Black Dagger Legacy #3
By: J.R. Ward
Narrator: Jim Frangione
Penguin Random House Audio | Random House Audio
Genre: Fiction – Romance – Paranormal – General
Release Date: January 09, 2018
I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
A vampire aristocrat, Peyton is well aware of his duty to his bloodline: mate with an appropriate female of his class and carry on his family’s traditions. And he thought he’d found his perfect match—until she fell in love with someone else. Yet when his split-second decision in a battle with the enemy endangers the life of another trainee, Peyton has to face the idea that his future, and his heart, actually lie with another.
Novo, as a female in the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training program, feels like she has to prove herself to everybody—and she has no interest in being distracted by falling in love. But when Peyton proves to be so much more than a rich playboy, she is forced to confront the tragedy that has broken her soul and closed her off from love.
As the two grapple with Novo’s past and Peyton’s present, another couple must contend with a connection that is unparalleled—and potentially scandalous. Saxton, who has had his heart broken, discovers in himself a deep-seated attraction to Ruhn, a new member of the household. But will the other male explore the connection? Or will he close his mind and his heart to what could be true love . . . and cost Saxton everything?
The BDB Legacy series is almost fresh and new. I care about the characters, and I admire how JR Ward gives couples of any sexual orientation equality so it’s not about gay vampire or straight vampires, just vampires with powerful love feelings, and a strong bent toward violence.
I believe there’s a mate for life component to the series and the species, but this series spin-off is changing the game, and maybe even the world-building. I don’t remember the vampires being able to switch their attraction to another. I thought once in love, it was biological imperative unless one’s mate passed. That seems to be different here.
It makes it uncertain and interesting; lends tension and a more human vampire. In this two vampire males discover, deeply, that their true loves aren’t gonna be theirs and furthermore they understand it is not unfair and doesn’t involve their own worth as persons.
Frangione is, for me, the voice of the series. I think he handles the variety of voices really well. He doesn’t voice the gay male characters any differently than the others – they aren’t played in a “campy” manner. And, his voice is low, velvety and mysterious.
This story advances the story of the new recruits and helps bring the species and series farther along. It’s inevitable that a species with a very “old-fashioned” social structure living amidst humans is going to have to change to survive. And, the previous generation set up the progress with both loss and lots of growing pains. As with humanity, war often changes society as social influencers are lost and new coalitions are formed. Wars can also throw societal injustice into relief. The war between the “Lessening Society” and the vampires caused vast change including the revelation and fall of the deities of the species. Playing “goddess,” the virgin scribe played with the lives of her children to learn about herself and sibling rivalry set up the entire war, grief and suffering. Learning that, had to have changed the way the leading vampires felt about their creator.
While, I am not saying this bound to become a series regarded as classic outside the genre, I do think there is something that makes this an enduring fantasy series. And the characters here, while a little extreme, did strike a heart-chord with me. I was a little shocked by the degree of desire to kill in both the older characters and the newer. Even when it is justice, at least in the vampire sense, it still felt callous.
A definite must read for series lovers but, probably not the best place to start the series.