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Literature: Black Dagger Brotherhood
A series of paranormal romance novels written by J.R. Ward which follow the lives of the titular Brotherhood: the vampire race's most powerful warriors and protectors. Each book focuses on a different brother as he battles the de-souled human vampire hunters called lessers, and his inconvenient growing attraction to a beautiful woman.

  • Dark Lover (Wrath)
  • Lover Eternal (Rhage)
  • Lover Awakened (Zsadist)
  • Lover Revealed (Butch)
  • Lover Unbound (Vishous)
  • Lover Enshrined (Phury)
  • Lover Avenged (Rehvenge)
  • Lover Mine (John)
  • Lover Unleashed (Payne)
  • Lover Reborn (Tohrment)
  • Lover At Last (Qhuinn and Blaylock)
Unmarked spoilers lay beyond. You have been warned.

This series provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents:
    • Phury and Zsadist's parents, though only inflicted on Phury (emotional abuse, neglect).
    • Vishous' ( and Payne's) father, who was abusive in almost every imaginable way. Including castrating his son by tearing off one of his testicles. His mother, alternatively, is also seen as abusive by ignoring her son's childhood plight and trying to force him into an arranged marriage. He spends most of his time acting as though he is unaffected by his childhood, until it all comes to a head in Lover Unleashed, and his grief over the fact that his parents did not protect him is forced to the surface. He demands to know why his parents hurt him, as he did not ask to be born to them.
    • Jane's parents, though to a lesser extent. They were seen as cold and emotionally unavailable to their daughter.
    • Butch's father who really isn't was physically and emotionally abusive, even blaming him for the death of his sister.
    • Qhuinn's father, because Qhuinn is born with heterochromatic eyes. After Qhuinn's transition they expected it to be magically cured. When it isn't, Qhuinn's dad decides he's going to punch Qhuinn in the face. He is excluded from family events with decreasing amounts of subtlety, eventually being disowned entirely.
  • Achilles' Heel:
    • Sharp pointy object in the chest of a Lesser and POOF!
    • Sunlight is this to pureblood vampires. Half-breeds range in tolerance.
  • Action Girl: At last! In the latest two books we are given Xhex and Payne.
  • Action Girlfriend: Xhex, which given the extremely protective nature of bonded males, creates rifts between her and John.
  • After Action Patch Up: They're warriors, who fight. This happens between several characters. It actually makes up an important part of Vishou's book with him and Jane. Also happens between Rhage and Mary after he offers a rhythe, between Blay and Quinn, and between Marissa and Butch after he gets beat up in Rehv's club.
  • Alliterative Name: Manuel "Manny" Manello. And arguably, Rehvenge, son of Rempoon, also qualifies.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: All the canon couples. You know it's bad when the 'softest' guy in the bunch is an alcoholic ex-cop fired for police brutality.
    • Inverted with Xhex and John. He's damn near a saint compared to the rest of the brotherhood, and she's a maneating assassin with no qualms about killing for revenge or money.
    • Also averted with Payne and Manny.
  • Alien Blood: Pureblooded sympaths sport blue blood, even after the stuff's been exposed to the air. Half-breeds like Rehvenge and Xhex have normal-looking blood but it tastes slightly different to other vampires.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: The obvious headquarters for a secret society of vampire warriors is...Caldwell, NY. This is occasionally lampshaded.
  • A Love to Dismember: Zsadist's relationship with the skull of his mistress, who held him in sexual slavery for over a century.
  • A Match Made in Stockholm: Vishous and Jane. It's even lampshaded by Jane at various points in the novel.
    Jane: (after beginning to trust V) Gimme an S! A T! An O! A C! Followed by a K-H-O-L-M! What's it spell? HEAD FUCK.
    • And again:
    Jane: (thinking) Stop it. Do not feel safe with him. The Stockholm Syndrome is not your friend."
  • Antidisestablishmentarianism: (Lover Eternal)
  • Anti-Hero: All of them, but especially former nice guy Phury, who by the time we get to know him better is a drug addict, who hears voices in his head, and whose hobby is torture.
