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Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 1)

Dark Lover - J.R. Ward A couple of months ago, I discovered the Kresley Cole paranormal romance series, "Immortals After Dark," while browsing on Amazon. I had not read this genre before, but with the many positive reviews, I purchased A Hunger Like No Other (Immortals After Dark, Book 1). I loved it. The story was exciting, the mythology was interesting, I felt for the characters, and the sex was incredibly hot. I quickly devoured the remaining books in the series, and when I finished them all, I looked into other highly-rated paranormal romances. Dark Lover was the first one I tried, and I was very disappointed. I hope it's not unfair to compare the two series, but in my view, Ward's writing does not hold a candle to Cole's.

My main problem is the men of Dark Lover; they are not strong, masculine heroes, and no romance will work for me without that very basic aspect. They dress head to toe in leather, which I know was written to be sexy, but all I could think of was The Village People. (On a side note, don't most vampires want to stay hidden from humans? Is a group of enormous men dressed like they are ready to bust out with "YMCA" at a moment's notice supposed to help with that?) There's also a scene where a burly, macho, violent cop, unsurprisingly named Butch, confronts the vampire brothers at their home. There's a lot of posturing and taunting, and a threat to come after one's wife and "do her a couple of times." This descends into some gay panic-type comments including: "I'd watch my mouth, if I were you." "Why bother, when you're keeping an eye on it for me? You gonna kiss me now?" None of this is remotely hot, and it's not the way confident, masculine men should talk. They sound like 13 year old punks.

A couple of scenes that made me laugh included one where the macho cop is primping for a date: "He wanted to be fresh as a daisy for her. He really did." Fresh as a daisy??? Ugh. A cheesy wedding features singing and chanting by the black silk-clad male vampires, and the revelation that the toughest, scariest one has "the voice of an angel."

The centuries-old vampires inexplicably speak like high school kids from a bad 80's movie. "Yo, you feel me?" "I can deal." "That is one fine female, true?" (Hey, at least he didn't say "true dat"!)

I could not get lost in the story when I found myself cringing on every other page. A couple of reviewers promise that the the sequels improve. I hope so - I love this genre, and I want to give it one more shot. I hope Ward does not disappoint. Yo, you feel me?? :)