Book Review: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing more than Wrath, the leader of The Black Dagger Brotherhood.

The only purebred vampire left on earth, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But, when one of his most trusted fighters is killed-leaving his half-breed daughter unaware of his existence or her fate-Wrath must usher her into the world of the undead-a world of sensuality beyond her wildest dreams.

Rating:

B

How to Write a Paranormal Romance

Step One : Create a Sue

This is a female lead that can either be a Mary Sue, a Jerk Sue, or a Sympathetic Sue. Just an FYI, most writers go with a Mary, as the ideal of women remaining virgins until they find “The One” is allegedly still vastly appealing to the masses. I suggest creating a heroine that’s never even been attracted to a man before. It makes it seem more like it’s fate when she meets the male lead and less like you’re trying to shove antiquated beliefs down your reader’s throats.

Step Two : Create a Ragebeast

Your male lead should be over six feet tall, have dark hair, tattoos and so much testosterone-inflated muscle that he has to walk through doors sideways. The less he talks, the better. In every scene that you’re tempted to give him dialogue, instead make him brood over something. You’re going for caveman here, modern women don’t want a partner that can communicate feelings or sympathize with emotions. We just want someone who can bench press twice our body weight.

If you really want to make us swoon, make him a prince too, or an uber-alpha, or a frigging king. That will fulfill the Princess Fantasy that half of us are infected with thanks to those assholes over at Disney.

Step Three : Make these two the exception to each other’s rules.

Emotionally cripple the male. He shouldn’t believe in love. Not until he sees your Mary Sue. When he finally lays eyes on her however, you can take that caveman frown and turn it upside down. I suggest blaring Foreigner’s I Wanna Know What Love Is on repeat while writing this scene as it will really help you capture the emotion your readers should be feeling at this point.

And remember that lack of attraction to the opposite sex you’ve afflicted Mary with? Well, when she lays eyes on your beast of a male lead her va-jay-jay should turn into the river Nile.

Step Four : The shmushing together of squishy bits

Sex. Add it. Lots of it. On a bed, in the bathroom of a club, a stairwell, an alleyway, you get the drift. Just know that the more you mix it up, the better. Repetition is the bane of the sex scene’s existence. Also, we’d really appreciate it if you could avoid using these phrases:

1. Slippery juices
• This brings up safety concerns

2. Clenching womb
• She’s having sex, not a baby

3. Pulsating sausage
• I like breakfast cooked, thanks

4. Squelch
• I shouldn’t have to explain this one

Step Five : Don’t forget the mystery!

As tempting as it may seem, you can’t just fill up three hundred pages with nothing but relationship angst because if you do I WILL people may hate you. You’ll want to add in an actual plot line to avoid that. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it sounds. Make up a creepy crawly bad guy, have him kill some innocent people and maybe torture a kid or rape someone and your readers will immediately hate him and get behind your MCs and their fight for ‘good’. You don’t even have to get that heavy with it. In fact, you can probably squeeze it in between your gymnastic-inspired sex scenes.

Step Six : Climax, the literary kind

Have the bad guy kidnap the heroine. Feel free to let him slap her around a little and hint at the terrible things he’s going to do to her but don’t get too carried away here as you may offend those with delicate sensitivities. Just before the villain can carry out these dastardly plans, have the hero save your Mary Sue. What? Well yes that’s a little damsel-in-distress-ish but trust me on this, everyone else is doing it too and no one’s complaining about it yet. You want readers or not, lady?

Step Seven : HEAs; they’re not just for fairy tales and contemporary romances

End your book on a high note. Your readers don’t want cliffhangers or dead male leads. They want to see a white dress or a bad guy with coins on his eyes because your ragebeast eviscerated him before rescuing the heroine and taking her back to his ‘lair’ to bang the hell out of her regardless of her emotional, mental or physical bruises.

One plus of going light on the plotline (like I suggested) is that it makes it easy to wrap things up in a nice little bow. You’re welcome.

Okay, so this all sounds rather critical, and I’ll admit, it is. I’m sure you’re wondering “So why the four stars?”. Well, in my opinion, this author takes all the themes I’ve mentioned and does them well, which makes for one entertaining and sexy read.


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