Book Review

Doc Turtle: Dark Lover by JR Ward Chapters 41-44

Title: Dark Lover
Author: J. R. Ward
Genre: Paranormal

Book CoverCould it be?  Why, yes!  It’s a summary of Chapters 41 through 44 of J.R. Ward’s Dark Lover!

Howdy all!  It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had a chance to sit down and snark on a few more chapters of Ward’s much-vaunted vampire tome.  (I blame my tenure packet, due in a little over a month to my department Chair.)  I need to get back in the saddle and ride on through these last chapters, as there aren’t many left.

These last few chapters are for the most part short, silly, and incredibly oy-inducing.  I hope y’all enjoy.

Chapter 41: Looooooving you…is easy ‘cause you’re beautiful…

On page 305, Beth wakes up beside her lover, and when he too awakens she finally professes her love to him: “I love you,” she says.  This comes 44 pages after Wrath had said the same to her, but hers is a bit more tender; his “I love you” had been followed by “damn you!  Goddamn you, don’t you let go!

Here’s a question that’s sure to cause most of the Bitchery derisively to snort “Feh.  Noob!”: in a typical romance novel, who says “I love you” first, the guy or the girl?  And by how many pages?  And under what circumstances are those words first spoken?  Under duress?  In times of tenderness?  Out of sheer desperation?  How typical is Dark Lover by this measure?

Beth and Wrath play another bedbound round of “hide the pickle” and then we’re sent back to Butch, who’s waking up in very different circumstances, namely in bed next to Vishous.  “His new buddy.  Fellow Red Sox fan.  Wicked smart IT guy.  Fricking vampire.”

Yes, Butch is starting to feel at home with these bloodsuckers.  “You don’t have much to go back to [in your old life], do you?” Vishous asks him.

“Naw, I don’t have anything,” Butch answers after a considerable period of deliberation during which time he examines his job, his love life, his missing sister, his family (“in Southie”)…everything but his pet hamster Jo-Jo who died when he was in the second grade.

Their brief tête-à-tête done with, Vishous rolls over to get a few more hours of sleep, but not before doling out another dose of annoyingly stilted pseudogangsta slang: “If I’m not up by eight, wake me, true?”

Which reminds me of a really bad joke a friend of mine told me the other day, which must be told with a lazy urban drawl for it to be at all funny:

Q: What does Snoop Dogg have in his toolbox?

A: Four chisels.

Chapter 42: …And the award for Worst Use of Metonymy goes to…

As we begin this chapter Beth is going through her pre-matrimonial ablutions while learning to live with a rock the size of Glenn Beck’s ego on her finger.  After smacking the thing against the bathroom countertop, she counts her blessings sardonically: “Would that all of life’s little adjustments be so hard.  Fiancé slides a priceless hunk of geology on your finger.  What a bummer.”

“Geology”?  Really?  Who on Earth would think, especially in the midst of a slang-laden inner monologue, to substitute the technical term for the academic study of an object for the object itself?

“Yeah, she’s a good Catholic.  Only eats ichthyology on Fridays.”

“I gotta crunch the mathematics, but I’m thinking we’ll still be a few bucks short.”

“Her kitchen was overridden with the little fuckers, myrmecology all over the trash bin.”

As Beth continues to prep for the wedding ceremony, another female vampire shows up.  “It’s Wellsie.  I’m Tohr’s shellan.”  She’s brought Beth a gown.  “The dress was an antique, with black beading over lace on the bodice and a tremendous waterfall of a skirt.”

“Are you sure you want to lend it to me?” Beth asks.

“Clothes are meant to be worn.  And that gown hasn’t been on a body since 1814.”

Beth decides to go with the gown, and to go along with Wellsie.  As the only two BDB wives, they’ll have to stick together.  I sense a strong buddy-buddy bond developing between these two over the course of the next several books.

This mercifully short chapter ends as Wrath and Vishous head out to “take care of something” before the wedding ceremony begins.

Chapter 43: Can we make spoons?

The better part of this chapter is spent in limning the nascent relationship between Butch and Marissa.  All the while I was reading Marissa’s stilted dialogue, she reminded me very much of a character in some other book or in some movie, but I couldn’t put my finger on which character it was.

