main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
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 and Beth)
  • Lover Eternal (Rhage and Mary)
  • Lover Awakened (Zsadist and Bella)
  • Lover Revealed (Butch and Marissa)
  • Lover Unbound (Vishous and Jane)
  • Lover Enshrined (Phury and Cormia)
  • Lover Avenged (Rehvenge and Ehlena)
  • Lover Mine (John Matthew and Xhex)
  • Lover Unleashed (Payne and Manny)
  • Lover Reborn (Tohrment and No'one)
  • Lover At Last (Qhuinn and Blaylock)
  • The King (Wrath and Beth again)

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 after the death of Hannah, Jane's younger sister.
    • 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.
    • Bella's father and Rehvenge's stepfather. He used to police his eight-year-old daughter's eating habits due to the petrifying fear she'd gain weight. This meant Bella went hungry a lot. Watching Bella pour herself another bowl of cereal is a very emotional moment in Rehvenge's life.
    • Saxton's father, who disowned him after Saxton came out. In The King we see Thyme forbid Saxton to address him as "Father."
  • 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: Plenty of love interests do this, but this is Xhex's bread and butter.
    • After seeing Wrath shot, Beth brains a man with a blunt object. Then she crouches over Wrath with a small knife and kills an attack dog coming after them. When Butch and Vishous arrive to back them up, she is in full protector mode and hisses at them.
      Vishous: She was standing over his body, ready to take the cop and me on with her bare hands if she had to. Like Wrath was her cub, you feel me?
    • Payne is the only vampire allowed to spar with Wrath.
    • Sola has a cat burglar vibe going on, and she's a definite criminal. Then in The King we watch her beat a man to death with a chain and then cut off his hand.
  • Action Girlfriend: Xhex, which given the extremely protective nature of bonded males, creates rifts between her and John.
    • Also Payne for Manny, who is a doctor.
  • After Action Patch Up: They're warriors, who fight. This happens between several characters. It actually makes up an important part of Vishous' 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.
    • Beth first meets Rhage when he's giving himself stitches in her downstairs bathroom.
    • An Establishing Character Moment for Beth in Dark Lover, when she brings Rhage some Alka-Seltzer after a fight. This endears her to Wrath.
  • 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 inverted 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: In Lover Eternal Rhage really likes to hear Mary talk.
  • 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.
    The Scribe Virgin: The Black Dagger Brotherhood is cursed. There are none left in it who do not suffer.
    • Zsadist's arc moves him from out-and-out bad guy to this through the healing power of love.
  • 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.
    • Qhuinn was like this for everyone except Blaylock, for whom he was Sleeps with Everyone but You. Blay actually lampshaded this at various points in the series.
  • 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.
    • Responsible for the attempted assassination of Wrath's mother, Ahna, because they didn't feel she was a suitable candidate for queen.
    • In The King they force Wrath to choose between Beth and the throne. Beth takes a third option.
  • 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.
    • Wrath's parents. Wrath's father falls in love with Ahna on sight.
    • Wrath's first (unconsummated) marriage to Marissa, which made Marissa Wrath's Unwanted Spouse.
  • 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, 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.
    Butch: Yeah, no Tom, Dick, and Harry names for the vampire types. But come on, could you really imagine some lethal bloodsucker named Howard? Eugene? Oh, no, Wallie, please don't bite my—
    • 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.
    • In The King we have a guy named s'Ex.
  • 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.
    • Beth and Butch. They made out in Dark Lover and Beth complimented his technique, but said she felt no chemistry. By this point she was already involved with Wrath, which made Butch something of a Hopeless Suitor.
    • Marissa and Wrath. After they dissolve their Arranged Marriage, it's clear that Wrath still respects Marissa very much, which is why he doesn't kill her brother for the assassination attempt.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • Havers towards Marissa. Perceiving Wrath to be abusing Marissa, Havers calls a hit out on the king. However, he's younger than Marissa by five years.
    • 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.
    • This is a running theme throughout the Brotherhood, but Zsadist is definitely a standout.
  • 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. Everyone who knows him thinks he has naturally black eyes, until he falls in love with Bella and starts to mellow out. Everyone is baffled to realize that he and Phury actually have the same eye color.
  • 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.
    • Wrath's first description in the series is "off the chain when it came to the business of vengeance, and he hunted their enemies with a single-minded purpose that bordered on the insane."
  • 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.
  • Car Bomb: How Darius dies, kickstarting the plot. Noted by the Scribe Virgin as being a "dishonorable" death.
  • Celibate Hero: Phury until he meets Cormia.
  • Cool Shades: Wrath, though out of necessity, not by choice
  • Cowboy Cop: Butch, while he's on the force
  • 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. Eating lessers causes Rhage some pretty bad indigestion.
