JR Ward's 7th book, Lover Avenged, of the Black Dagger Brotherhood (BDB) series is out. Technically the books are "romance" but when you actually read them, there is much more happening than just lovey dovey all the time. Lots of really good action/fighting scenes with constant macro plot building. These books could easily be fantasy, and maybe should be, but I will discuss that later.
I do have a few issues with the author though. Her first six books were all paperback. However, Lover Avenged can only be purchased in hard cover. WTF? Hello? JR?? There is a recession going on...ya know? It is a big jump from $7 to $24.95. I wouldn't mind paying $24.95 for the book (which I obviously did) if it was actually as good as say, the first three in the series. I found Lover Avenged really long and extraneous in parts. So much so, I was able to put it down and walk away from it to do other things. That is usually the litmus test for me. If I can put it down, its just not kickin.
I notice some other trends in her writing as well. Her first few books were tightly written, edgy and really HUNGRY romance. Maybe she got cocky. The first 3 maybe 4 of the series didn't forget they were romance and focused on the two main characters FIRST.
Maybe she was relieved to get the book deal and lost her edge. I dunno, but, after the fourth book romance isn't as sharp, the dialog not as wicked. Mostly because she tries to make the books about ALL the characters instead of the primary ones.
Even that can be forgiven when the characters are kick ass. Unfortunately, instead of focusing intently on their kick ass-ed-ness after book 4, she seems too busy foreshadowing the next book. Then of course when the "next" one comes, she does the same thing. It gets very soap-ish.
As a romance reader, (yeah that's right I said it), I feel jipped with Lover Avenged because there just wasn't enough back and forth between the two main characters. And when it was there. Weak. As. Shit.
If she changes her genre to fantasy, then books 4 on, make more sense. As a fantasy reader I expect some hard core unhappy endings, like a blind warrior king, a drug dealer/user hero, a dead heroine, for instance. But as a romance reader, (uh-huh, that's right), I don't like the soap opera-ish-ness of giving the HEAs (happily ever afters) more drama than the characters the current book is supposed to be about. As far as I'm concerned those HEAs had their shot in THEIR book, stop hogging everyone else's. I don't care how awesome you think they are.
Two words to JR. Christine Feehan. While Ms Feehan's use of passive voice drives me BONKERS, and her writing is elementary when compared to JR, she doesn't lose sight of the primary purpose of the book. The romance! The couple gets primo pages, everyone else is backdrop. When one wants to forward the macro plot so much it takes over a couple's story? Here's a novel idea (pun intended), write a book about it!
Don't get between a romance reader and her happily ever after JR, it just won't be pretty. And if you can't can't work them in better sister, move to a different genre. I'll still read you, I just won't do it on a day when I feel like reading some love conquers all type crap.
Don't get me wrong. I'm invested in the BDB and will read every book she puts out.
Though I probably won't be buying any more. Not until she loses the soap opera foreshadowing bit, goes back to paperback, and remembers why romance readers pick up romance novels in the first place.