I was about halfway through the chapter when it finally dawned on me: Marissa is essentially Fabienne in Pulp Fiction.  (Interestingly enough, Fabienne’s boyfriend is also named “Butch.” Coincidence?  Probably.)  Think about it: stilted dialogue?  (“I feel safe.  I feel pretty.  And sometimes other things.”)  Check.  Hint of a vague, ill-defined accent?  Check?  Sexual naïveté?  (“I get hot.  Especially here…and here.”)  Check.  Every time I turned the page I expected to meet the line “any time is a good time for pie!”

All in all this chapter’s about the most awkwardly written in the book, and that’s saying a lot.  There are wobbly attempts at clever construction, like Butch’s lament at Marissa’s seeming to suck the air from the room: “Where the hell was all the air in this part of North America?”  (This line elicited the first of nine “oy”s I’d write in the margins of this chapter.)  There are sad attempts at contemporary slangage, like “it was way time for a break.” And there are simply silly, but vaguely funny, sentences, like Butch’s observation regarding his discomfiture in dealing with his new ladylove: “a virgin vampire was a category of female he knew absolutely nothing about.”

Yeah, silly.

Oh, and Zsadist likes chutney.

Chapter 44:These aren’t the droids you’re looking for

On the other side of town Wrath and Vishous are staking out Billy Riddle, when who should pull up but everyone’s favorite lesser, Mr. X.  “You’ve got to be kidding me,” Wrath says.

“That’s a lesser, my brother.”

Sadly, there’s no time to finish the job they’d come to do.  The cops show up, driving “a nondescript American sedan.”  Really, J.R.?  Did the last check Chrysler send you bounce?

In any case, Wrath and Vishous dematerialize to safety, but not before they’ve wiped the humans’ minds clean of any traces of their encounter.  Memoryless, the cops let Billy and Mr. X go on their merry way.  Of course, the old vampire mind tricks don’t work on the forelesser Mr. X, and he remembers it all.

“The Blind King lived…The Blind King.  In Caldwell.”  Apparently Wrath’s reputation precedes him.

Next: It’s a…good day for a…dark wedding!

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Tina C. says:

    I was just wondering the other day where you’d gone off to.  Great review, as usual! 

    Butch, who’s waking up in very different circumstances, namely in bed next to Vishous.  “His new buddy.  Fellow Red Sox fan.  Wicked smart IT guy.  Fricking vampire.”

    Why are they waking next to each other?  After a night of drunken debauchery?  Because it was really cold outside?  Inquiring minds want to know.

    In answer to who usually says “I love you” first, I think the guy usually says it out-loud, first, but both are usually thinking it (and thinking that the other doesn’t feel the same) around the same time.

  2. 2
    MicheleKS says:

    Doc Turtle, I >heart< you. Between the mulitple uses of stupid word and dialogue choices, the Glen Beck shot (his ego is really nothing but hot air full of stupidity), and all-around brillance, you have made my day.

    And when a guy says ‘I love you’ it’s a big thing. If the woman hasn’t said it by then she’ll chime in right after that.

  3. 3
    Terry Odell says:

    Sadly, there’s no time to finish the job they’d come to do.  The cops show up, driving “a nondescript American sedan.”  Really, J.R.?  Did the last check Chrysler send you bounce?

    Snort.

    And I’m with the above comments. The guy usually says it out loud first, but I think there’s some leeway. At least I hope so, because I wrote a short story where he didn’t, but it still worked. Then again, that was the whole point of the story.

    There’s also supposed to be the moment where he realizes he loves her, which usually comes well before he’s willing to say it.

    And now that I’ve read this (another wonderful review—thanks, Doc), I can go have my coffee.

  4. 4
    SB Sarah says:

    Yo, Doc: Why does Snoop Dogg carry an umbrella?

    For drizzle.

  5. 5
    Heike M. says:

    “Yeah, she’s a good Catholic.  Only eats ichthyology on Fridays.”
    “I gotta crunch the mathematics, but I’m thinking we’ll still be a few bucks short.”
    “Her kitchen was overridden with the little fuckers, myrmecology all over the trash bin.”

    LOL! Thank you!

  6. 6
    Courtney says:

    Laughing hysterically does not mix well with coffee!:-)

    Thanks to Doc Turtle for another wonderful review.

