Saturday, July 19, 2008

Lara Adrian – Midnight Breed – Series Review

So, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I’m guessing JR Ward is really, really flattered by this series. There are so many similarities that I almost believe it’s completely coincidental – setting out to do it on purpose would be just too obvious, and, well, tacky.

I’ve had a few conversations with fans and several of them have insisted that any similarities are merely superficial, and the books are entirely different. This truly mystifies me. There are so many commonalities, I couldn’t help but start making a mental checklist. So here we go:

Characters:





































The BreedThe BDBDescription
LucanWrathPurest of the breed, leader of the warriors
CamlanDariusKilled early in first book. Damn nice guy.
DanteRhageThe pretty one with intimacy issues
Tegan Zsadist“Broken, not damaged” – even the other warriors are a little scared of him and don’t fully trust him.
RioTohrmentLoses his mate tragically. Goes off to die alone in a cave. (are you kidding me? both of them? in a cave? No, yes, and yes.)
GideonVishousTech-head IT genius
Chase*ButchCivilian cop caught up in the warrior world.
Andreas TBD...
Niko TBD...
Phury*(no parallel)
*is tragically and misguidedly in love with his brother’s mate.



Seriously, there’s a boy-band joke in here somewhere. I just can’t quite get it to gel.

Then there are points that revolve around the world-building, the “mission” of the warriors, the structure of their race’s society, and, since these are romances, certain aspects to the emotional/physiological connections in the mating process:

Plot points:


























The BreedThe BDB
Live together in a militaristic compoundLive together in a militaristic compound
Chartered with protecting civilian vampiresChartered with protecting civilian vampires
Viewed with suspicion and some contempt by civilian aristocracy. Feeling is mutual.
Viewed with suspicion and some contempt by civilian aristocracy. Feeling is mutual.
Keeping the race a secret from humans is a paramount concern. Largely accomplished by “scrubbing” human minds (erasing their memories) Keeping the race a secret from humans is a paramount concern. Largely accomplished by “scrubbing” human minds (erasing their memories)
Vampires may have a variety of paranormal talents/skills. The purer the vampire pedigree, the stronger the skill is likely to be. (granted, this is a bigger deal in Adrian’s books, more of a sidenote in the BDB)Vampires may have a variety of paranormal talents/skills. The purer the vampire pedigree, the stronger the skill is likely to be.
Typically older generation vampires, but not necessarilyDeliberately bred as a subspecies of the larger vampire population
Origin of the species is pseudo-scientific/biologicalOrigin of the species is pseudo-religious/spiritual
Fights hopelessly blood-addicted vampire Rogues.Fights undead, soulless lesser (former humans)
Requires human blood for sustenance. There are no female vampires.Requires blood of female vampires for sustenance. Human blood can work, but not well and the vampire’s health will eventually suffer.
Can blood-bond to and procreate with certain human women who carry a particular genetic compatibility and are conveniently marked with a distinctive birthmark. Once made, the bond is permanent and the males are fiercely territorial.If lucky, “bonds” to a mate. Generally represents a life-long, unbreakable tie. Bonded males are fiercely territorial. Can mate without bonding.
Cannot turn humans into vampires but can create Minions who are enthralled to their maker. Not common among “civilized” vampire society.Can turn humans in very rare circumstances if the human has any vampire DNA.
Series arc develops along warfare/battle strategySeries arc develops along warfare/battle strategy




O’Donovan has talked about the BDB’s slang before and how much it bugs her – I actually like it and find it more believable than Adrian’s. I suspect that O’Donovan would make boggley eyes at me and completely disagree. But regardless of what you think of Ward’s vocabulary choice, the rhythm and pacing of her dialog is compelling, and to my ear, Adrian’s is more labored and less believable.

Like Ward’s, Adrian’s heroes are tortured souls, trying to do good in spite of their own certainty that they themselves are NOT “good.” Personally, I think Ward does a better job of tapping into her alpha’s hidden tenderness, making me ache for his pain. It’s not that Adrian’s are terrible, but they are SO similar to Ward’s, I can’t help but make direct comparisons and I think Ward just gets it really really right.

It’s not all bad news. Adrian is a competent writer and puts together a good story. You can't fake that, no matter what your inspiration is. I like her heroines better than Ward’s; they’re more fully developed. I think that if you can’t get enough of JR Ward, Adrian is a reasonable second choice to turn to.

If you'd like to read Adrian's take on the similarities between the series, she does talk about it here: Interview with Lara Adrian. The authors share an agent, and Ward provided a cover quote for the series, so I'm guessing there's no bad blood** over the subject.

_________
**sorry, I couldn't resist.

11 comments:

Peter Chen @ Enviroman (Blog*Star) said...

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Peter Blog*Star
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sayuri60 said...

Heh!

I love them both but not equally.

Andreas always kinda reminded me of Rehvenge. Pimp, outsider.... *shrug*

Nicola O. said...

I could see that, sayuri. I don't think I know Andreas well enough though, and Rehv's whole symphath gig makes him pretty unique.

I'll also cop to the comparison between Vishous and Gideon being really superficial.

But still. Boy band. I'm saying.

Anonymous said...

Add to the list Gena Showalter's "Lords of the Underworld" series. Six dark lords cursed by the gods to host demons such as Death, Pain, Promiscuity, Violence, etc. who live together in (say it with me now) a compound. An interesting premise, but I almost threw Book One of the series (Darkest Night, Maddox/Violence's story) against the wall trying to keep the six warriors AND their demon alter-egos straight in my head... And even more warriors were added to the mix at the end of Darkest Night! Book Two, Darkest Kiss, seems to be easier going - there are fewer POV characters - but I haven't decided whether I'll stick with it yet.

Generic

O'Donovan said...

> O’Donovan has talked about the BDB’s slang before and how much it bugs her – I actually like it and find it more believable than Adrian’s.

I'm unburying myself from work (finally) and, OK, now I have a mission for the weekend.

Nicola O. said...

LOL -- so is the mission to convince me that the BDB slang sucks, or to read Lara Adrian?

Cuz you've already tried on the first count....

O'Donovan said...

Whaaaat? But I love the BDB. In fact, i would argue that I love them more than anyone else, because I love them DESPITE MY DESIRE TO HATE THEM.

Nope, I'm reading Lara Adrian this weekend, just to see if the slang makes me more or less nuts than JRW's slang.

Nicola O. said...

OK, but you once threatened to write a whole post on how much Ward's slang annoyed you.

I think Adrian's is less intrusive/overbearing than Ward's, but what there is doesn't ring true to me. See what ya think.

Shannon said...

Your comparison charts are great. Spot on. I don't know. Adrian does a good job, but Ward takes it a step further each time. I don't know if Adrian's creation is a pale version of BDB, or if the BDB is Adrian's Breed on steroids. Whatever the case, I like the Breed, but I heart the BDB.

Anonymous said...

My Favs in Order:
Black Dagger Brotherhood
Lords of he Underworld
Dark Hunter Series
Midnight Breed
Sookie Stackhouse Novels
Twilight

If anyone has any other recommendations that are as good as the others I listed i would appreciate them.

Anonymous said...

I have a suggestion you have to begin with the first novel because its an ongoing series however I love it. Not as much as BDB, DarkHunters or Midnight Breed...but its right up there. Its by Katie MacAlister's The Dark One's series....Enjoy

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