Sep 1 2011 5:30pm

Compare and Contrast: J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood and Fallen Angels Series

Lover Unleashed by J.R. WardI love the Black Dagger Brotherhood (BDB) series by J.R. Ward. It is my crack, and I will never be able to not read it, even though the latest book in the series, Lover Unleashed, was disappointing. I don’t care. The world she has created sucks me in, and they are my most anticipated releases each year.

When she announced she was starting a new series about fallen angels, I was quite excited. I have read the first two, and will admit I don’t like them nearly as much as her BDB world, but it is Ward, and I’ll continue to read her.

The Fallen Angel series actually takes place in the same world as the BDB. In the first book, Covet, Butch (from BDB) appears very briefly in a church. And in Lover Unleashed, the hero for her next Angel release Envy, has a supporting role. But although these books exist in the same world, there are many differences.

Covet by J.R. WardThe Angel world is ultimately ruled by the Creator (God), whereas in BDB there is the Scribe Virgin and the Omega. Of course, this IS the same world, so maybe the Creator doesn’t deal with vampires? He must know they exist, though. Maybe he chooses to ignore them.

The Angel world is filled with demons and angels. The demons’s role is to help humans see their inner truth without being clouded by anything else related to humanity, while the angels spout happiness everywhere they go. Now the Creator is tired of this back and forth battle between the demons and the angels. He wants an end-game. So the rules are set forth: There are seven souls that are teetering between good and evil. If the Demons ultimately win, the angels become slaves for eternity. Likewise, if the angels win, it would be happy happy joy joy.

Crave by J.R. WardThis is so different from the BDB world, because there is no end game there; the jeopardy of the world is not in balance. The conflict in the BDB world is to keep the civilian vampires and humans safe from evil. But (and here is where my brain starts to hurt) since these books take place in the same world, wouldn’t the outcome of this epic battle between demons and angels affect the vampires as well? Don’t they know each other? Of course, there are many different religions in real life on Earth, so I suppose that is the mindset going into this world.

So far in the Fallen Angels series, the score is tied one to one. In Covet, Jim helps Vin diPietro choose the right path. Vin never lets anyone or anything get in his way to make it to the top. But then Marie-Terese comes into his life. Working as a prostitute has stripped Marie-Terese of everything good inside of her, but it is the only way she is able to support her child. Vin ultimately chooses the side of good, and his soul is redeemed.

Envy by J.R. WardIn book two, Crave, Isaac Rothe has escaped the very secretive XOps organization as a broken man. He meets attorney Grier Childs and finds someone who wants to protect him, a foreign concept to him. Together they find their way, but at the end, it’s a twist as to who is suppose to be saved. Isaac and Grier get their happily ever after, but the demons win this time.

Envy, book three, comes out September 6th. We will see which team will prevail in the fight against good and evil as homicide detective Thomas DelVecchio and Internal Affairs officer Sophia Reilly get drawn into the Fallen Angels’s world.


Mandi Schreiner from Smexy Books.

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1. Ferishia
I was totally excited to read her Angels series as well. I love the BDB with all my heart (it most definitely IS CRACK! lol), and thought I would love her angel series too. I was SO wrong. I read the first book, and I was done. I have never looked at that series again. Even though everyone says it's gotten better, I just cannot make myself read them.
2. ChelseaMueller
Of course, this IS the same world, so maybe the Creator doesn’t deal with vampires? He must know they exist, though. Maybe he chooses to ignore them.

LOL. I'm glad I'm not the only trying to figure out how this meshes with BDB world-building. Also, do you think the Scribe Virgin and the Creator hang out now that the angels and vampires keep interacting?
3. BoxyFrown
It is interesting to see how this series will play out. BDB it is not, but I enjoy them, and the last book was bit steamier than the first. I'm spoiled, I need my steamy. lol!