  • Anything That Moves: Rhage was like this before he met Mary, and more recently, Zypher, compared to a Lenihan, a beast known for its sexual prowess.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: The glymera as a whole. They may not necessarily be out-and-out evil, but you'd be hard-put to find any bunch of people more self-serving, cowardly, head-in-the-sand, hidebound, and obsessed with appearances than the vampire aristocracy. From plotting to kill the king and impose a fake democracy, to treating their own family members like shit for genetic flaws that they had no control over (like Qhuinn) or for perceived or actual behavioral transgressions (like Marissa), these people will make you root for the lessers to butcher them all and improve the vampire race's overall level of decency.
  • Aroused By Their Voice: Mary's voice is so appealing John calls the suicide hotline every night just to hear her talk, and Rhage is so attracted to her voice he practically assaults her on their first meeting, trying to get her talk to him.
  • Arranged Marriage: Vishous almost is subjected to this; Phury takes his place and falls in love with the Chosen he is mated to, Cormia.
    • Tohrment and Wellsie had one of these. Luckily, they fell in love all the same.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Marissa, in the middle of extreme character development, quips about her eventful night.
    Well, wasn't this the night for firsts. Arson. Sex. Pants.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Rehvenge and the sympath colony.
  • Awesome McCool Name: Oh, man...to the point of narm. We have Rhage, Vishous, Wrath, Zsadist, Phury, Tohrment, Rehvenge, Dehstroyer, Tehrror, Lash, Hharm, Torhture, Ahgony, and Hurt. The list goes on and on.
    • There's even a one-shot human tattoo artist named R.I.P..
      • As of Lover At Last, we have Trez, iAm, Assail, Qhuinn, Blaylock (Blay for short), Zypher, Throe, Syphon, and Balthazar.
    • Xcor's name seems to be a weird amalgamation of Xtreme Kool Letterz until you realize it's a shortened form of 'excoriate' - to severely criticize or to flay off skin.
  • Badass in Distress: At least once a book. Usually the protagonist of said book, but not always.
  • Badass Normal: Butch, at first
  • Bash Brothers: The Brotherhood itself.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: Phury while detoxing from drugs; he is fighting an internal battle against the reasons why he took the drugs in the first place. His Love Interest, Cormia, helps him from the outside.
  • Beast and Beauty: Zsadist and Bella
  • Better as Friends: Phury and Bella, though it was really only Phury who had the romantic feelings.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • Rehvenge and Bella are a textbook example.
    • Phury and Zsadist; ironically, Phury is the younger twin.
    • All of the Brothers have this with John Matthew.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: Zsadist's *ahem* hardware is treated in this way. He is repeatedly described as being "enormous" below the belt or otherwise regarded by others with a sense of envy and/or awe.
  • Bi the Way: Qhuinn. Other male characters may angst about their UST (cough cough Vishous cough), but Qhuinn is cool with the door swinging both ways.
    • Subverted in Lover At Last- turns out he's only cool with it because he's mentally repressed to the point that he's convinced himself that that sleeping with men doesn't mean he's not straight. When the truth is pointed out to him, he enters a Heroic BSOD.
  • Black Eyes of Crazy: Piss Zsadist off and his yellow eyes turn black.
  • Blind Mistake: Shortly after Wrath's vision finally fails completely he makes lots of these, dropping and breaking things and even falling down the stairs at one point.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: Lash.
  • Blood Knight: All the brothers, but especially Zsadist.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Xhex has this; to John she is 'deliciously androgynous'.
  • Brains and Bondage: Vishous, who is well-read and the most intellectual of the brothers, enjoys bondage. When he reveals this to his surgeon shellan, she is highly disturbed. However, after a session in V's "penthouse", she comes around to the idea.
  • Break the Badass: Zsadist completely loses his shit over having to whip Rhage—presumably flashing back to his own abuse.
  • Break the Haughty: Rosalhynda was prideful about her beauty and her father's high place in society. After being captured and forcibly impregnated, committing suicide and being resurrected as her daughter's maidservant...not so much. In fact she takes to being very servile and takes joy in doing menial tasks that were beneath her before.