  • Dating Do-Si-Do: In the beginning of the series, Marissa and Wrath are mated. But then Wrath leaves Marissa for Beth, on whom Butch has a crush. Then Butch meets Marissa. In later books, this causes jealousy from Vishous, who has an If It's You, It's Okay thing going on with Butch. But then Vishous meets Jane. Jane worked with this guy named Manny, who asked her out once. Then it turns out that Vishous has a twin sister, Payne, with whom Manny falls in love.
    • Blaylock and Qhuinn have Unresolved Sexual Tension. Blaylock starts dating Qhuinn's cousin, Saxton. Qhuinn has an encounter with Layla, and they decide to raise a child together. Through this, there is continued Will They or Won't They? between Blay and Qhuinn. They do. Then Layla ends up in a love triangle between Throe and Xcor. Then Throe moves on, but the remaining two are on opposing sides of a civil war.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: EVERYONE.
    • Wrath watched his parents murdered in front of him when he was a pre-trans. He was locked in an air vent at the time, and deals with a lot of guilt because he stopped screaming so his parents' murderers wouldn't be able to find him and kill him too.
    • 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.
    • Beth narrowly avoids this by having an emergency hysterectomy.
  • 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 for John.
  • Direct Line to the Author: See Literary Agent Hypothesis.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: In Dark Lover, the lessers use these to lure civilian vampires out of hiding.
  • Distaff Counterpart and Spear Counterpart: Payne & Vishous and Doc Jane & Manny.
  • Domestic Abuse: Bella's father (Rehvenge's stepfather) towards their mother. This is one of the reasons 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.
  • Emergency Transformation: Done three times, with Mary (human-turned-immortal and cancer-free), Butch (human-turned-vampire), and Jane, (human-turned-tangible-ghost.)
  • 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.
  • Ermine Cape Effect: Subverted. Wrath only puts on ceremonial robes for...well, ceremonies.
  • 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.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Butch goes in to interrogate a would-be rapist, knees him in the crotch, and grinds his broken nose into the floor while Mirandizing him.
    Butch: Now let's get your paperwork done. I'd hate not to follow proper police procedure.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: It's a series of erotic novels. This one is a given.
  • Evil Albino: While not technically having albinism, the lessers gradually lose all pigmentation in their bodies.
    • Again, not technically albinism, but the Shadows get tattoos by using poison that will kill the melanin in their skin. The more you have, the scarier you are.
  • 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.
  • Fantastic Racism: Wrath towards humans, before falling in love with the half-human Beth.
    Wrath: (thinking) Cattle, all of them.
    Wrath: (thinking) There are only two good positions for a human. A female on her back. And a male facedown and not breathing.
    • Lessers, towards vampires. Mr. X thinks of the race as a good excuse to get away with a murder spree.
  • Fiery Redhead: Wellsie.
  • 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
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Wrath sums this up pretty nicely in Dark Lover.
    Wrath: (thinking) Welcome to the wonderful world of jealousy. For the price of admission, you get a splitting headache, a nearly irresistible urge to commit murder, and an inferiority complex. Yippee.
  • 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, Butch, and Manny. 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.
    • A big sticking point for the glymera, who use this as a reason Beth is unworthy to be queen in The King. Their logic is that any children she has with Wrath, and therefore any heirs to the throne, will be too human.
  • Happily Married: Most of the mated main couples, though Beth and Wrath hit a rocky spot in Lover Avenged and The King. So do V and Jane in Lover Unleashed.
    • Tohr and Wellsie. For a while.
    • Xhex and John have a lot of issues with Xhex being in the field. They get better, though.
  • 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.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Butch, for Beth, in Dark Lover.
  • 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.
    • In Lover Unleashed Jane tells V she'd be okay with him cheating on her, as long as it was with Butch.
  • 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'.
    • The reason Wrath is so resistant to having children with Beth.
  • 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: Vishous does this with Butch, after the latter sucks up a lesser. To the point that Jane initially assumes Vishous is gay.
    • 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"
  • Interspecies Romance: Technically, humans, vampires, doggen, and sympaths are distinct species that only occasionally successfully cross-breed.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Rhage's curse turns him into a dragon whenever he loses control of his emotions. When he's in human form, it forms a tattoo on his back.
  • 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.
  • The Jeeves: Fritz.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Beth's cat, Boo, brings this out in a lot of the Brothers. Wrath is really scary to Beth until Boo leaps into his arms and Wrath starts purring.
    • Phury's point when encouraging Wrath and Beth to move in with the Brotherhood is "if she lives with us, we get to keep the cat."
  • 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.
  • Legacy of Service: When Darius dies, he leaves Fritz, his butler, to Beth.
  • 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 galore.
    • In Dark Lover we have Marissa/Wrath/Beth and Wrath/Beth/Butch.