I am not a scholar of the BDB universe (and there are some people that truly are! Kudos!) but I believe that the SV and the Omega are the balance for the Vamp/Lesser world that ultimately answer to the Creator(like when the SV sacrificed her birds for Vishous(drool) and Doc Jane.) Here we are dealing with humans and demons/angels, so I kinda get it, but yeah, it can make your head hurt.
4. Midnyte Reader
I haven't read any of these books, but I think I would prefer the angel mythology book. Maybe I'll see if Borders has any.
Mandi Schreiner
5. smexybooks
Ferishia - Her BDB just has something her angels series doesn't. I kind of wish she had written a series totally different than BDB - new world and everything.
Mandi Schreiner
6. smexybooks
Chelsea - LOL..yes - I think SV and Creator play cricket together with the other four dudes. Maybe that is why she wasn't featured in Lover Unleashed? ;)
Mandi Schreiner
7. smexybooks
Boxy - you think the Creator still rules over the SV and O? Interesting...and makes sense. My head still hurts a little though ;)
Elizabeth Halliday
9. Ibbitts
I have read all the books in both series, as well as the romances that J. R. Ward has written under the name of Jessica Bird. Personally, I like subject matter that skews a bit off-track from normal. That the Brothers display attributes that vary from traditional vampires is a plus for me rather than a negative. The same with the Angels. I am a series girl from way back. I love the opportunities available to the author and the reader for the deeper development of characters in a series that just aren't there in stand-alone books. And I love the way J. R. Ward weaves us through them. As for the divinity question: who's to say? Maybe it's the same way in their world as it is in ours. Maybe it is just one Diety, and it has a differant name depending on the particular religion.
10. Ferishia
smexybooks - What is it that Angels has that BDB doesn't? It left me a bit unsettled. My first instinct from reading the prologue that I wasn't going to like it, but I hoped that would change. It didn't. And I can't really put my finger on one thing that bothers me about it. Maybe if it was in a totally different world, and where the BDB characters don't make cameo appearences. I don't wan't her Angels to durty up my BDB! lol
11. Tulip45
I wanted to love this series just as much as the BDB, but I don't. I struggled thr0ugh the first one and haven't started the second yet. I will read them because I love JR Ward, but the difference for me is re-readability (is that a word? lol). I have and will continue to re-read all the BDB books, but just don't feel the same about the angels. My first JR Ward story and the one that got me hooked was The Story of Son. Loved it. Are there any JR Ward stories out there that I am missing???
S Tieh
12. infinitieh
I have all three Angel books (well, it's the covers) but I haven't read them yet. I got a little burned out on BDB books and I was afraid of starting this series too soon.
13. paulatau
I agree with you all. I LOVE the BDB books - have read them over and over. The Angels are completely different. Not bad - just different I think. I didn't fall for Covet when I first read it like I did with Dark Lover, but I tried it again and wanted to know more about Jim (the main character). I liked the second one as well, Crave, again not as much as BDB but I'm excited to go with the series. Just downloaded Envy - we'll see if it sticks with me even more.
14. Rose In RoseBear
Yes, the BDB books *are* crack! Until this summer, I never would have touched a vampire (or most other paranormal) romances on a bet, much less read one. Now, here I am, re-re-reading the BDB novels in order and learning about high fashion. (Aquascutum? Zegna? Who knew?)

I recently picked up the Fallen Angels books Covet and Crave. Covet, for some reason, was hard to get through, though it featured two of the fascinating minor characters from the BDB novels --- Marie Therese and Trez. Crave, on the other hand, was GREAT, even though characters I had expected to see weren't there. Lots more wrenching emotion than in Covet.

As for the shared spiritual underpinnings of the BDB and Fallen Angels universe, they are in no way incompatible. In Lover Revealed, Butch's book, when Butch likens her to an angel, she demurrs, saying, "I am Myself." In Lover Unbound, V's book, the Scribe Virgin, in her grief, ruminates on her Father, how He is able to see every eventuality, which she cannot. She describes Him as being "the Book and the Page and the indelible Ink." (Fantastic line!) In the next BDB book, Lover Enshrined, the Scribe Virgin's brother, the Omega, mentions his Father, and his Father's Father. From the same book, we also meet the pink-slipped metrosexual angel Lassiter, whose Boss has given him one last chance to do good.

I think the Scribe Virgin and the Omega are tussling over in one remote corner of the infinite Sandbox. Lassiter and Jim-Eddie-Adrian are, I suspect, all on the same level. I suspect the SV and The Omega are equals of Nigel and the Lads. The battle between the Lessening Society and the vampires is just an echo of the grand battle that Jim is now quarterbacking.

I'll pick up Envy by Friday. I've heard that the BDB show up in a cameo, which makes me smile. One of the best parts of Covet was the peppering of BDB references, from Butch at Mass and Phury at his NA meeting and Jim's landlord, the elderly Mr. Perlmutter, who now owns Mary's old barn. Looking forward to Veck's story, and hope to see quite a bit of Detective De La Cruz.

Supposedly Ms. Ward's going to start a third Caldwell-based series --- I hope she explores the "wolfen" mentioned in Lover Unleashed.
15. Black Dagger Baby
Ferisha, i am going to have to agree with you 100%. I love me some Black Dagger Brotherhood. Somewhere though the Angels series just falls short. I have read the first 2 books and just got the third. I can be honest and say that i havent enjoyed the series at all and if i am being even more honest i keep reading to see if one of the BDB boys will appear in it haha. BDB are by far my fav vamp stories because they are soooo life-like. Had it not been for Twilight i never would have read anything about vamps, and now after BDB books i can certainely say that i prefer rough sex on legs vamps to skinny sparkly ones (sorry Emmett i didnt include you in that one) lol.
16. Tiggerbaby
I too have read all of JR Ward's books and the ones under Jessica Bird. In fact I'm trying to find as many as I can under that name. Her romances, whether paranormal of in reality, are always exciting and curious. I love the ANGEL series. My heart will always be with the BDB but she is an awesome talent and Crave and Covet are so very creative. Her mind is astonishing. I only hope she does something with my boys IAm and Trez. I hope she finds some heroines of color that they can cleave to. I will read anything from the Ward that I can get my hands on. So please write faster.
17. Sugar
Now, I will admit it took me until the 3rd BDBH book to finally go "THIS IS AWESOME!!!" It is the same with the Fallen Angels series. Envy finally clicked everything into place for me. This is the book that is going to make me read the series through to the end. I too, am curious as to how the Creator is linked to the vampire and angel worlds.
18. Rose In RoseBear
@Tiggerbaby: I'm looking forward to seeing what she does with iAm and Trez, too! She has said they get their own book, though in which series was not made clear.

