So let’s take another look at Xhex and Lover Mine. Now, I could be splitting hairs or being a plain drag, but I still can’t get over how J. R. Ward just totally destroyed this character. Here’s why:
*WARNING: Spoiler Alert*
The thing with the shiny satin dresses on her Barbie doll characters always did bother me. I never thought I’d see Xhex playing house in one…AND CRYING over the oh-so-ESTEEMED honor or recieving such teenage normativity like she was made the f*ckin’ prom queen or something. *Miss America wave, cries*
John Matthew, AKA Tehrror, comes along after she’s been raped and abused repeatedly by Lash and voila–she’s ready to have sex again. Disbelieve my disbelief if you can.
She definitely should be crying and screaming after what happened to her–let it all out–but my disbelief will not be suspended: J.R. Ward should totally not have made her into a softer, more stereotypical girlie like the rest of them. Xhex went from being hardcore and totally cool to sliding right down the scale to being like Phury’s-what-‘s-her-name.
Though she fights with the Brothers, she isn’t considered a Brother–whatever the equivalent is. You shittin’ me!
She can avenge herself, JM. You feelings are understood but… Go away and stop being overbearing.
Xhex is probably the most radical female character in the entire series thus far presented candidly. Ward just broke her down and made her into a cliche. Is this her idea of a HEA (“happily ever after” in chatspeak)? If so, she needs to go have her brain checked and I need to have my brain checked for wasting my time on this.
As a dedicated supporter of the good that the romance genre does offer despite all its issues, I bought J. R. Ward’s latest book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, Lover Mine in an act of faith.
This book is primarily about John Matthew (aka Tehrror) and Xhex. As a womanist and Black feminist, I tend to focus on what’s going on with the heroin in relation to the men in the story instead of the other way around. I admired Xhex a lot because she was different from all the other heroins in the series, by her very demeanor and life experiences; most of all, she could fight for herself, she didn’t need to be protected by a male and could, for the most part, look out for herself. Eventually, I was disappointed in the way Xhex came out over the course of the book.
Xhex’s breakdown after being captured by Lash and fighting against his torture and rape for months didn’t lead to her becoming a stronger character. It seems it only led to her becoming a more docile version of her former self in order for her to become suitable for being mated to John Matthew. I was looking for her to open herself to what she was feeling, but this isn’t what I wanted, expected, or anticipated. In her eagerness to deliver what on her message forums for the series is called an HEA (“Happily Ever After”), she perpetuates stereotypes, cliches, and archetypes of what its means to be in a “happy” romantic relationship…for white heteronormative audiences.
I read Payne’s scenes with Wrath and all that. As for most of the rest of the book, it wasn’t something I wanted to open myself up to. I’m just trying to forget it right now.
I bought the book to read and returned it to get my damn money back. It wasn’t worth it.
At first I was very amused by Ward’s attempt at writing an urban fantasy with white vampires. Some of it is really funny and it resonates with me. At this point though, I think Ward needs to stick to writing what she knows, not what she fantasizes about.
This post pertains to events that occurred on November 24 2009.
4 of my threads on J.R.Ward’s message board have pulled by moderators in less than a couple of hours. The threads were “Race Issues in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series”, “Homoeroticism in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series”, “A Little Respect: The Ladies in BDB”, and “Rap and Rap Culture in BDB”. I rubbed the mods and admins the wrong way with my radical activist and Black feminist views.
Most of all, I rubbed the hardcore, die-hard fans and the lazy escapist readers the wrong way!
100+ views for two of the threads, I think. I don’t know how many they really got because they were pulled so fast! Over 600+ views (720+ for one of them) for two of the those threads. 600+ views! For people who didn’t want to listen to what I had to say, they sure did look…A LOT! And read a lot of it, too, apparently.
Message boards for authors are a joke. At least in my experience. Ward’s BDB message board, in particular, a place for hardcore white, middleclass, feminist-wannabes to vent about much they LUV machismo, being oppressed, and reading about other white women who are internally oppressed and like being oppressed just like them. Its sad. Then you have women of color, poor, and/or working class women who read this romantic redressing of old anti-feminist and first and second wave white feminist archetypes and are sucked in by it. It is also a place for escapism and a extension of the marginalization and exotization of minority people including Hispanic/Latinos, Black and African peoples, Muslims, and the queer community.
I had much of a similar problem with moderators on Laurel K. Hamilton’s boards. My previous account was suspended maybe once or twice and I received plenty of warnings from mods who pulled my threads. But it was the snarky white members that were really causing all the problems. That’s why I voluntarily left the boards there.
The mods and admins are angry and they are the gods of BDB Boardom! I hath been judged and warned!
I really am tired of not having a flame-free environment online at the very least to discuss the issues I find in the series that I read with reasonable people who are open to understanding the social implications of the books they read. I am sick to death of lazy ass mods and capitalist white-minded site admins who want to satisfy their white readers at the expense of minorities.
As an avid reader of paranormal/fantasy/romantica/etc., I can now say without a doubt that J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood is a series that I will not be purchasing again. I got it for my birthday, but her last book nearly cost 40 bucks and to top it off it wasn’t that great, for reasons I will soon comment on.
The last book I actually bought was Lover Enshrined and I’ve regretted it ever since. I’ll buy with skepticism and return soon after from now on.
The General Manager of J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood Message Board has spoken! I hath been judged! Having received an official warning, I will be banned if I do not shut my trap!
A thread question to the author has been pulled by mods and I’ve been attacked and ganged up on by hardcore board members all in the same day. 😦
It is official. J.R. Ward’s message board is reserved for hero worship only. My account EliasDiamond will be banned if I do not cease in my inquiries primarily about race and culture, class, sexism, and heterosexism in her books.
I will raise no more topics…online at BDB at least!
The pervasive appropriation and use of rap music and rap culture with not one single person of color present as a regular character directly tied into the plot.
The use of the word “Moors” to refer to characters who are obviously Black. Trez and iAm are subservient to a white male vampire (Rehvenge) who just happens to be a drug-dealing, club-owning, substance-abusing (not to ignore his “handicap” but still) pimp.
The absence of women of color and vampires of color.
The heavy Christian overtones. Just bludgeon me already!
The heavy references to designer labels. Capitalism and classism, people.
The homoerotic relationships with no real homosexual couples present in the books are an affront to the queer community as the book currently stands.
The Scribe Virgin. Period.
Vishous is a misogynist. I understand the deal with his mom, but, jeez, its so apparent.
Lover Enshrined. The whole thing.
Bella, Marissa, Beth, Jane, Cormia, Mary & Rhage. The caveman-eat-from-my-hand-guard-you-with-my-knife-traps-you-in-my-mansion-for the rest of your life-for-”your safety and mine”-but-its-all-your-choice-of-course thing. That’s all I’m saying.