  • Celibate Hero: Phury
  • Cool Shades: Wrath, though out of necessity, not by choice
  • Cowboy Cop: Butch
  • Cursed with Awesome: Rhage's alter-ego is a fire-breathing dragon that likes to devour lessers whole, and can use its wings to fly.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: EVERYONE. But a few stand out.
    • Zsadist is the biggest one. To sum up: stolen as an infant, enslaved, raped, beaten, gang raped, beaten and raped some more for a couple hundred years before being horribly mutilated in the course of his rescue and reunion with his brother. Oh, and his parents are dead.
    • John Matthew was abandoned as a baby, raised in an orphanage and then sent out into the world at 16, with no idea what or who he is. As a young adult, he is raped by a large man in the hallway of his apartment complex.
    • Vishous spent his childhood in a warrior camp run by his ruthless warrior father. He dislikes the combat, preferring to read. He is punished for this. When he comes into his empathic powers, he tells his father of his own death. Disturbed, his father has him tattooed as an outcast, and partially castrated.
    • Butch grew up emotionally and physically abused by his father who wasn't his biological father, and knew it, and was blamed by his entire family for the rape and murder of his older sister, Janie. It's pretty obvious throughout the books that this has messed him up a bit psychologically.
  • Dating Catwoman: Xcor and Layla become this to each other- whilst neither is a villain, per se, they're closer to this than anything else, what with him trying to kill her king and all.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Surprisingly, ingenue-waif Marissa becomes a bit of a First-Person Smartass.
  • Death by Childbirth: Extremely common as pregnancy is very risky for vampires. Bella is noted to have a very shaky pregnancy and much time is spent by all characters hoping against this.
  • Death Seeker: Most of the brothers at some point or another, but much of Butch's character arc involves overcoming his death wish. With Marissa's help, of course.
  • Defiled Forever: Zsadist initially believes this of himself, to the point of not wanting to touch his daughter because she'll "get it on her."
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Xhex and John.
  • Direct Linetothe Author: See Literary Agent Hypothesis.
  • Distaff Counterpart and Spear Counterpart: Payne & Vishous and Doc Jane & Manny.
  • Domestic Abuse: Bella's father (Rehvenge's stepfather) towards their mother. This is the reason Rehvenge kills him.
  • Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest: Mr. O obsesses on Bella because she looks like an idealized version of his deceased girlfriend.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Highly averted with Zsadist. His past as a sex slave is written very darkly, and he suffers a great deal of psychological damage as a result. Nobody faults him for killing his "Mistress" and keeping her skull. A little out of the ordinary for a series that portrays males as "macho" and always concerned with looking "weak" in front of their mates. In fact, Zsadist is probably one of the most staunch observers of these gender rules (likely stemming from his abuse), but shows just how seriously these issues are taken when he tells John Matthew that his own rape was not his fault.
  • Dystopia: Vampire society is deeply patriarchal and has very rigid gender roles. Their religious beliefs can be crazy and cruel. And the general social fabric is decayed.
  • Eloquent In My Native Tongue: In a weird version, the Brothers talk like gangsters in English and Shakespeare in the Old Language.
    Rhage: I am barren of words, my female. For any sounds from my mouth are unworthy of your hearing.
    Mary: What did you say?
    Rhage: I like being here with you too.
  • The Empath: Vampires can smell emotions.
    • Vishous can go a step farther and read minds (and see the future)
    • Sympaths can both read emotional "grids" and influence them.
    • The Shadow Brothers are something between the two.
  • Enemy Within: Rhage and his tattooed "friend".
    • Also, Phury and his Wizard.
  • Emergency Transformation: Done three times, with Mary (human-turned-immortal and cancer-free) Butch (human-turned-vampire), and Jane, (human-turned-tangible-ghost.)
  • Erotic Dream: Manny has one about Payne after having his memory wiped in Lover Unleashed. Jane had one about Vishous after her memory was wiped.
  • Ermine Cape Effect: Subverted. Wrath only puts on ceremonial robes for...well, ceremonies.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: It's a series of erotic novels. This one is a given.
  • Mr. Fanservice: A group of enormous men chiseled like Greek gods who are skilled lovers and can pulverize anything attempting to harm their woman... with some Ho Yay to boot.
  • Evil Albino: While not technically having albinism, the lessers gradually lose all pigmentation in their bodies.
  • Evil Smells Bad: Subverted by the lessers, who give off a smell of baby powder.
  • Extreme Melee Revenge: When John finds out where Xhex is being held, and why, his vision reds out and his claws extend. He comes to himself hunched over on the floor which is now slick with lesser blood—-the lesser's severed head sitting on the countertop staring at him in horror.
  • First Kiss: Zsadist and Vishous receive theirs over the course of the series. And John, though that's a little more understandable.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampires
  • Funetik Aksent: When Butch imitates his father's South Boston accent, it's rendered phonetically. Ditto Mr. D's Texan twang.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Subverted. Their eyes glow only in the presence of their mates or people they love.
  • God's Hands Are Tied: Miracles from the Scribe Virgin don't come free, and the price does not seem to be negotiable even for her. For Darius' reincarnation he willingly sacrificed his voice, but in order to grant Vishous' prayer for Jane, the goddess herself gave up her beloved songbirds.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Marissa IS this trope. Beautiful? Check. Kind? Check. Innocent? Check. She gets past the naive stage pretty damn fast though.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Beth and Butch. Only Wrath is full-blooded of all the vampires. And since most of the narrative is from the vampire POV, the vampire-sympath hybrids function in the same way.
  • Happily Married: Most of the mated main couples, though Beth and Wrath hit a rocky spot in Lover Avenged. So do V and Jane in the latest book.
  • Happiness in Slavery: The doggen, a subspecies of vampires able to withstand sunlight.
  • Handicapped Badass: Phury. And later Wrath, when he loses his sight completely.
  • Hand Signals: John Matthew, being born without working vocal chords, communicates by way of a pen and paper, using American Sign Language, or by a whistling system.
  • Harem Seeker: The most notable would be Rhage, before falling in love with Mary. Vishous to a lesser extent before his own book.
  • Heartbroken Badass: At least once a book.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather
  • Hemo Erotic: A vampire's feeding usually entails sex too.
  • Hospital Gurney Scene: More and more in recent books, as the war with the Lessers heats up.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: It's always noted just how large male vampires are, but how large they are in comparison to their female lovers is mentioned a lot. Averted with Payne and Manny, and Xhex and John.
  • Hurting Hero: Rhage in his book mentions how thanks to his Beast he needs the constant sex he has, in order to keep himself under control enough to not attack his friends, and how it was just emotionless, connectionless grinding to him—he feared he neither deserved nor was capable of truly loving someone or being loved.
  • I Am X, Son of Y: All the males are referred to this way on formal occasions.
  • The Ingenue: Marissa
  • If It's You, It's Okay: While each are in their very happy relationships, Word of God states that Butch is this towards V.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Initially between V and Butch, with V coveting Butch who was in love with Marissa. Recently, it's been Quinn and Blaylock with Blay covering Quinn who doesn't seem to know what the hell he wants.
    • As of the latest book, Qhuinn has actually gotten his head out his ass and realized that he is in love with his best friend- cue their scheduled HEA in 2013 and many fangirl squeals.
  • Instant Drama, Just Add Tracheotomy: In Lover Reborn, Tohrment has to do this to Wrath after he's shot in the throat and bleeding out. In the back of a moving car, with a pocketknife and a straw, no less!
  • Intimate Healing: Manny finds that sexual arousal is the way to heal Payne's paralysis in Lover Unleashed. He even makes reference to the Marvine Gaye song "Sexual Healing" Vishous also does this with Butch, after the latter sucks up a lesser. To the point that Jane initially assumes Vishous is gay.
  • Interspecies Romance: Technically, humans, vampires, doggen and sympaths are distinct species that only occasionally successfully cross-breed.
  • Immortal Procreation Clause: Vampires are only fertile once every decade, and pregnancy is very highly likely to result in miscarriage or death of the mother in childbirth. As Tohrment puts it, 'It's a goddamn shellan-robber'.
  • It's Personal: This is pretty much how all the males react if someone hurts their female, but it is especially apparent in Lover Mine, when John finds out that Xhex had been raped by Lash. It's personal because he, too, had been raped, though by a stranger, as a pre-trans. John's drive to kill Lash goes from a 10 to a 20 on a scale of 1-10, and even his friends remark that by raping Xhex, Lash had signed his own death warrant.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Zsadist and Bella, near the end of Lover Awakened. Butch and Doc Jane for V in Lover Unleashed.
  • James Bondage: When Rehvenge is taken by the sympaths.
  • Knife Nut: Vishous
  • Kryptonite Factor: Called a "pyrocant", this can be an external factor such as a relationship, or or internal such as an addiction.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: Ward has always spoken of the books as being dictated to her by the characters, and not written by her.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: With rare exception, the whole Brotherhood, Wrath in particular (he can sit on the ends of his hair without much trouble.)
  • Long-Lost Relative:
    • Phury and Zsadist, though long before the series starts.
    • John and Beth count as this too, though in a strange way.
    • Also Wrath, Butch and Manny.
  • Long-Running Book Series: Eleven so far.
  • Love at First Sight: That's pretty much how male vampire bonding works.
  • Love Redeems
  • Love Dodecahedron: Overlapping love triangles, bordering on Dating Do-Si-Do. In their introduction, Quinn and Blay had some UST. This evolved over the course of several books into Quinn/Blay/Saxton and Layla/Quinn/Blay. As of Lover Unleashed Layla/Qhuinn is no longer part of the equation...Er, maybe. On the heels of their conversation in Lover Unleashed Qhuinn remembers the vision he had when he was briefly dead, of a little girl who looks like Layla, but has mismatched eyes... Poor Layla: she's now in Throe/Layla/Xcor and while she and Qhuinn have been resolved ( They Do, but it's expressly platonic, for procreation only) she's in a hell of a muddle.
    • Throe/Layla/Xcor also seems to have resolved itself, with the first guy moving on. Unfortunately, the latter two are on opposite sides of a civil war.
  • Love Triangle: Phury/Bella/Zsadist, Marissa/Rhevenge/Butch.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father
    • The Scribe Virgin informs Vishous that she's his mother.
    • Xhex's mother is a member of The Chosen.
  • Manly Gay: Pretty much all the gay or bisexual characters. The closest to come to flamboyant is Saxton, and he's still portrayed as pretty manly.
  • Masochism Tango: Part of Mr. O's backstory is a mutually abusive relationship with his girlfriend.
  • Masquerade: Upheld by vampires' ability to erase short term, non-traumatic memories from humans.
  • Mooks: The unnamed lessers fit this trope to a T, being about as disposable as used tissues.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: Although most of the male characters have been around the block a few thousand times, their love interests are either virgins or women with limited and/or previously only unsatisfactory experiences.
    • Xhex is an aversion. It is mentioned that she had an affair with Rehvenge and a liaison with Butch; and Lover Mine revealed she was once happily mated to a brother named Muhrder (yes, Muhrder), before he found out about her sympath half.
    • Bella gender flips this; in her case, it was Zsadist who was sexually inexperienced (outside of his abuse) and it's Bella who teaches him.
    • Phury also gender flips this, though Cormia was also a virgin.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Subverted. Most of the scariest names belong to the good guys.
  • "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: Lash uses this to taunt John Matthew with, having raped his Love Interest Xhex while holding her in captivity. When Xhex vehemently denies that the sex was consensual, John Matthew is reminded of his own rape and mops the floor with Lash.
  • Odd Name Out: Among the Brothers there is Tohrment, Wrath, Rhage, Vishous, Zsadist, Phury, and... Darius. Guess who dies...
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: One woman was killed by lessers and was stuck in limbo for awhile before the Scribe Virgin brought her back as a ghost. She's transparent in appearance, but can become corporeal if she tries. To her hellren, she is always solid.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: They're a separate species from humans, to start — you're born a vampire, you don't get "turned." Unless you have some vampire DNA...
  • Panicky Expectant Father: All of the Brothers whose mates become pregnant get like this, to some degree due to the high mortality rate for both the child and the mother.
  • Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality: Zsadist has this as a result of his time being used a sex slave.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Zsadist and Phury. Although they're not so different as the story continues...
  • Property of Love: When a male vampire bonds, he becomes the property of his female. So far, the feeling between the vampire males and their females is mutual.
  • Promotion to Parent: Rehvenge towards Bella, after the death of her father.
  • Painful Transformation: Rhage, when his beast comes out (and the aftermath)
    • And also the transition to becoming a fully-fledged vampire.
    • And the rare transformation from human to vampire.
      • Also the transformation from human to lesser.
  • Paranormal Romance
  • Patronymic
  • Product Placement: Holy Scribe Virgin, everyone in the series is a brand whore.
    • Particularly egregious offenders are Butch and Vishous (who wear Gucci and Louis Vuitton), and John Matthew and Qhuinn (who are strictly into Affliction t-shirts and Abercrombie and Fitch jeans).
      • What about Phury? He was the one who got Butch started on his clothing fetish! He favors Dior, Tom Ford and Armani.
    • Not to mention specific brands of alcohol, cigarettes, shoes, ties...
    • There is even a mention of a specific brand of cat food in Dark Lover.
  • Purple Is Powerful : Rehvenge has amethyst eyes. He later becomes king of the sympaths.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Assail seems to have the ability to do this.
  • Rags to Royalty: Butch finds out about two-thirds of the way through his book that he is of Wrath's bloodline.
  • Rape as Drama: Treated with remarkable sensitivity in a series otherwise very tongue-in-cheek. Ward showcases almost every form of it, from coercion to physical force, and in every gender combination. In all cases the trauma is taken seriously, and each character responds and copes in their own way.
  • Rape and Revenge: Happens twice. Zsadist gets revenge on his rapist by killing her and taking her skull, though it was not planned. Xhex gets revenge on her rapist, Lash, by killing him.
  • Rape Is The New Dead Parents: And four of the major characters get both!
  • Really Gets Around: Rhage is the biggest one, before meeting Mary. Vishous, as well, before meeting Jane.
  • Royal Blood: Wrath is the king of all vampires, Butch is his cousin, and Rehvenge becomes King of the Sympaths.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Wrath maintains (secretly) an active role in the war with the lessers, and Rehvenge goes to meet with the colony every so often to keep the peace.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: If a vampire has had your blood, he (or she) can find you forever, no matter where you are or how far you run.
  • Secret War: By unspoken agreement, vampires and lessers will stop fighting and move the battle to a less human-populated location. As it's explained, having human cops poking around is bad news for both species.
  • Semi-Divine: Vishous is the son of the Scribe Virgin, the deity vampires pray to in his universe. He also has a twin sister named Payne....
  • Separated at Birth: Phury and Zsadist were separated as infants; their nanny kidnapped Zsadist to be sold into slavery. Phury takes it upon himself to find his twin (who is the favored first-born twin), and takes a vow of celibacy after he finds him.
  • Sex Equals Love: Averted.
  • Sex Slave: Zsadist was one, as well as a blood slave.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Phury and Butch. Each, in their interviews, mentions having multiple closets and favoring high-class designer clothes.
  • Shower Of Love: Used a few times in the series, notable between Manny and Payne in Lover Unleashed and a non-sexual but romantic example between Xhex and John in Lover Mine.
  • Sibling Team: Phury and Zsadist
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Once a brother 'bonds' with a female, formally or informally, it is virtually impossible for them to do anything without the female's approval.
    • In the later books, Blay's unrequited love for Qhuinn, which isn't all that unrequited, Qhuinn's just incredibly emotionally repressed.
  • Sinister Scythe : Xcor, Throe and the Band of Bastards have them.
  • Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: Vampires are a highly patriarchal society. Bonded males are highly protective of their mates, which in terms of the Brothers means they stay safely in the mansion, away from the fighting. Most of the women are fine with this (or mostly fine), but Xhex takes major issue with it. Xhex and John spend most of the latest book separated over this issue. She wants to fight, but John's protective instinct means he keeps babying her in the middle of battle and putting himself in harm's way. Xhex, being highly independent and a skilled fighter, naturally gets pissed off.
    • There's also another vampire-like society out there that completely flips this on its head; women seem to be in charge of almost everything with any men in positions of power being religious leaders or those with positions that must answer to women. The society is ruled by a queen whose consort must live in total isolation in the Palace grounds, with the only visitors being servants and family. One of the characters lives in terror of this fate.
  • Sliding Scale of Vampire Friendliness: Pretty solidly in the friendly end of the scale.
  • Smells Sexy: The bonding scent is used as a warning to other males and an aphrodisiac to the female who inspires it.
  • Social Darwinist: The entire Primale/Chosen breeding program. Also the Scribe Virgin's reason for choosing the Bloodletter to father her children.
  • Soul Jar: The ceramic jars of the lessers that hold their hearts.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Payne nicely demonstrates the trope in Lover Unleashed.
    And if you try to dissuade me by the fact that I have not lived long enough to judge, I say unto you...fuck off.
  • The Sociopath: All sympaths are believed to be this, since they tend to have a total lack of morals and empathy. Half-breeds like Xhex and Rehvenge can subvert this, though they have to constantly battle their Superpowered Evil Side throughout their lives.
  • The Speechless: John Matthew, who was born without vocal chords. He alternately uses pen and paper and sign language to communicate with those around him.
  • Sue Donym: When Rhage tries to pass as human with Mary, he takes his nickname (Hollywood) and makes it Hal E Wood.
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome: Let's see, there's Vishous, Butch, John, Wrath, Rehv....
  • Totally Radical: Younger John, Quinn and Blay's slang is a little anachronistic.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Arguably Wellsie, along with Tohr's unborn son, who were murdered by a Lesser in Lover Awakened.
  • Self-Surgery: Rhage used to do this all the time before Jane came along. As he put it, 'When you can use your large intestine as a belt loop, that's how you know you've hit the pros!'
  • Spell My Name with an S: The Brothers names are cool words with an extra "H" or "S" thrown in.
  • Tears of Blood: Xhex and Rhevenge do this in place of normal tears. A sympath trait, apparently.
  • Title Drop: Done in Lover Mine, page 482. Also somewhat done in Lover Eternal, Lover Awakened, and Lover Enshrined.
  • The Dandy: Throe is outright stated to have been this before he fell in with the Band of Bastards.
  • The Spartan Way: The Bloodletter's war camp where Vishous and Darius trained.
  • The Unfavorite:
    • Phury was the second-born twin, which signifies a curse upon his family. After his twin is kidnapped, Phury is alternatively ignored and abused by his parents. He mentions that they did not notice when he left to find Zsadist, and that he did not attend their funerals.
    • Butch is the un-favorite of his father, being cast aside and beaten as a child. He also blames Butch for the murder of Butch's older sister.
  • Took a Level in Badass: This seems to happen to all vampires upon their transition from pre-trans into full vampires. After the awkward, getting-used-to-new-larger-limbs phase. Especially notable in John Matthew between his transition and Lover Mine, owing to the fact that his Love Interest was kidnapped by his enemy.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: Kind of the whole point of the series.
  • Vampires Own Night Clubs: Just ask Rehvenge, owner first of Zero Sum, and then of The Iron Mask.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Havers.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?
  • Will They or Won't They?: It drives the plot of the couple featured in the book, but that is pretty much cut and dry, since they're romance novels with a fairly predictable formula. The real "Will They, Won't They?" couple would probably be Qhuinn and Blaylock.
    • Eventually, They Do; it just takes them a looooong time.
  • Women Prefer Strong Men: This series IS this trope. And shamelessly so.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Payne and the Chosen throw around a lot of "verily"s, along with the occasional "thine" (used ungrammatically) and reversed verb-noun order. It is also seen in the flashbacks.


Anita BlakeParanormal RomanceBlood and Chocolate
Billibub BaddingsLiterature of the 2000sBlack Dogs
Black CompanyFantasy LiteratureBlack Dogs
Betsy the Vampire QueenVampire FictionBlood Books

alternative title(s): Black Dagger Brotherhood
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