Sep 19 2012 9:30am

Would You Fall for a Fallen Angel? J.R. Ward’s Fallen Angels Series

Covet by J.R. WardVampires are popular in paranormal romance books and movies lately, as shown by the mega success of Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, and True Blood on screen, and by J.R. Ward’s legendary Black Dagger Brotherhood series that continues to captivate readers and has spawned a massive following.

Vampires take a backseat to angels in J.R. Ward’s BDB-spinoff series, the Fallen Angels. So far, the angels haven’t proven to be as popular with readers as their fanged brethren. Let's examine the Fallen Angels:

The Fallen Angels differ from the BDB in the makeup of their heroes. In the BDB, Ward turns what most assume to be soulless monsters into males with humanity whom we root for and lust after. In the Fallen Angels series, Ward pulls a reverse and makes the extraordinary out of the ordinary. The Fallen Angel Jim’s character is a regular guy who happens to land himself in the middle of a battle of good versus evil and the fate of the world rests in his carpenter’s hands.

In the first book of the Fallen Angels series, Covet, Jim is his ordinary self and is recruited into the first of seven battles of the angels vs. demons. He must find a soul in need of saving and sway it towards the side of the angels and defeat Devina, a demon who has already gotten her hands on it. He succeeds and wins the first battle for the Angels, but not without a price: His own life. But it is not all said and done for Jim. He has passed his test and earns his wings to go onto the next battle in the second book of the series, Crave but loses against Devina.

Envy by J.R. WardThe third book of the series, Envy, is the story of a character introduced in Lover Unleased of the BDB series, Thomas “Veck” DelVecchio. The angels' side wins, but not without some serious costs.

So why aren't the Fallen Angels as compelling as the BDB? Is the desire to read about an Angel less because they are sporting a (figurative) halo and wings? Or is that in spite of the extraordinary job of saving souls in the Fallen Angels Series that the extremely typical and normal hero J.R. Ward has written just leaves you wanting more? Ward’s talent to convert monsters to lusty males that readers could get into in the BDB was nothing short of amazing. In the Fallen Angels, however, Jim is not a monster in the paranormal sense as much as he is a man with a not so exultant past as a military assassin. He is still a human with a regular job as a carpenter, a scruffy dog and a nine-to-five average Joe existence now that he has give up his wicked ways.

What about the fact that Jim is not the character driving the romance? The romances are centered around the souls that Jim is meant to guide down the right path. While you get a good look into the minds of those characters, the one constant that remains is Jim and his unromantic story line.

Rapture by J.R. WardWard’s fourth installment of the Fallen Angel’s Series, Rapture, is scheduled for release on September 25th and with the fourth soul hanging in the balance of good and evil, I’m curious to see the reaction to the next book. Each Fallen Angels book improves on the previous, and Jim’s character keeps becoming a bit more complex and a bit less ordinary.

Is this the book where we the readers finally fall in love/lust with Jim and want him as much as one of the Brothers?

What do you think? What would you want to have seen or see added to this series to make it as mouth-watering as the Black Dagger Brotherhood series? What would you have liked to see in Jim’s character to make him irresistible?


Mara Gillott spends her nights engrossed in the hot bodies, heaving bosoms and realities dreamed up by the minds of others and then she blogs about them—sometimes with an attitude. Read her romance book blog at and join her on twitter at @ReviewingRomanc.

