Saturday, December 12, 2015

Blood Kiss (Black Dagger Legacy #1) by J.R. Ward: Review


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.

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About the Author:

J.R. Ward is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, including the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. She lives in the South her family.

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Review by Michelle:

Back to its action-packed roots, Blood Kiss introduces us to a brand new cast of fighters with plenty of our beloved Black Dagger Brothers mixed in. As promised by The Warden herself, this spin-off is a return to the simple Brotherhood days in which we focus on a core group of new recruits and a Brother or two here and there. In this case the Sox lovin', Lagavulin guzzli', designer duds sportin', Butch and his virtuous and noble shellan, Marissa, are in the spotlight. Brotherhood fans will be transported to the early days of the series as we catch up with Butch and V and watch Tohr and Rhage mentor and support the newbies all while experiencing the all of the ups and downs of budding love between Paradise and Craeg.

Just as the last training class gave us some of my favorite fighters and one of my very favorite couples of the series, Blay and Qhuinn, we are introduced to Paradise and Craeg whose instant attraction does not effortlessly morph into true love. Young love does not always come easy as independence, expectation, and obstinacy often get in the way. Creag has a heartbreaking back-story that leaves him with a burning desire for retribution and a bit of a lone wolf attitude. Paradise is destined for stepford wifedom but with an open mind, and an even bigger heart she sets out to assert her independence and throws caution to the wind when it comes to Craeg. Together Paradise and Craeg are a blazing inferno of passion and a force to be reckoned with.

The recruits soon learn that this training business is serious stuff (think vampire hunger games) as only the strongest will survive in the new program. Though there are no Lessers to be found this time around, J.R. Ward heaps on the pulse racing action and the edge of your seat suspense. The back and forth of the dual plot lines and impeccable pacing of the story will have you so thoroughly captivated, so utterly devoted to each and every word of this book, you are likely to lose yourself in this story resurfacing in the real world to find hours have passed without your knowledge and consuming your thoughts when you least expect it.

Spin-off or not, there is still plenty of Brotherhood action as Butch and Marissa's relationship hits a bit of a snag. Where there is Butch, V is never too far behind and I can never get enough of the antics that ensue when those two are around. As for Marissa, I have a new-found respect for the female who seems to have finally well and truly coming into her own in this book. Standing up for herself, taking charge, and asserting herself as more than just the delicate aristocrat in need of a protector, Marissa is no longer too pliant or shy to fight for what is important to her and will not stand to be coddled whether the protection comes by way of family, the glymera, or even her own hellren.

Although I am still an ardent fan of the original series and while I love everything going on with all of the Brothers, the Lessers, the Shadows, the Sin-eaters, the Chosen, the glymera, and The King, the return to a focus on the meat and potatoes of the romance between two new recruits as well as the nitty, gritty with one of the original brothers is a welcome break from the chaos that can come from following all the key players in the latest BDB books. Blood Kiss is the perfect start to the Legacy spin-off and the perfect addition to such a revered and adored series. Wickedly fun, feverishly hot, and positively enchanting, Blood Kiss is a must read and one of my favorite books of 2015.

*complimentary copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars

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