(The Next Generation of Vampire Warriors): Blood Kiss by JR Ward

(The Next Generation of Vampire Warriors): Blood Kiss by JR WardBlood Kiss by J. R. Ward

Published by Hachette on December 1st 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, General, Love & Romance, Paranormal, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 496
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought for Myself
Goodreads
four-stars
The legacy of the Black Dagger Brotherhood continues in a spin-off series from the #1 New York Times bestselling author... Paradise, blooded daughter of the king's First Advisor, is ready to break free from the restrictive life of an aristocratic female. Her strategy? Join the Black Dagger Brotherhood's training center program and learn to fight for herself, think for herself...be herself. It's a good plan, until everything goes wrong. The schooling is unfathomably difficult, the other recruits feel more like enemies than allies, and it's very clear that the Brother in charge, Butch O'Neal, a.k.a. the Dhestroyer, is having serious problems in his own life.   And that's before she falls in love with a fellow classmate. Craeg, a common civilian, is nothing her father would ever want for her, but everything she could ask for in a male. As an act of violence threatens to tear apart the entire program, and the erotic pull between them grows irresistible, Paradise is tested in ways she never anticipated--and left wondering whether she's strong enough to claim her own power...on the field, and off.

With the Lessening Society waging war against the vampire society, it’s time for the Black Dagger Brotherhood (BDB) to start training a new generation of warriors. And for the first time in history they are opening their doors to more than just well-bred males. Paradise wants more from her life than needlepoint and being told who to marry. When the opportunity comes for her to train and learn to protect not only herself but all vampire kind – she fights for her chance to be accepted into the BDB training program. The attraction she feels towards fellow trainee, Craeg, is immediate, intense and reciprocated. But no matter how strongly Craeg feels towards Paradise, he will not risk romance for his position in the program. Will the two trainees sort out their feeling before an unknown threat threatens to tear them apart forever…

Blood Kiss is a great addition to the Black Dagger universe. The first book in a new series focusing on the new cohort of trainees, Blood Kiss is a mix of the old with a dash of the new. Despite this book being the first in a new series, it isn’t a standalone. There is so much from the Black Dagger Brotherhood series being referenced throughout the book. From little things like Paradise and Craeg’s first meeting which occurred in The Shadows (BDB # 13) and other small details but also huge things like the romance between Butch and Marissa which came to its own in Lover Revealed (BDB #3).

It is an interesting book for a few reasons. In many ways it feels like a throw back to the beginning of the series before the Sympaths, the Shadows and all the other different sects of the paranormal community co-existing in these books all started making life more interesting for the Brothers. It’s a simpler story-line than the more recent BDB books with almost all of the plot revolving around either Paradise and Craeg’s situation or Butch and Marissa’s relationship.

I didn’t understand why it is being branded as being the first in a new series when it is so interrelated with the original BDB series. Yes, this series is going to focus on the BDB Legacy – the new trainees who will learn how to be the next generation of BDB warriors. But considering that was what John Matthew (from Lover Mine, BDB #8), Qhuinn and Blaylock (from Lover at Last, BDB #11) were when we first met them, I don’t quite understand why the pseudo spinoff.

This is Butch and Marissa’s sequel in many ways with much of the novel devoted to showing us their relationship now they had their mating ritual and how happily-ever-after looks for them now. Their drama mixed well with the introduction of the new trainees and highlighted the differences between their established relationship with Paradise and Craeg’s turbulent romance. Scenes between both couples were sweet, romantic, steamy and at times full of all the delicious dangerous drama readers love to experience from a JR Ward novel.

Blood Kiss is a must read for fans of the original Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Dark sensuality combined with deadly danger and passion, this book is a great new direction for the BDB universe. Combining new characters with old favourites,  Ward breathes new life into the world these vampires live in. With more focus on the characters and less drama revolving around the Vampire war and their enemies, this book has less complicated world building than the newest BDB releases and focuses more on the romance and relationships between the characters. After reading Blood Kiss I’m excited to read about the rest of the new trainees in the next instalments of the Black Dagger Legacy series.

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