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Megan Frampton
1. MFrampton
Mara, I don't like this series as much as I do the BDB, but I definitely feel it is far more nuanced, and it has more depth of characterization. The scenes up with the tea and the angels can be dull, but so too do I skim a lot of the flashback scenes in the BDB. I'm getting more interested with each successive book, which I think is a good thing. Thanks for the post!
Mara Gillott
2. MaraGillott
Now that I've read the BDB up to current, and am re-reading them for like the 10th time (a little sad!) I tend to skip the flashbacks as well. In general as a reader, I don't relate to historical romances that much. They just aren't really up my alley.
Lisa Ellingsworth
3. LisaEllingsworth
I'm not the usual romance reader in this instance, because I prefer the Fallen Angels series to BDB. With the Fallen Angels, I've never felt like it was over-the-top as sometimes happens with BDB for me. All of the things that you mentioned as possible drawbacks for the series are the things that drew me to it. It's not your usual romance. I like that Jim's story, along with Adrian and Eddie, are the main story and carried on throughout the series, while the actual romance couple for each book are more of a side story. Though I don't find Jim nearly as attractive as Adrian. He's such a sexy bad boy, even if he is an angel. Don't get me wrong, I like BDB and can't wait to read the Qhuay novel, but if I had to chose a favorite J. R. Ward series, it would be the Fallen Angels.
4. EmilyFerguson
I wish I could put my finger on why I haven't caught on with this series. I loved the first 8 books in the BDB series so much (and have enjoyed the others, though probably not with as much enthusiasm). The only thing I can think of is that the romance just takes too much of a backseat to other storylines. I still haven't read Envy...I keep saying I'll give it a shot, but inevitably something else on my TBR list takes precedence.
5. Melissa B
And see, I LOVE the Angels! I've almost gotten to the point that I like them MORE than the BDB. For me, I think I've got so hooked into the whole plot of Jim, Ad & Eddie... and even Davina and what ultimately is going to be THEIR outcome. And crossing my fingers they'll all find their happy endings...well, except Davina. I don't even think the Warden can redeem her, but her quirks crack me up! And I like that you can't predict the outcomes out the 'battles'. Even though there's the romance, and you know there is going to be a HEA, you don't know about the soul in question...I had a hard time with book 1. Took me several tries of sitting down and trying to read it before I finally went with audio, and after I listened it took off for. Book 2 & 3 were each better, and I'm SO looking forward to Rapture...and I've really enjoyed that she set it in Caldwell, and we've gotten those little glimpses and overlapses w/ the Brothers & Bastards!
Mara Gillott
6. MaraGillott
@LisaEllingsworth- I love to hear that you prefer them over BDB. I think its great to see people who are lovers of books that are not so heavily focused on the romance. I did like that with FA series really truly have no idea whose soul is the one really hanging in the balance. I feel like with BDB you do know that somehow they will be together, its the how they end up together that is really important. I'm a hopeless romantic though and eternal love always wins with me. :)
@Melissa B- I struggled with book one too, even to the point that my husband noticed, and THAT is rare. We were sitting on the couch one night when I was reading it and he said, "You don't like that book do you?" when I asked why he said, "It's taking you forever to read it." And it was. I was dragging through it to get into it and it has gotten easier as I've gone on, but BDB was a struggle at first with me with Dark Lover (Book 1) becuase I don't relate to males with long hair. I don't know why, they just are not my thing and make it very hard for me to get into them. Even Lover Enshrined (Phury) I really did not enjoy much even after being addicted to BDB. Sometimes with paranormal I think there is so many new things to learn bc each vampire, witch and what not is all written differently that it can be hard to catch on when it is set up for a series that has intentions of being long term.
7. AJR493
Now you see I think Jim and Devina will get together - she will be his final soul (or did they do this already - I haven't read this for a while). This is more of a slow burn than the BDB but there is less of the (now becoming increasingly) repetitious "mine", references to shit-kickers, grey goose vodka etc
8. DianeN
I gave up on the BDB books long ago, but when this series came along I decided to give Ward another chance and I'm glad I did. I never doubted that she could write a good story, but with the Brothers it felt to me like she became so invested in her hot male characters that the women very definitely suffered, as did the overall story itself. This series has taken her in another direction, and I'm very much enjoying the ride. While I've enjoyed each couple so far, the series is really all about Jim, Adrian and Eddie for me. I wish it was staying in paperback, though. Good thing I work at a library as I'm at the top of the reserve list for the hardcover when it comes out!
9. Tigger
I love the BDB and I love the FA. The Warden is brilliant in her depiction of Devina. She is a real b...h from hell. It is amazing how JR's mind works to come up with these scenerios. I look forward to the new book Rapture and the others in the series and look forward to the next BDB installment. I have read so many similar books in between to keep me occupied but they just don't quite do it like JR Ward's books although I have started a following with a few new authors who write very well. Don't know exactly what I want to see Jim do,besides try and save the young girl that Devina killed. Bring the angel back that was killed. Is it possible for the angels to have a romantic interest? How would they have a HEA?
10. KateRothwell
AJR I would love it if Devina was the final soul, but I wouldn't take any bets on it. Wouldn't that be a kick? She does love Jim in her (or his, depending on which body she's wearing) own sick way, so maybe that could be the crack in her soul that lets her get saved. Oooo.

I think the reason the angel series isn't as popular: the tougher-than-nails superhero types aren't the romantic heroes. Except for Jim's focus on Cissy, they really aren't bonded.
11. SassyT
I like Jim just the way he is. He's playing a game with an opponent who doesn't play by the rules. I have issues with some other recurring characters but that is for another day. Personally, I think that JR's writing took a turn for the worse with Phury's book and hasn't really recovered. The Angel books (to me) are better written than the subsequent BDB books i.e. the ones after Phury (I do love Z and Rhage way more than Jim, Adrian and Eddie though). Although, she did come back a bit with Rhev's book and then went downhill again. These books feel a bit darker to me too. I like that about them. As to the romance, I really enjoyed the book #2 romance the most...the one with the military assassin and the lawyer. That one made me really love the series. Book #3 romance was pretty good too. I'm hoping that this series doesn't follow the trend of my beloved BDB by turning into something different after the 6th book (something not up to the standards of the original).
12. Susan H.
I love, love, LOVE Jim Heron & Dog, plus Ad & Eddie (whom I hope she somehow revives!). I flew through the first three books on audio and am breathlessly waiting for "Rapture" to appear next week. These novels were the first time I'd experienced J.R. Ward, but I'm now a huge fan. Like Darynda Jones, Jeaniene Frost and Larissa Ione, she has a clear and fresh writing style that separates her from the crowd.
13. Missy K

I have to admit, I wasn't too fond of the first book in this series either. But I think the stories got better in the following books. I did preorder Rapture, and will read it when I get it, and I hope it's as good as the last one was. I do love the BDB series, but not including the first book, really enjoy the FA series too.
14. Amanda P.
I tried this series, I dutifully read the first 2 books and I probably started and stopped a dozen times between the to before I finally finished. I enjoy the BDB, but this series there is just some quality missing. I like Jim, I even liked Eddie (he was my favorite) and Adrin, but the rest of the characters? Eh.. I couldnt get into them. I felt like the romances were contrived and not very believable. I just didnt feel it. For me this series was a miss and I had absoultely no desire to read the third book even though they supposedly "get better". There is very little chance that I'll pick this series back up someday, there are just too many other books out there that I didn't have to force my way through.

Amanda Lets Get Romantical
Bridget Agnello
15. SuzBFan
Mara, I love both BDB & the Fallen Angels alike. I do find however, I read Jim's FA adventures at a much slower pace---it's almost like I savor every phrase. Metaphorically, it's almost like BDB is equivalent to cotton candy while the Fallen Angels are equivalent to eating an apple. There's more to sink my teeth into with Jim, Eddie and Adrian. But I still adore my BDB storylines, especially QUAY. I can't wait until September 25 so i can re-acquaint myself with Jim and the gang.
16. rdavisprof
I feel the same way as Amanda. Because I liked the BDB so much, I dutifully read the 1st 2 books, just because Ward wrote them. It took me forever to finish them, so much so that I refuse to read the rest. Also like earlier posts, the BDB is getting a bit tiresome too, although I'm still a fan so I keep reading them, hoping they'll get better.
17. KristineDB
I absolutely LOVE JR Ward! I actually really like the Fallen Angel series. I think it is WAAAAAY different from the BDB and it must be looked at it for its own merit. The only thing for me is the "heaviness" of the FA books. I have to read some, then put it down. It takes me about a week to read these books because I get so weighed down by how intense and heavy the content is. Don't get me wrong, the BDB can be quite heavy, but for some reason the FA series just affects me differently. I like that both series are so different.
Cheryl King
18. fotofix
I'm a BDB fan and jumped on the FA books as soon as they came out. I agree with others that the BDB books have disappointed me over the last few years. But I do love the FA books. And I truly love Jim and the boys. But I'll have to admit, I just finished reading Rapture, and I'm really worried about my Jim! We've been repeatedly reminded that he was chosen by both sides for the war because he was both good and evil and I'm very, very afraid that we're about to see his evil side straight up! And I think I'm the only one in the world who feels this way, but I'm just disturbed by his obsession with "his Sissy" 'not that she's mine'. If the HEA turns out to be a hook up between Jim and Sissy I will hate it big time. It just feels very wrong to me. I get that he's undone because she's an innocent and she doesn't belong in Devina's hell. But what about all the other innocents that Devina's used as her "security" for her weird mirror. Every time the angels find her, and she has to move, she slaughters another virgin. So Jim's fixation on this one girl, to the point that it's costing him his focus on the war, very scary. And in Rapture, he does something I never, ever expected him to do of his own free will. I almost dread the next book! I'm afraid, I'm very afraid! LOL However, Adrian is unbelievably awesome in Rapture and made me so proud. When we found out in the last book, that Matthias would be getting another shot as the soul in the this book, I wondered how on earth that was going to work? JR knocked that out of the park! That part of the storyline was creative, so heartwrenching and real, the romance was just wonderful. This is a great series and I truly have no clue how it's going to end. One thing that's always a jolt to me when I read the newest book, is that it's only been a few weeks in timeline from the very beginning, when Jim is chosen to fight in this war till now. Only a few weeks. Wow...
20. winfran
I love Jim. LOVE HIM. I wish he was real.
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