Thursday, December 3, 2015

Review: Blood Kiss

BLOOD KISS
Black Dagger Legacy #1
J.R. Ward
Paranormal Romance
397 pages
Signet
Available Now
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
The legacy of the Black Dagger Brotherhood continues in a spin-off series from the #1 New York Times bestselling author…

Paradise, blooded daughter of the king’s First Advisor, is ready to break free from the restrictive life of an aristocratic female. Her strategy? Join the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training center program and learn to fight for herself, think for herself…be herself. It’s a good plan, until everything goes wrong. The schooling is unfathomably difficult, the other recruits feel more like enemies than allies, and it’s very clear that the Brother in charge, Butch O’Neal, a.k.a. the Dhestroyer, is having serious problems in his own life.

And that’s before she falls in love with a fellow classmate. Craeg, a common civilian, is nothing her father would ever want for her, but everything she could ask for in a male. As an act of violence threatens to tear apart the entire program, and the erotic pull between them grows irresistible, Paradise is tested in ways she never anticipated—and left wondering whether she’s strong enough to claim her own power…on the field, and off.


MY THOUGHTS
Blood Kiss sees a return to the style that made the early books in the Black Dagger Brotherhood so addicting, Ms. Ward limiting the number of characters we follow to a delightful four rather than subjecting us to the character merry-go-round that has dominated the BDB series of late. Our time is spent divided between new couple Craeg and Paradise as well as Butch and Marissa–a beloved pair who had their happily ever after in book four of the original series–and Ms. Ward manages to make both couples shine equally, neither fighting for our attention but both keeping us rapidly flipping the pages until we sadly find ourselves at the end.

Revisiting a couple who've already had their time in the spotlight can sometimes be problematic, the feeling that new issues have been created simply for the sake of drama causing us to be a bit wary in the beginning, but Ms. Ward gives Butch and Marissa a realistic set of relationship difficulties to overcome in this spinoff. The two of them are still immensely happy together, but as can be the case with established relationships, making time for one another and communicating effectively amidst incredibly busy lives can be a challenge, and it's almost comforting to see familiar struggles reflected in a fictional romance. Nothing between them feels manufactured, and the way they face their problems as a united front brings a smile to our faces throughout.

Craeg and Paradise hold their own against romantic heavy-hitters Butch and Marissa, the two of them piquing our interest quickly as they face the gauntlet thrown down by the Brotherhood's training program and fight to prove themselves worthy. Craeg is a classic J.R. Ward alpha male, physically intimidating and sexually potent, but it's Paradise who ends up being a pleasant surprise. Given her gentle upbringing among vampire high society we can't help but wonder if she's going to be passive in nature despite her desire to join the program, but what we find instead is a young woman unafraid to put Craeg in his place when necessary and stand up for herself both as a trainee and a woman.

The mystery element surrounding a young woman brutally beaten to death could have benefited from more substance and a deeper exploration of the motivations of the guilty party when their identity is revealed, but that is a very minor complaint in an otherwise hugely successful first installment. J.R. Ward fans like myself will love every glimpse of Vishous, Rhage, Lassiter and a few of the other Brothers, their crazy slang and general badassery making us feel as though we've gotten back on a track we veered from drastically in the past few Brotherhood books.

Rating: 4/5
 

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This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

24 comments:

  1. Everyone seems to be reading Ward at the moment, oh well, me and pnr are not friendly at the moment

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    1. That's okay, maybe it will hit the spot for you eventually:)

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  2. Dude, I need to read the original series already. But I'm loving Paradise already.

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    1. I was a big fan of her Christy! She definitely held her own when Craeg went all "I'm not good for you" on her:)

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  3. I have the 4 first books for her BBD series but I haven't tried it yet so I should start with this one.

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    1. With the exception of John Matthew's book which I think is 8, the early books are my favorite. 1-5:)

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  4. Glad to hear that you really enjoyed the first installment of the spin-off! I love when stablished couples can be brought to the fore without adding unnecessary drama and presenting an united front!

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    1. Yes! I was a little worried that there would just be drama for the sake of drama, but their issues made sense I thought:)

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  5. Glad to hear that the original style has returned. Looking forward to reading this one. Lovely review

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    1. I'll give it to you this weekend:)

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  6. Glad this is getting back to it's roots. ;) Great review Jenny!

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    1. YES! I was struggling with the later books in the original series, and this felt like the early books did before too many characters came in and took over.

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  7. I am still going to wait on the library. Most reviews I have read said the main focus is on Butch/Marissa--as much as I like revisiting old romances I would prefer just to reread their book then have them take over someone elses. You said the new couple holds it own though so I will keep an open mind about it.

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    1. I thought it was pretty equal in terms of the two couples, I think Butch and Marissa feel like they have more presence because they're familiar, but I liked Craeg and Paradise together:)

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  8. I saw the positive review on Talk Supe as well. I find it interesting that it's a new series but with a big focus on the same characters. Well, at least some are the same. I guess a different plot arc through the series? I'm WAY behind on the BDB books. They got a bit long and wordy for me. But some day...

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    1. Set in the same world obviously so the characters from the original series are present, but this has a different focus. More internal if that makes sense - a focus on the training and the romance rather than the external war with the evil variety of vampire.

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  9. I haven't read any JR Ward, I don't know why and BDB is too far out there and people are complaining that it isn't fresh any more. I think this might be a good place to to start, right?

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    1. The BDB series is way over the top in terms of slang and the crazy possessiveness of the Brothers, but man I love it so much. It's like crack. The later books in the series haven't been working as well for me, but I loved the first 5:)

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  10. Glad to hear she's gone back to early BDB style! All those POVs of late have made my head spin.

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    1. YES! Way too many people in the later books, this felt like the romance, both of them, were the central focus again which was nice. The later books just have way too many characters to have the focus be on any one thing.

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  11. I haven't read anything by this author but I quite enjoy when characters from previous books or series make an appearance in new books. I love catching up with those old characters and I'm glad to hear that their story continued realistically in this book.
    Jenna @ Happy Indulgence

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    1. ME TOO! I had a lot of fun seeing the original Brothers pop in and out of this story:)

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  12. Ah this sounds so good but I need to read the BDB first! Eep the pressure!!

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  13. This sounds fantastic, Jenny! This is on my list of books to pick up today so I'm happy that it's been well-received so far.

    Great review!

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