Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider’s Guide

Title: The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider’s Guide
Author: J. R. Ward
Publishing Date: October 2008
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: N/A
Sensuality: N/A

This really isn’t going to be a book review, but more of an informative collection of my thoughts. For those of you who are fans of Ward’s Black Dagger Series, hopefully this post will help you determine whether or not it would be worth your while to purchase it.

First up, the Guide is actually pretty hefty, weighing in with a whopping total of 474 pages. The book is trade paperback size and actually has a small font. I’m going to guess it’s a 10 font. So, as you can surmise, there is quite a bit of reading material for fan perusal.

I will list in order the Guide’s table of contents and comment briefly about each section.

Novella, Father Mine: This short story features Zsadist’s struggle with becoming a father and accepting that he is good enough for Nalla and Bella. I thought it was fine. Zsadist isn’t my favorite brother, but he doesn’t get on my nerves either. Fans of Zsadist, I am sure will enjoy Father Mine, while those of you who are sick of Zsadist should probably just stay away.

The Brotherhood Dossiers: There is a dossier for each of the six books currently published. It starts out with a fact sheet about the brother featured in the book. Then there is a questionnaire that the brother filled out. Ward also interviews the brother. Then she talks about the writing process for the book and her favorite or not so favorite parts. This was actually quite enlightening. She lets the reader get a feel for how she developed the stories and what her writing process is like.

For those of you who are thinking of writing your own book, this section is a must for you. I think you will find it very interesting. Also, for fans who were disappointed with the direction certain books went or didn’t go, she addresses these issues as well. I found some of her rational and answers to these fan complaints to be less than stellar and a little on the weak side. But still, it was interesting to read about.

Tips for writers and the original proposal: I can’t really comment on this section because I didn’t read the writer tips. I just skipped right on by it since I don’t plan on being a writer. I did read the proposal. Ward puts in the guide exactly what she sent out to publishers. So again, it is very interesting to see the beginning product and what it eventually evolved into.

Deleted Scenes: There are five of them. They were all good. The deleted scene from Lover Enshrined, with Phury and Cormia, I think I liked better than what was in the book. Go figure.

Kicks and Giggles: This section is where Ward takes her favorite lines from each of the six books. They are fun to read through and make me want to read these books over again.

Brothers on the Board: She has recreated the message board posts that occurred when the brothers posted in the past. She also has the posts that pertain to Lassiter. I am not a member of Ward’s message board, so reading through all of these was new to me. I also want to mention the character Lassiter. Some people have criticized Ward for Lassiter’s appearance on the message boards and then his surprise appearance in Lover Enshrined. Lassiter was a surprise to those readers who aren’t a member of Ward’s message boards (me included).

In the book, Lassiter’s appearance raised more questions than answers. At least this was the case with me. After reading Lover Enshrined I was confused as to his identity and his relationship with the brothers. After reading the message board posts involving Lassiter, I am still confused as to his identity and his relationship with the brothers. But now I think this is exactly what J. R. Ward wants. It seems to me his background is supposed to be a mystery and one that will hopefully be revealed in upcoming books.

Slices of Life: These are brief scenes that Ward posted on the message board. One is movie night. Another one (and personally my favorite thing out of the guide) is a scene with Wrath. He has been feeling weighed down by his kingly responsibilities and feels he is losing the warrior in him. Whoa buddy! That was a steamy excerpt! There are a few more, but I’m not going to go into detail about them.

Question and answer with J. R. Ward: Here Ward answers questions that readers have asked her over the years. At this point in the guide though, I found it somewhat redundant. It’s also relatively brief.

Then there is a brotherhood timeline, a table of abbreviations and a listing of the Old Language alphabet.

The Brothers Interview J. R. Ward: It is exactly what the title says it is. At this point in the guide, I have come to the conclusion that Ward eat, sleeps and drinks the brotherhood. Quite frankly, I don’t know whether I should be disturbed or fascinated. The way she describes these figments of her imagination and brings them to life takes an immense amount of talent. In my mind, she has created a captivating series. I have really enjoyed these books (with the exception of Vishous’s book, but I am not going to get into that right now).

In Memoriam: This is a brief scene into the life of Tohr and Wellsie that takes place between Lover Eternal and Lover Awakened.

Last but not least the guide ends with an excerpt from Lover Avenged.

Well, that about sums up the guide. Now, I have the distinct urge to go and reread this series beginning with the book that started it all, Dark Lover. **


LesleyW said...

Thanks for writing this post. I've been kind of umming and ahhing over whether or not to get it. And I think you've helped me to decide yes. :)

nath said...

Hey Jill!! That's an interesting review :) although I gave up on this series, I'm glad you're still enjoying it and you thought the insider's guide was worth it :)

Tracy said...

Oh I really liked this entire book. I loved getting into her brain (as a reader, not a writer) to see what she thought about each book while she was writing it.

Good summary.

Jill D. said...

Hey Leslie, I am so glad I could help you with your decision. That was exactly my goal :)

Thanks Nath, I haven't quite given up yet. The only book I really haven't liked was Vishous's story. Other than that I am still on board and hopefully will be for a while.

Hi Tracy, I would never have been as interested in this book as I was if I hadn't read your post. So thank you for that. I really found the whole book very interesting and I think readers and writers can get something from it.