    I think most of the time the guy says the I love you first but usually we have the realization of the love a bit earlier. Interesting question though. I’ll have to think about it.

    Thanks for giving me something to ponder in my boring staff meeting:-)

  7. 7
    MamaNice says:

    I was surfing around all too late last night, thinking, it’d be nice to read some DocTurtle right now…and look what I find this morning!

    I don’t see myself ever finding enough time I’d be willing to throw away on reading these books, but I have thoroughly enjoyed your account!

    Now I plan to go through my day sprinkling my conversation with “True.” and “My brother”‘s…I’ll probably end up getting my ass kicked.

    The whole house of the BlackDagger boys (or whatever they’re called) talk like the cast of Tool Academy.

    ‘cept maybe a little lamer

  8. 8
    AngW says:

    Doc Turtle:

    I thank you.
    My coffee thanks you.
    My keyboard and monitor would like you to jump in a lake. 

    A Doc Turtle Wednesday is a happy Wednesday.

  9. 9
    RStewie says:

    “I gotta crunch the mathematics, but I’m thinking we’ll still be a few bucks short.”

    I’m using this in a meeting today, I swear!  Even though I actually don’t do any of the “mathmatics” at my job!

    Soo great to see Doc back!  …also going to throw out another plea for Flowers from the Storm to be the next book he gets to read!

  10. 10
    Corrine says:

    As the only two BDB wives, they’ll have to stick together.  I sense a strong buddy-buddy bond developing between these two over the course of the next several books.

    …Yeah, not so much. This was one twist I didn’t see coming in this series.

  11. 11

    What did Snoop Dogg say when he saw the cheap plastic cocktail set?

    Faux swizzle.

  12. 12
    Star Opal says:

    WOOHOO!

    Ah, chillin’ with Doc Turtle’s review on a Wednesday, ya feelin’ it?

    As always, quality stuff, sir.

    In my short experience as a romance reader, the majority of the time it’s man first on the “I love you”s. I suspect this has a lot to do with two scenarios:

    1) who is carrying the most emotional baggage (usually him) vs. who is more insecure about themselves personally (usually her). He realizes he needs her but struggles with it, she realizes she needs him but for some reason doesn’t think he’ll want her for the long haul so she sits like patience on a monument. He says “I love you” she’s happy that he wants her and eventually, if not always immediately, says it back.

    2) She’s the one with the majority of issue having and he’s relatively balanced. Therefore he’s emotionally more into the prospect of loving someone and announces it early/middle of the book and the rest of the book is about her coming to terms and saying it back.

    These are two extreme generalizations though, it doesn’t always go this way.

  13. 13
    theo says:

    “Her kitchen was overridden with the little fuckers, myrmecology all over the trash bin.”

    Coffee sprayed over laptop as vision of Edmund Gwenn floats through my mind, standing before Wrath, explaining why Beth is late to her own wedding. LOL

    The first four of these books are vampire crack for me, eye-rolling bad in spots but impossible for me to put down. Thanks to your review, I’ll never be able to read them again the same way *g*

    Please tell me you’re going to do them all. No hurry, but you’re so much more fun to read.

  14. 14
    Christina says:

    What does Snoop Dogg use when he does the laundry?

    Ble-atch!

  15. 15
    Lori says:

    IME the man generally says “I love you” first in romance novels, at least out loud. The woman is often thinking it first, but doesn’t say it.

    The person who says it first is taking a risk that makes them vulnerable to rejection—-a lots of things in romance novels are about a man taking risks for, and making himself vulnerable to a woman, so the timing of the declarations fits that.

  16. 16
    Carrie Lofty says:

    *hearts* Fabienne.

    Tulip is much better than mongoloid.

  17. 17
    Kalen Hughes says:

    “Her kitchen was overridden with the little fuckers, myrmecology all over the trash bin.”

    Reminds me of my favorite “open letter” on McSweeney’s: An Open Letter to the Leader of the Ant Nation Residing in My Bathroom. Only now “Ant” will be forever replaced in my head by “Myrmecology”, LOL!

  18. 18
    Rose says:

    A new Doc Turtle review! Having never read the books, in what context does the chutney revelation occur?