Interesting, how the Shadows are described in the BDB series as "Moors" but in Covet the still-human Jim sees Trez as "African-American." Wonder what the now-angelic Jim would see if he looked at Trez again?
19. rdsangel127117
The BDB is my favorite series by J.R. Ward. Although, I've read both Fallen Angel books and hope to read the entire series, I don't think they'll ever be as popular as the BDB books. They're so different and I think that's what makes them so hard to get into. It's like my brain went from being on a high reading the BDB to being scrambled reading the Fallen Angel books. They maybe set in the same world, but they're worlds apart. For me I think that the Angels should have been incorporated with BDB series more before being a full blown series. Both are well written, but I think you have more likeable characters in the BDB books. I think meshing the characters from both series would've made a more interesting and entertaining BDB world altogher. The pacing is excellent in the BDB books, whereas it gets bogged down in the Angel books. The Fallen Angels kind of drag along and it takes forever to get to the point. Lover Mine and Lover Unleashed were total disappointments for me. The build up for both of those books were enormous, but the resulting feeling after reading them left me deflated. I hope Tohr's book will bring back the good feelings for me with the BDB. Right now, if I'd never read a J.R. Ward book, based on the last two BDB books, I'd stop reading them. I was that disappointed. I don't know what happened to the real BDB world and the real Vishous, but she needs to bring both back. She could use the premise that it was all a dream as far as V is concerned, just like the shower scene in the old Dallas TV series. Then bring back the real V.
April Cabrera
20. Squeaks1977
I'm completely addicted to the BDB series. Though I have the Fallen Angel books I have not read them yet. It amazes me the variety of vampires there are in the book world. You see I was a vampire fan way before they "sparkeled". LOL Though Stephanie Myer has a cute story line for hopeless romantics it does not sit well for a "true" vampire. The BDB series I love not only for the quality of characters but for the amazing story line. I was tempted several time to skip over chapters talking about the lessers because I wanted to get back to my lovely vamps. I have an amazing imagination (of course in my opinion lol ) and this was the first series out of the hundreds of books I have read that made me wish this world was real! Second closest world would be Christine Feehan's Carpathian vampires from her Dark Series and sadly Laurell K. Hamilton dropped to third place. She was on top until someone showed me Ward's work and I instantly fell in love. I like coming on here and reading people's opinions and then see for myself if I will like them. I will keep an open mind to her Fallen Angels. I'm not much into Angels so it make take longer to read then my usual 2 days to finish a book. LOL But I do embrace it with all my heart for I begin a new adventure. :-)
21. Martha Berger
I'm a MAJOR fan of JR's work,but it felt like to me in the last book,she made it more about V. than his sister.I did not know he was having any problems now that he has Jane.
Nicole Angione Nicole Angione's Paranormal Writers Gathering
22. mladyraven
I guess I am differen then most here. I Love The Fallen Angels series. However, I have to say I come to JR Ward by getting Envy free to read from the library. So I started with Envy( loved it) then went back and read book one and two and finished with Rapture which rocked. Then I started the BDB. I loved book one -3 the best so far. I am on book 10. When I started to see similar characters..Veck ... I was a bit confused how this could be the same world. However, I guess I will leave it to artistic liscense. However, I have to say book 3 and 4 are the best of the Fallen Angel Series IMO. I think book three Z's book is one of my favorite as well as V.. what a story... what an amazing mate he has! Gotta love Butch!
23. Anhell
One word:

He is a Fallen Angel in the BDB Series .... sooo I guess that he's gonna appear in the Fallen Angels ...
24. Irogenia
(English is not my native language, so i'm sorry about the typos.)
I Love the BDB series and my expectations about fallen angels were high, but... Damn! I'd like to consider my self as open minded, and as long as people are NOT having sex with the children, animals nor the dead, i'm okay with it. First Fallen Angels book crossed that line when Adrian tells Jim about he's "lovely" habit to go to the morgue and fuck with the dead. That is beyond disgusting. Even if he awake's corpses alive for a while he's abusing them, the rotten corpse, is rotten corpse - and idea of an angel raping them is... Author should have used some self censoring (and common sense), when she wrote that part. Even if the tried to shown Adrian as a victim of Davina... how in the hell am i supposed to empathise the guy who does that sort of a shit? Too much is too much. I stay with the BDB and let the perverts keep their angels...
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