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:
|The Breed||The BDB||Description|
|Lucan||Wrath||Purest of the breed, leader of the warriors|
|Camlan||Darius||Killed early in first book. Damn nice guy.|
|Dante||Rhage||The 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.|
|Rio||Tohrment||Loses 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.)|
|Gideon||Vishous||Tech-head IT genius|
|Chase*||Butch||Civilian cop caught up in the warrior world.|
|*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:
|The Breed||The BDB|
|Live together in a militaristic compound||Live together in a militaristic compound|
|Chartered with protecting civilian vampires||Chartered 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 necessarily||Deliberately bred as a subspecies of the larger vampire population|
|Origin of the species is pseudo-scientific/biological||Origin 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 strategy||Series 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.