From BDB to Dead To Me

kingThe Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward has become the Black Void Brotherhood. As in my interest in it has been sucked into a black void of bad writing, unbearable characters, and terrible plot lines, and there’s little hope of my interest ever seeing the light again.

This series started out so well. A fresh take on the boring, clichéd vampire genre. Strong, interesting characters, both male and female, vampire and human. The first five books in the series were excellent, and even though I have never particularly liked Phury, even his book (#6 in the series) was good and advanced the storyline.

Then came Lover Avenged, and I thought to myself, “Why are we getting a book about Rehvenge?” Especially at that point because we were deeply embedded in the storyline of John, Qhuinn, and Blay. It wasn’t like Rehvenge was going to become a brother. Yet, Lover Avenged did advance the storyline for Wrath and Beth and for Qhuinn and Blay and John and Xhex. So, despite my questioning the main character and the introduction of his love interest who seemed generic and dull, the book fit with the series and was followed by John’s book, Lover Mine, which was good though a tad lengthy.

After that, things started to roll downhill quite rapidly with Lover Unleashed and the story of Payne or as I like to call her Pain because she is painfully annoying, and I hate reading about her. Even worse is Manny. Oh, I cannot stand that character. I think I made it halfway through the book before I started skimming the Manny/Payne scenes. And as if those two weren’t enough to make me want to hurl the book across the room, we were introduced to Xcor and his Band of Unnecessaries. The only reason I even made it through book 9 was because of the Butch/Vishous and Qhuinn/Blay storylines.

Book 10 focused on Tohr, you know that guy so dedicated to Wellsie that after her death he disappeared, abandoning his newly adopted son and leaving his brothers in limbo about his fate while wanting nothing more than to die and join her in the Fade? Well, he certainly got over Wellsie quickly. Lover Reborn bogged down in poor storylines and boring characters. No One was just about the dullest character ever put on a page. Total waste of ink. I did not understand Tohr’s attraction to her at all, and she was certainly not a strong enough woman to help him overcome the loss of his shellan. I also thought Tohr transformed into a major ass in this book, and I really lost any interest I had in him. Again, I soldiered on because I knew that reading Lover Reborn would get me closer to what I really wanted.

Which was Lover At Last! At last (and, yes, the Ella James song is playing in my head right now), my favorite guys were getting their own book. A love story about Qhuinn and Blay. Their suffering makes Romeo and Juliet look like a Disney movie, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on their book. I “liked” J.R. Ward on Facebook just to read all the pre-release quotes. I saw the word count and squealed, foolishly  thinking I was about to read 696 pages about my favorite Ward characters. And was I right? NOPE. Big fat no. Instead, I had to wade through pages about Assail and Sola. Who the hell are these people? Oh right, didn’t Assail have something to do with the assassination attempt on Wrath in book 10? Right, so what is he doing in Qhuinn and Blay’s book and why do I care? Oh right, I DON’T! Skipped those pages only to encounter chapters about Trey. I have nothing against the Shadows, but do I really need to read about Trey’s sex addiction problem or whatever the hell it was? Do I care about Xcor? No. So much of this book was dedicated to other characters that Qhuinn and Blay’s story took a backseat to everything else that was going on. It was such a letdown that I couldn’t even write a proper review about. Lover at Last was probably the most anticipated book ever for me, and all it left me was wanting a rewrite of the entire thing. (In fact, if you go to goodreads.com and search for Lover at Last, check out the review by Mel posted Dec. 4, 2013. It is the most spot-on review, and I agree with 99% of it).

So with my interest in The Black Dagger Brotherhood on life support, I kept hope alive and pre-ordered book 12, The King, which is supposed to be about Wrath and Beth. Yet, according to Ward’s daily and downright annoying posts on Facebook, the book is instead about Sola, Assail, Xcor, Lassiter, and probably a bunch of other characters I don’t give a damn about. So, I have canceled my pre-order of The King and stopped hoping for the series to become as good as it once was. I am tired of the parade of new and boring characters, tired of the constant contradictions in the plot, tired of the changes in backstory just to accommodate some new plot twist, and tired of missing the original characters while having these lackluster filler characters taking up way too much ink.

Stick a dagger in me, I’m done.

Review of Secret (Elementals # 4) by Brigid Kemmerer – reposting for Netgalley

In honor of Netgalley approving my request to read Secret, I am reposting my review.

Here is my review of Secret, the 4th book in The Elementals series by Brigid Kemmerer.secret-1-695x1024

But IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE FIRST 3 BOOKS AND THE NOVELLAS…

STOP!

Stop reading this post, go buy the books, then call in sick to work or school, lock your doors, turn off your phone, ignore your inbox, and start reading. When you are finished, then come back and read this blog.

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS (ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVEN’T READ BREATHLESS).

You’ve been warned 😉

Nick Merrick has a secret, a secret so big he lives in total fear that his brothers will find out what he is hiding. The stress is tying him in knots, while his potential boyfriend is making him come undone. It’s a battle that unfurls into all out war, and it’s a guessing game as to who will be left standing when the final page is turned.

I literally couldn’t put this book down. The pace was terrific without feeling rushed, but also heightened enough during the fights that I couldn’t read fast enough to find out what was going to happen.

Kemmerer deals with a sensitive issue in this fourth installment of The Elementals Series, and she handles it with sensitivity and dignity and in a way that the reader feels every emotion that Nick feels. Kemmerer portrays Nick’s struggle so well and so realistically. I have read so many LGBT books where the character realizes he is gay and five pages later he is totally fine with it and is in a great relationship ten pages later. I hate those books. So unrealistic, but Nick’s fear of coming out to his brothers is so real, so tangible. I could feel it in every page and every thought he had. And the tension doesn’t stop when the secret comes out. I loved Michael’s reaction and Chris??? OMG, if I knew how to insert GIFs, I’d have little bursting hearts all over this review. And when a reader feels an irrepressible urge to punch a fictional, nonexistent person in the face, you know that is some damn good writing. Kemmerer stays true to the characters her fans have come to know and love. Their strengths, weaknesses, triumphs, and failures are laid out for us to see from one chapter to the next.

But just because Nick’s secret was revealed in Breathless, don’t think that Secret doesn’t have plenty of surprises and OH MY GOD moments. A complete jerk and an enemy of the Merricks becomes a well-rounded character who develops into someone the readers can relate to and sympathize with. One of the biggest surprises for me was Quinn. I confess I have never liked her. I thought she was an obnoxious, reactive drama queen and I hated that sweet Nick had started dating her. I have to admit, I am still not crazy about her, but after Secret I do have sympathy for her and the terrible abuse she has suffered from those who should love her the most.

Kemmerer once again takes characters that could be flat and forgettable and turns them into these amazing (fictional) people who tug our heartstrings and make our eyes leak, and she leaves plenty of questions for upcoming Elemental books (notice I used plural because I am hoping, praying, pleading that Michael’s book is not the last in this fresh, original, excellent series).

Pre-order this book now and have the tissues handy! And if Nick’s self-doubt and pain don’t move you, go to a doctor and get your humanity checked. This is going to be on every Top 10 YA and paranormal must read list of 2014!