    Good luck with the tenure!

  19. 19
    MelB says:

    I love me the Doc Turtle commentary. I should know by now never to have something to drink while reading your posts.

    As far as the I Love You’s…I’ve seen books where the guys do it first, others where the ladies lead off and then others where they are on the brink of love, but not there yet. I’ve only written one where the characters say the I love you’s and he went first, but she was right behind. My other two were up in the air, the couples in question were just moving toward that feeling by the end of the story.

  20. 20
    Elizabeth Wadsworth says:

    Another reason why the guy is usually the first to say “I love you”, especially in historicals:  Nice Girls Aren’t Supposed To Be Forward.

    Really enjoying this review, by the way, Doc!  glad you haven’t forgottten us!

  21. 21
    Librariahn says:

    Wouldn’t it be cool if you get tenure and THEN they find out you’re a practically immortal type vampire warrior…and they’ll have to let you teach classes and pay you FOREVER?

    Muwahahahaha! 

    Good luck on the tenure thing, tho. Really. For true.

  22. 22
    Tina C. says:

    Another reason why the guy is usually the first to say “I love you”, especially in historicals:  Nice Girls Aren’t Supposed To Be Forward.

    It’s also used as part of the “Groveling to Atone for My Previous Asshattery” scene that many of the guys have in romances.  For example:

    “I know that I was cold and ruthless and I treated you badly when I accused you of lying when you said that the baby wasn’t yours.  I know now that all of this could have been resolved with an actual conversation and, just perhaps, a simple blood test (since it is 2009).  None of that matters now.  I love you.  I love the baby.  I love you and the baby and I don’t want you to leave me.  I’ll do whatever I can to make it up to you…”

  23. 23
    Babs says:

    Props for the Pulp Fiction reference. Srsly. The movie might have been over the top (the Dick Dale opening is a definite hint at the nature of the movie) but it sounds like this book surpasses it!

  24. 24
    SonomaLass says:

    Yes, the guy usually says it first, especially in historical romance. I find it very refreshing when that is reversed.

    Of course, in m/m the guy ALWAYS says it first!

  25. 25
    kelly says:

    who says “I love you” first, the guy or the girl?  And by how many pages?  And under what circumstances are those words first spoken?  Under duress?  In times of tenderness?  Out of sheer desperation?  How typical is Dark Lover by this measure?

    I agree with everyone else.  The guy usually says it first.  It usually happens late in the story – 2/3rds in at least, sometimes the last page.  The circumstances are varied by the story, but usually after much wrestling with the idea.  So, yes, yes, and yes to the next 3 questions – could happen under duress – in an argument, times of tenderness – during or after sex, and out of sheer desperation – I’m going to lose you to ____ whatever.  And, I’ve not read Dark Lover, nor will I, but I totally LOVE your review and have been waiting impatiently for this installment.  Based on what you’ve revealed in your review, it’s on par.

  26. 26

    “Her kitchen was overridden with the little fuckers, myrmecology all over the trash bin.”

    OMG.  I am so much in love with Doc Turtle!  See?  I said it first and I wasn’t stressed or having a gun held to my head or anything!

  27. 27
    willa says:

    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful review!

    I can’t seem to find the review of chapters 36 through 40, though. Arrgh! Maybe these chapters weren’t reviewed? Or maybe I’m a dunce and can’t find the post for them?

  28. 28
    Suze says:

    It’s also used as part of the “Groveling to Atone for My Previous Asshattery” scene that many of the guys have in romances.  For example:

    “I know that I was cold and ruthless and I treated you badly when I accused you of lying when you said that the baby wasn’t yours.  I know now that all of this could have been resolved with an actual conversation and, just perhaps, a simple blood test (since it is 2009).  None of that matters now.  I love you.  I love the baby.  I love you and the baby and I don’t want you to leave me.  I’ll do whatever I can to make it up to you…”

    Word, my Sister.  True?  True!

  29. 29
    bzangl says:

    If the girl says it first, it is usually mid-sexorring or we just escaped danger, and the man is all—your just caught up in the moment/adrenaline, and then the girl will never say it again and pretend she doesn’t care, until the guys says and really, truly means it!

  30. 30
    SB Sarah says:

    Willa: here’s 36-40.

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