  • Love Triangle: Phury/Bella/Zsadist, Rehvenge/Marissa/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.
  • Mistaken For Prostitute: Butch's first interaction with Marissa. He thinks her innocence is too good to be real. It's not, and she tells him off when he tells her to drop the virgin act.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • My Parents Are Dead: Beth does this to Butch in Dark Lover.
    Butch: I heard you'd been in the system. Mind if I ask why?
    Beth: Why do you think? No parents.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Subverted. Most of the scariest names belong to the good guys.
  • Near-Rape Experience: Beth in the beginning of Dark Lover.
  • "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...
  • Old Retainer: Fritz.
  • 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...
  • 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
  • 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.
    • Wrath, in The King. Justified, as it's stated Beth would have died if not for ghostly intervention.
  • Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality: Zsadist has this as a result of his time being used a sex slave.
  • Patronymic: How vampires are addressed.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Zsadist and Phury. Although they're not so different as the story continues...
  • 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).
      • Phury 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.
  • 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.
    • Averted with Xhex, who makes it clear that she's not going to put her life on hold for John's comfort.
  • Promotion to Parent: Rehvenge towards Bella, after the death of her father.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Assail seems to have the ability to do this.
  • Purple Is Powerful : Rehvenge has amethyst eyes. He later becomes king of the sympaths.
  • Rags to Riches: Beth starts out Dark Lover having been through the foster system and then an orphanage. By the middle of it, she is revealed to be a high-ranking aristocrat in the vampire world, thanks to her father's rank as princeps. And she inherits a lot of property as well as a butler.
  • 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.
    • Wrath puts his wedding to Beth on hold until he can avenge her honor by murdering her would-be rapist, Billy Riddle.
  • 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.
    If sex were food, Rhage would have been morbidly obese.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Tohr gives this to Wrath in Dark Lover after Wrath blames Darius' death on Tohr's love for Wellsie.
    Tohrment: And you've been dead for hundreds of years. You're just too mean to find a grave and lie down.
  • 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.
    • Kicked Up to Eleven in The King, when Wrath begins to hold private audiences with civilians who had previously never seen him in public. It wins him the popular vote for leadership in their new democracy.
  • 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.
  • Self-Surgery: Rhage used to do this all the time before Jane came along.
    Rhage: When you can use your large intestine as a belt loop, that's how you know you've hit the pros!
  • 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.
    • Vishous and Payne. Vishous was sent to his father's training camp, and Payne stayed with their mother in the realm of the Chosen.
  • Servant Race: The doggen. Distinguishable from vampires in that they don't seem to need to feed and they can go out in the daylight, but are highly involved in vampire culture.
  • 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, notably 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
    • Vishous and Payne
    • Trez and iAm.
  • 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.
  • 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 Lover Reborn 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.
    Payne: 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.
  • Spell My Name with an S: The Brothers names are cool words with an extra "H" or "S" thrown in.
  • 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.
  • Stock Ninja Weaponry: Wrath uses hira shuriken in Dark Lover.
  • 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....
  • Tears of Blood: Xhex and Rhevenge do this in place of normal tears. A sympath trait, apparently.
  • Tell Me About My Mother: Beth does this for Darius with Wrath and Fritz. Fritz' is specifically about how invested Darius was in Beth's life, and it leads to a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
  • 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 in vampire culture is ingrained as The Unfavorite because it 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.
    • Jane was this in comparison to her terminally ill sister Hannah. After Hannah died, the situation turned into Abusive Parents.
  • Title Drop: Done in Lover Mine, page 482. Also somewhat done in Lover Eternal, Lover Awakened, and Lover Enshrined.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Arguably Wellsie, along with Tohr's unborn son, who were murdered by a Lesser in Lover Awakened.
    • Implied with Wrath's parents. The King makes it seem as though their relationship and their love for one another was this, as it doomed them to be murdered.
  • 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.
  • Totally Radical: Younger John, Quinn and Blay's slang is a little anachronistic.
  • Unwanted Spouse: Marissa, for Wrath at the beginning of the series.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: Kind of the whole point of the series.
  • Vampire Monarch: Wrath. Until they become a democracy in The King.
  • Vampires Own Night Clubs: Just ask Rehvenge, owner first of Zero Sum, and then of The Iron Mask.
  • Vegetarian Vampire: Havers is working towards this, trying to find a way to feed without having to involve anyone else. He's repulsed by the idea since the death of his shellan before the series.
  • 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.
    • Now it's looking like it's going to be Layla and Xcor.
  • 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
Betsy the Vampire QueenVampire FictionBlood Books
Billibub BaddingsLiterature of the 2000sBlack Dogs
Black CompanyFantasy LiteratureBlack Dogs

alternative title(s): Black Dagger Brotherhood
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy