Review: Blood Kiss by J.R. Ward

Posted March 22, 2016 by Lucy D in Audiobook, Book Reviews, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy / 2 Comments

Review:  Blood Kiss by J.R. WardBlood Kiss (Black Dagger Legacy, #1) by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Legacy #1
Published by Signet on December 1st 2015
Genres: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Pages: 397
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Jim Frangione
Length: 12 hrs 39 min

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

[box style=”rounded” border=”full”]I was torn between giving this a 3 or a 4. There is nothing wrong with the story, but we finally were getting new trainees into the BDB and unfortunately, this story was more focused on the Romeo and Juliet romance of Paradise and Craeg. It was one of the few times that the romance pissed me off. [/box]

The Brotherhood has literally opened the door to anyone who wants to train to become a Brother and the applications are flooding in, including one from Paradise, the only daughter of the First Advisor to Wrath. Paradise wants to be more than the pretty piece of fluff that the glymera would force her to be.

Most of the 60 applicants who arrive at the training center aren’t ready for the Brother’s trial by fire and most won’t be invited back for the actual training.  In fact, less than 10 of the original 60 will actually continuing in their training, but Paradise made it past the Brother’s initial test.  But just because you made it in, doesn’t mean you have what it takes to go all the way.  Paradise is in but she doesn’t want anyone to know that she is a member of the glymera or more particularly, who her father really is.  She doesn’t want to be treated differently by the other recruits.

Especially since Paradise is finding it hard to concentrate whenever fellow recruit Craeg is in the same room, and the same could be said for him.   But Craeg doesn’t want the distraction of the beautiful Paradise.  Craeg has plans of his own after he finishes his training that do not have anything to do with settling down and starting a family.  Craeg wants a little payback for the loss of his family during the raids.   He lost his family due to the action of the rich glymera family that protected themselves and left everyone else in the house to the Lessers.

While things heat up between Craeg and Paradise, things seems to be cooling between Butch and his Marissa.  They seem to be drifting apart.  Marissa is consumed by her work at Safe Place and is especially distracted after a woman comes in nearly unrecognizable after a severe beating.  It was so severe, Marissa needed to call her brother, Havers, in a desperate attempt to save the woman.  When all attempts her save her fail, Marissa is tortured by the fact that she was never able to obtain the woman’s identity.  While the Brothers keep the race safe from Lessers, the vampires don’t seem to have any type of justice system in place for investigating crimes such as was perpetrated on this woman and to find out who she was.  Marissa will turn to her hellren, former Cadwell Police Detective Butch O’Neal to help.

Butch will do anything for his Marissa, except let her come with him into the shady underworld that might just be where this mystery woman spent her last night.

Sometimes rating these books is hard to determine. There was nothing wrong with the story and it will be enjoyable to Black Dagger Brotherhood fans, but I was completely disappointed with the whole issues of the new recruits. First, why did it take so long for the Brothers to finally determine that they were outnumbered and that they better have more Brothers and since the Primale was no longer knocking up Chosen for more Brothers, you had to start training other strong members of the vampire society? I knew they had a problem from the first book.

Second, I understand that storywise J.R. Ward cannot tell the story of 60 individual recruits, but even the army doesn’t toss out willing recruits until they tortured them and trained them for several weeks to determine who can make it and who won’t. In this story, it is a B.S. attack by the Brothers on the unsuspecting crowd of untrained individuals that has them eliminating most of them quickly. The biggest B.S. and the only spoiler I will give you is that the doggen welcome the new recruits with food and drink while they wait for the Brothers to arrive which results in quick and painful food poisoning. Many of those unsuspecting recruits fall to the floor in cramped pain and can’t make it through the Brother’s test. While you don’t want to bother training someone who will only panic during a fight with the Lesser, you should give them some training and more than a case of food poisoning to see if they are worthy. Yes, the Brothers often fight while wounded. Yeah, yeah. I just think that training new recruits should fall somewhere between the Bloodleter’s training camp and the Brother’s I-don’t-feel-like-wasting-time-training-you-loser’s camp.

Then once we finally have narrowed down our 60 candidates to less than 10, you would think we would get into some interesting training and see what it takes to make a Brother outside of what we know from V’s recollection of the Bloodleter’s camp. Nope. Not really. We hear that they learn bomb making, and they do muscle torturing exercises in the gym, but we spend a good deal of time with Paradise and Craeg eye-fucking each other over the gym equipment, and Craeg getting into fights over Paradise. And my least favorite part has to be Craeg’s Officer and a Gentleman impression when he tells Paradise he doesn’t have time for her, he has to focus on his training because he has no place else to go.


This was one of those few books where the romance and the sex were annoying me since it was taking away from any opportunity we might have to learn about the recruits. Okay, the second spoiler I am going to give you is that after weeks of Craeg’s “I can’t touch you” because he starts to realize that Paradise is a virgin and he’s not good enough, even though Paradise tries to get Craeg to sleep with her, he finally relents and ends up taking her virginity in a nightclub bathroom. Oh, he is a romantic that Craeg. Something to tell the grandkids.

The issue between Butch and Marissa was more Marissa’s realization that Butch has her on a pedestal and has a true belief that a woman is a saint or a whore but she can’t be a mix. The clues start to indicate that the woman was at a sex club just before she came to Safe Place and Marissa insists on coming along (even though they really had no plan) but Butch won’t bring her to a seedy sex club because Marissa is too clean for that. I was quite offended when Butch finally relents and they both dress up in head to toe in creepy spandex-type outfits with gruesome masks and they are both drooling over each other. I like the stories where they dress up in gowns and suits for the sex club trip rather then the freaky outfits. Yuck.

There was too much drooling and not enough fighting in this BDB novel for my taste.

If there are any issues with names in my review, it is once again because I audiobook the BDB series rather than read it. In fact, next month we will discuss my first BDB read where I spent three minutes looking at the word “Xcor” trying to figure that out until I saw a reference to his deformed face. Since the narrator pronounces his name like “Score,” Xcor didn’t register with me at first.

Favorite Scene:

Paradise’s friend Peyton get into a fist fight with Craeg over Paradise.

Shaking herself, she lunged forward in another attempt to catch hold and slow things down, and she aimed for Peyton’s right arm, because all that nakey was way too much to handle–

Novo grabbed her and dragged her back just when she would have gotten hit in the face.

“Let ’em go,” the female said.

“Someone’s going to get hurt!”

“Better them than you,” Novo rolled her eyes. “Males are idiots. They’re just fighting for dominance. Personally, I’d rather save my energy for the real work, as opposed to this social-posturing bullshit.”

Paradise panted and cursed. “They’re going to get themselves kicked out!”

“If they do, that’s on them.”

Next to the combatants, Anslam laughed and clapped his palms. “Smack him like a bitch, Peyton!”

Paradise glared at the male. “This is not cockfighting, you know.”

“The hell it isn’t.”

Adding his name to her growing Jackass List, Paradise looked up and down the corridor. No one had come out of anywhere, but given the number of closed doors, that was not going to last–

Suddenly, Craeg changed places, grabbing Peyton by the shoulders, spinning him around, and shoving him up against the wall like he intended to break through the concrete with the guy.

“This is nuts,” a male voice drawled.

Glancing behind her, she saw Axe leaning against the doorjamb of the break room, his arms crossed over his chest, his expression that of someone watching paint dry.

Paradise narrowed her eyes at him. “You’ve got to stop this!”

One of his jet-black brows lifted. “Do I.”

“Yes! They’re going to get kicked out!”

“And that affects me how?”

She deliberately stopped herself from smacking that sardonic expression off his half-pierced face. “You’d want someone to help you.”

“I wouldn’t have picked a fight over you. No offense, but fucking you would be like having sex with a department-store mannequin. You’re beautiful, but going to be totally useless in the sack.”

Paradise’s jaw dropped open. “That is the rudest thing anyone has ever said to me.”

“Then you’ve led as sheltered a life as I thought. And whether you’re offended or not, the truth is what it is.”

Turning to Boone, She opened her mouth but he shook his head, all nope-not-me. “What is wrong with you people?” she demanded.

At least the fight was slowing down–oh, yeah, no, it was still going strong: Craeg grabbed Peyton around the waist and took him to the floor, the males grappling now, bare feet squeaking on the polished stone, palms slapping.

And that was when Butch and Rhage came storming down at the group.

Putting her head in her hands, she waited for the yelling to start. If this was anything like the human army she had read about or seen in the movies, they were probably all going to get punished for this. Maybe she would get thrown out for being a troublemaker, even though she had done nothing except make a nervous comment.

Maybe just Peyton and Craeg would get disciplined.

After either one or both of them were out of their body cast(s).

When the combat only continued, she glanced through her fingers at the Brothers. The pair of them were standing off to the side, watching the action, talking to each other. And then Rhage nodded…and they shook hands.

Paradise looked around at the other trainees–and found that everybody else had disappeared back into the sitting room.

It was sometime later that Peyton finally lost. One misplanned bead butt sent his forehead directly into the concrete floor. At which point there was a horrible sound, like a bowling ball had been dropped onto a slab of stone–and the guy’s body went lax as if his bones had been liquefied.

Craeg shoved him away and collapsed flat on his back, breathing hard, coughing, wiping blood out of his eyes.

“How much was it?” Rhage asked Butch.


“Damn, I though my boy was going to do better than that.” Rhage shoved his hand into his pocket and took out a black wallet. Withdrawing a bill, he slapped it into Butch’s palm. “We’re going double or nothing the next time one starts.”

Paradise recoiled as they turned away and walked off like absolutely nothing had happened.

“Are you kidding me,” she said under the breath.

She wanted to call after them that Peyton was still passed out cold–no, wait. He was groaning and rolling over onto his back.

At least he was alive, she thought as she walked over to him.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” she demanded. “You want to get kicked out?”

Granted, that threat would have had more teeth if their two professors had been doing something more stern than betting on the damn fight.

The two males looked up at her with lolling stares. God, they looked as bad as they had the night before–maybe even worse. Hell, they were both going to have black eyes, and Craeg’s lip was split so deep, he probably needed stitches.

“I’m…fine,” Peyton mumbled before spitting blood.

“Yeah,” Craeg lisped. “Just fine.”

Which came out something like Jusssth phine.

“Tell me,” she barked, “how many fingers am I holding up.”

Putting out her middle one, she gave the pair of jackholes a chance to focus on the fact that the was flipping them both off.

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2 responses to “Review: Blood Kiss by J.R. Ward

  1. Anne

    Loved the first couple of books but the BBD jumped the shark completely for me with Tohr and Noone’s story.

    • Lucy D

      I only got halfway through that book and tossed it. I got tired of their “don’t touch me” attitudes. Added to the world building inconsistency is now the in-between. I am sure Tohr wasn’t the only one holding onto his beloved’s memory and keeping her from the Fade. Love me but don’t love me too much or I can’t get into the Fade. I’ll wink out of existence because you can’t move on. What?

      In this one I wanted to see more training, more about what it takes to become a new modern Brother, rather than just the drooling on your fellow students. Paradise and Craeg weren’t the only ones eyeing each other up.