The Black Dagger Brotherhood – An insiders guide by J. R. Ward

I have read a lot of things about this guide. It is the best companion ever, tons of vital information, great short story, it stinks, nothing new, is all on the board anyway and so on.

Basically I like the idea of an insider’s guide or companion. Especially for series like the Dark Hunters you probably even need one in order to remember what happened when and to whom and who is who. For the BDB this might be not quite as crucial, since there are only 6 books out so far, but a lot of stuff has happened, so maybe it is a good idea after all.

What does the guide contain?

A short story about Zsadist, Bella and Nalla.
The story is a nice story about the new little family and Zsadist’s problems to adapt to fatherhood. Not surprising, nothing comes easy to that poor guy. A treat for BDB fans – especially to Zsadist girls, and there are a lot of them out there.

Next: Insider info on each brother and the according book. First a questionnaire, then an interview of the brother, conducted by J. R. Ward, a (very short) summary of the book with a list of characters and “craft comments” on the book by J. R. Ward including quotes from it.
Well, a lot of people think this is wonderful, but I don’t. I don’t like the idea of the author interviewing the characters as if they were people in their own right. Yeah, they keep saying that if you’re writing the characters take on a life of their own, yadda, yadda, the fact remains that they are an invention by the author. So why conduct an interview? I don’t get that.

All that said, I do have a favourite brother and if he gets neglected I’m getting well pissed off. I absolutely adore V. Unfortunately J. R. Ward doesn’t seem to appreciate him the way I do, because his part in this section is sadly lacking. Let’s take the character lists. His name is missing on four lists, even though he is in each of the books. His name only appears on the lists of Butch’s book (well, you can’t leave him out of that one, can you) and his own (I was extremely grateful for him to feature in his own book). How come? Even Darius, who is getting blown up on about page 5 of book 1 is on the list.
Then the interviews. The interview with Wrath is 6.5 pages long. OK, he’s the king and all. The one with Rhage is 5 pages long (surprisingly enough. The guy is as bland as anything, albeit good looking). The one with Zsadist is 5 pages long (another surprise. I am always wondering what he and Bella talk about when they are not having sex), the one with Butch is 7 pages, the one with Phury is 5.5 pages and how long is V’s? Not even 3. WTF? As a V supporter I’m taking this personally. He is the most intelligent, most literate, most interesting, smartest one of the whole bunch and he’s getting not even 3 pages.

Next: A section for writers. I don’t want to be a writer, so not interesting for me.

Next: The original BDB proposal. An ok part, but not great.

Next: Some deleted scenes. That was interesting. Especially the good bye scene between Z and Bella that was rewritten later, not actually deleted. I liked the scene in the book, but this one was much better.

Next: Tons of quotes from the books. Nice to have, but not a real added value.

Next: A large section with excerpts from the message board. Every registered member can see that on the board, and probably has seen it before the book came out. No added value, unless you have never been to J. R. Ward’s site and never will.  Besides that I think the same about the brothers on the board as I think about brothers being interviewed.

Next: Slices of Life. 4 very short stories with the brothers that have been available to everybody on J. R. Wards site long before the book came out. No added value, unless you have never been to J. R. Ward’s site and never will.

Next: Questions from the boards and a yahoo group asked specifically to be put into this guide. So I suppose the answers haven’t been made public before.

Next: Timeline of the brotherhood on 2 pages.

Next: Abbreviations used in the books and the boards. Yeah, you need the BDB companion to find out what BTW means.

Next: The Old Language. One page with an image of some old parchment with scribbles that vaguely look like a mixture of runes and two fonts called Alchemy and Agathodaimon.

Next: An interview of J. R. Ward conducted by the brothers. I’m not saying anything.

Next: The last interview of Tohr and Wellsie together.

Next and last: An excerpt from Lover Avenged.

All in all there were a few interesting bits in the guide, but most of it was redundant.

I was expecting detailed info on the characters and their part in the story. Not info like what’s their favourite underwear and favourite soft drink, but rather what role did someone play in a certain plot, what did he do that caused another thing. The sort of info you need when you come upon someone in the book and ask yourself, wait a sec. Who is that again? Nothing like that in there.

If you are a enthusiastic fan of the BDB, you will already have this book or you should get it by all means. If you like the series and are a big fan of Z, get the book. If you are just a casual reader, don’t bother. Nothing of interest here for you. If you are a big fan of V, don’t bother. The book will disappoint and piss you off.


2 Comments Write a comment

  1. Hah. I didn’t review this book, but I agree with you on most of it, including V’s obvious superiority. I knew there would be a ton of stuff that I’d already seen, so I was just happy to read the short story and the interview with Tohr/Wellsie.

    I truly love the books, but the Old Language thing is just weak and lame. I’m pretty sure her research assistant made up the lettering for the compendium. I don’t care. As a linguist, Ms. Ward makes a very fine storyteller and perhaps, lawyer. I hate the extra Hs in the names– this is not a basis for a language. I just equate Old Language with Middle English in my head and keep moving.


  2. Pingback: Top five series I haven’t finished : Rikki's Teleidoscope

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