshoot, but also I’m putting in a plug to paranormal romance and vampire romance fans who haven’t tried the Black Dagger Brotherhood to add it to the list of reads.
My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.