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The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider’s Guide

J. R. Ward

Published 2008             469 pages

Summary (from the book jacket)

Prepare to enter the dark, passionate world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood and get up close and personal with the brothers….

You’ll find information on the Brotherhood, including their dossiers, stats, and special gifts.  You’ll read interviews with your favourite characters including a heartbreaking conversation with Tohrment and Wellsie, conducted three weeks before she was killed by lessers. 

You’ll discover deleted scenes – accompanied by the whys behind the cuts – in addition to exciting material from the J.R. Ward message boards and the answers to questions about the series posed by readers.  You’ll learn what it’s like for J.R. Ward to write each instalment of the series, and in a fascinating twist, you’ll read an interview with the author – conducted by the Brothers.

For the first time ever, you’ll see an original novella about Zsadist and Bella, and witness the miracle of their daughter Nalla’s birth and experience the depth of their love for each other.  Also, you’ll receive a sneak peak at the much anticipated next book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, Rehvenge’s story.

The Review

The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider’s Guide is the latest offering in J.R. Ward’s hugely popular Black Dagger Brotherhood (BDB) series.  After writing six bestselling paranormal romances about the Brotherhood, a band of living vampire warriors fighting to protect their dwindling race from the evil Omega and his lessers, the time has come for a guide to the series so far.

If you haven’t yet read the first six BDB books then be warned that the Insider’s Guide contains complete information on all six books, including all the major plot twists and all the endings.

The Insider’s Guide is a large format paperback book and weighing in at nearly 500 pages (of fairly small print) contains a wealth of information about the Brothers, the BDB series, J.R. Ward and J.R’s writing processes.  While it isn’t necessarily a book that you would read cover-to-cover like a novel, I have found it to be a very readable book.

The major selling point of this guide for a lot of readers will be the Father Mine novella.  This is an original 80 page story featuring Zsadist, Bella and their newborn child Nalla and gives readers an insight into the lives of Zsadist and Bella after the events of Lover Awakened ended.  Since anyone who has read Lover Awakened could never doubt that Bella and Zsadist were meant to be together forever, there is a distinct lack of romantic tension in this story - although it does offer a glimpse of their everyday life together as a couple.  Father Mine is a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours but lacks the big emotional punches of Lover Awakened.

For me the best part of the Insider’s Guide is the Brotherhood Dossiers.  Here J.R gives the stats for each brother, makes them fill out a questionnaire and interviews each brother in turn.  I love this part of the Guide.  The personality of each Brother makes each Dossier a completely different proposition.  In addition to this she also describes in depth the writing process of each book which gives a fascinating insight into both her creative processes and her craft as a writer.  While each book is part of the series and has series consistency, each book also has its own unique flavour (for lack of a better word) and the reasons for this become apparent here.

Anyone interested in creative writing, whether they like the paranormal romance genre or not, can learn plenty about the creative writing and editing process.  In a section for writers she covers FAQs about getting published and has also included a copy of her original proposal for Dark Lover (which is interesting reading for would-be writers and fans of the BDB series alike.)

With deleted scenes, an abbreviation guide, “Kicks and Giggles” a collection of the most humorous parts from the novels and a handy BDB chronological timeline there is something here to appeal to everyone.  There is also some material from the BDB forum collected here in one place which is handy since the BDB message boards are gargantuan and finding specific information can sometimes be hard. “Slices of Life” are a must read…

The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider’s Guide is the best series companion guide that I have read in a long time.  The depth of real, relevant information it contains is not only huge but it is the kind of things that readers will actually be interested to know.  The Insider’s Guide would make a great gift for any BDB fan.  If you can’t wait for someone to gift it to you then you know what to do…

LoveVampires Review Rating:

Review Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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