Monday, March 16, 2009

Rant About JR Ward, Blood-Sucking Vampires, and Rockability

Today, I decided to employ a new term for my reviews...rockability.  A great book has a high rockability rating. When I think an author "rocks the house" or "rocks out" then the rockability quotient is right up there.  I get very enthusiastic about certain books/authors, and I also have high expectations for highly rockable authors. JR Ward, master of blood-sucking vampires, got her paranormal series The Black Dagger Brotherhood off to a rousing start.  The early books, especially Lover Revealed (Butch's story) and Lover Awakened (Zsadist's story) are absolutely mind-blowingly good books.  Ward has everything a paranormal fan is looking for....larger than life heroes, a well crafted (if at times dark and violent) world, super hot sex, incredible secondary characters. In fact, this world is so delicious, it is down right addictive (just ask the millions of crazed fans who frequent her website).  Problem is, if you are an author with a lot of rockability, you establish high expectations with your followers.  Rabid followers. Then, you've got to deliver the goods or incur the Wrath (pun intended) of your disappointed fans.  Ward had us going up through book four in the series.  But V's book (Lover Unbound) was a disappointment to me. And Phury's book (Lover Enshrined) made me phurious (sorry, I couldn't help myself). (In a nutshell...lukewarm heroine, crappy romance, horribly disappointing first sex scene after 5 books of self-imposed celibacy for Phury, etc., etc.).  In fact, my friends cringe when I start ranting about Phury's book..."Oh dear God help us, she's starting up about Phury's book again. Take cover!" In Ward's defense, sustaining rockability over the course of a series is tough. Sherrilyn Kenyon was one of my all-time favorite authors for a long time (I adore Dance With The Devil and Night Play), but her "formula" is getting stale, and she needs to jet this series and start something new. Karen Marie Moning started a new series (the Fever series) and they have some serious rockability. 

Lover Avenged, #7 in Ward's Brotherhood series, will be released April 28, 2009.  It is Rehvenge's story.  He is a superb character and is deserving of an incredible book.  Will Ward get back to her winning formula (intense lusty love affairs between kick-ass vampires and women strong enough to handle them equals fabulous reading)? I sure hope so.  I was filled with trepidation about this latest installment until I read the two excerpts from Lover Avenged on her website.  They rocked the house! Oh yeah! I am cautiously optimistic about Rehv's book and am hoping that Ward has gotten back to the best part of this series for romance readers.  Namely, romance.  

I would love to hear my reader's opinions about series that are flailing, and those they think are right on target.  Anyone else excited for Rehv's book? Anyone else thinking about getting a purple mohawk? I am hoping that Ward's rockability has returned with a vhengeance. 

Reeling with Rockability, Penelope