In my heyday of loving The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward, one thing always irked me. Granted, I spent way too much time thinking about the books and the characters, but I could never quite get over all the contradictions from one book to another. At first, I thought, how can this author not know her own series better? But as the contradictions piled up and the books continued to be published, I came to the conclusion that Ward does know the books, she just doesn’t care about the contradictions. She changes her backstory to match whatever she is currently writing with a half-assed (if any) attempt to cover up the changes. It drives me absolutely crazy. We readers aren’t stupid, but she just expects us to swallow the incongruities without question. And I did, again and again because I liked the characters so much that I just had to know what was happening to them, so I persevered….until I couldn’t.
My breaking point came in Lover at Last, which easily has the most glaring contradiction of all the Brotherhood books: the death/non-death of Qhuinn’s brother Luchas in book six, Lover Enshrined. To give the old memory a jog, that is the book where the lesser raids intensify and they start taking the Glymera right out of their homes. At this point, Qhuinn has been kicked out of his home for attacking Lash, and he and John are camped out waiting for lessers when Blay shows up with some bad news:
Blay’s eyes flicked to John before returning to their friend. “Your mother, father, and sister are dead. Your brother is missing.” (Lover Enshrined p. 378)
And in books 7 – 10, Luchas is never mentioned. The Brotherhood isn’t looking for him. His body was never found, so it goes to reason that he is still considered missing. But then along comes book 11, Lover at Last, and this eye-popping gem:
Then again, as far as anyone had known, the male [Luchas] had been killed in the raids along with Qhuinn’s mother, father, and sister…. There had been four bodies at the house – and Luchas had been among them. (Lover at Last 72%)
What the hell, Ward??? No attempt to explain the original “missing” status of Luchas; no explanation of Blay being the one who went into the home of Qhuinn’s family and identified the bodies (which comes up in book 11 but was never mentioned in previous books). Are we supposed to just pretend Luchas wasn’t missing all this time? Are we supposed to ignore this complete change of backstory and go along with whatever whim Ward is following now? It’s ridiculous!
After this unforgiveable contradiction, I decided to unearth my list of inconsistencies and publish it here in honor of The King, which will no doubt have plenty of contradictions as well.
Book 9 Lover Unleashed (Manny/Payne’s book)
Butch’s ability to dematerialize:
“Although vampires could…dematerialize, that was not in Butch’s repertoire.” Lover Unleashed page 109
But in book 6:
“When they both shook their heads, the king dematerialized along with Vishous, Butch, and Zsadist” Lover Enshrined pg. 473
Vishous borrows clothes/turtleneck from Butch, and they are too small. V calls Butch a “midget,” (Lover Unleashed 129) but in Book 4 right after Butch is changed, Phury and Z made a huge deal to V about how huge Butch was.
Z stared at the door. “That cop’s big, V. That cop is really big.” Lover Revealed p. 370
Uh, did he shrink in the last 5 books or something?
Butch’s drink of choice:
On page 154, Jose de la Cruz recalls walking into Butch’s apartment after he disappeared and seeing empty bottles of Lagavulin everywhere, but Butch didn’t start drinking that until he lived with the Brotherhood. And when de la Cruz walks into Butch’s apartment in Book 1, it is beer cans everywhere.
“There were empty beer cans on the table. In the kitchen, there were dishes in the sink. More empties on the counter.” (Dark Lover, page 384)
V’s partial castration:
On page 344, V states that all he’d said to Jane about his damaged body was “My father didn’t want me to reproduce.” However, if you read book 5, V actually tells her more than that.
Book 8 – Lover Mine (John/Xhex’s book)
John (to Xhex) names all those who know he was raped, except he never mentions Wrath who was told about it in book 6 (page 267) in order to save Qhuinn’s ass after he kills Lash.
Book 11 – Lover at Last (Qhuinn/Blay’s book
Ward has always made a big deal out of the fact that the vampires have no body hair (i.e. arms, legs are hairless). Even Butch loses body hair after his transition in book 4, yet in book 11, Blay is apparently the exception to this rule:
The pain that wafted out of Qhuinn’s body was so great, it changed the air temperature around him, lowering things until the hair on Blay’s forearms pricked from the chill. (Lover at Last [sorry, I don’t have a page number for this one, but it comes in Chapter 81, during the bar scene].
Am I being petty with that one? You’re damn right I am. I have an even pettier one too that has to do with the grammatical properness of Blay’s text messages, but I won’t even bother listing that one here. I just want some consistency in the rules that were established for this series, but I guess that is asking way too much!
There are plenty more contradictions where those come from, but frankly, at this point, I just can’t be bothered to look them all up. Perhaps I’ll do a follow up after The King is published and if I bother to read it. I’m sure that will have its share of contradictions as well, and I am sick of them. Does anyone else feel this way or am I just crazy? Feel free to share your thoughts or inconsistencies in the comments, and thanks for reading this ranting post.