The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward is a popular paranormal romance series known for its intricate world-building, complex characters, and steamy romance scenes. The series has a huge fan base and has sold millions of copies worldwide. It combines tropes of fantasy and romance, making it an entertaining read for fans.
The central theme of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series is love and loyalty. The series explores the deep bonds of friendship and brotherhood between the Black Dagger Brotherhood members. They fight to protect their race from their enemies. The series also explores the power of love as the members of the Brotherhood fall in love with human women and struggle to balance their vampire instincts with their human emotions.
Overall, the Black Dagger Brotherhood series is an entertaining and engaging paranormal romance series that will delight fans. Each book in the series is filled with action, adventure, and suspense, which keeps readers engaged from start to finish. If you are waiting to read, follow my reading guide for the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, so you don’t miss anything.
Black Dagger Brotherhood Reading Order (BDB Reading Guide)
The author recommended reading the “Black Dagger Brotherhood” (BDB) series in order because each book builds on the previous one and contains spoilers for the earlier one. The series follows a group of vampire warriors who protect their species from various threats while also dealing with their own personal demons and romantic relationships.
The books are heavily interconnected, with recurring characters and ongoing storylines that are best appreciated when read in order. Reading the series in order also helps you understand the world-building and character development that J.R. Ward has crafted. That being said, it’s possible to enjoy individual books as standalone stories, but you may miss important context and references to previous events in the series.
Tropes: Forbidden Love, Alpha Male, Strong Heroine, Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Redemption.
Here is the Black Dagger Brotherhood series reading order with their anthologies:
- Dark Lover (2005).
- Lover Eternal (2006).
- Lover Awakened (2006).
- Lover Revealed (2007).
- Lover Unbound (2007).
- Lover Enshrined (2008).
- Lover Avenged (2009).
- Lover Mine (2010).
- Lover Unleashed (2011).
- Lover Reborn (2012).
- Lover at Last (2013).
- The King (2014).
- The Shadows (2015).
- Blood Kiss.
14. The Beast (2016).
- Blood Vow.
15. The Chosen (2017).
- Blood Fury.
16. The Thief (2018).
- Prisoner Of Night.
17. The Savior (2019).
- Blood Truth.
- Where Winter Finds You.
18. The Sinner (2020).
- The Jackal.
- A Warm Heart In Winter.
19. Lover Unveiled (2021).
- The Wolf.
20. Lover Arisen (2022).
21. Lassiter (2023).
eBooks in the Black Dagger Brotherhood (BDB World):
- Father Mine (BDB Insider’s Guide).
- Story Of Son (in the DEAD AFTER DARK anthology).
- Dearest IVIE.
Checkout my order list: Black Dagger Brotherhood Series
1. Dark Lover
This is the first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, which introduces readers to the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, a group of elite vampire warriors. They protect their race from the Lessening Society. A group of soulless humans is bent on destroying the vampire race. The book’s primary focus is loyalty, as the Brotherhood members are fiercely loyal to each other and their race. They are willing to do whatever to protect their own.
We follow Wrath (vampire king), who falls in love with a human woman, Beth, who is unaware of her own vampire heritage. The author creates a detailed world of vampires with its own mythology. He introduces readers to a wide range of characters, including the members of the Brotherhood, and sets up storylines that will continue throughout the series.
2. Lover Eternal
We follow the story of Rhage, one of the members of the Brotherhood, and his romance with a human woman named Mary. The book’s main theme is the power of love to overcome even the darkest circumstances. Rhage struggles with a deadly curse that threatens to consume him but finds hope through his love for Mary.
The book features the trope of the damaged hero, and I always love this type of hero. Rhage is a tormented character who must learn to overcome his inner demons to find happiness. We get to introduce several new characters and storylines, including the villainous Lessening Society and the shadowy figure, the Scribe Virgin, who plays a pivotal role in the series.
3. Love Awakened
This one is my top favorite book compared to all the books in the series. We follow a vampire named Zsadist, whose tragic past has left him emotionally scarred to form attachments with others. However, when he meets a female vampire named Bella, who needs his help to escape, he realizes that he may be capable of love after all.
The novel covers Ward’s trademark mix of action, romance, and supernatural elements, emphasizing character development and exploring the complexities of relationships. Ward is known for her ability to create rich, immersive worlds and compelling characters, and “Love Awakened” is no exception. However, readers who are not fans of the genre may find the supernatural elements and dramatic plotlines less engaging.
4. Lover Revealed
This fourth novel follows the story of Butch O’Neal, a police officer who has been drawn into the world of vampires through his friendship with the Brotherhood. As Butch becomes more involved with the Brotherhood and their ongoing battle against the Lessening Society, he becomes increasingly attracted to a vampire named Marissa.
However, Marissa is from a highly traditional vampire family and has been conditioned to believe that she is unworthy of love and happiness. Again, Ward delivers a compelling blend of intense emotional drama, steamy romantic tension, and thrilling fight scenes. Fans of the series will enjoy the continued exploration of the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s world and the ongoing battle against the Lessening Society.
5. Lover Unbound
We follow Vishous, one of the Brotherhood’s most complex and enigmatic members. The story opens with Vishous being captured and tortured by the Lessening Society, which sets the stage for a dark and intense exploration of his past and present struggles. Also, we get to see Vishous’s complicated relationships with his family, Brotherhood members, and a vampire named Jane.
The novel is emotionally intense, with themes of trauma, healing, and redemption arcing throughout. While some readers may find the novel’s darker tone and themes challenging to read, fans of the series will appreciate the continued exploration of the BDB’s world.
6. Lover Enshrined
This novel covers the story of Phury, one of the Brotherhood’s most troubled members. Phury struggles with addiction and guilt over his past mistakes, and his journey to find redemption forms the novel’s core. The story also shows the complex relationships between the members of the Brotherhood and their various allies and enemies. I wouldn’t say I liked the slower pacing, and the character development was less engaging than in the previous books in the series. Overall, you can enjoy it without any expectations.
7. Lover Avenged
The book continues to follow the lives and romances of the Brotherhood, a group of warrior vampires who protect their race against their enemies. The story focuses on Rehvenge, a half-sympathy/half-vampire struggling to hide his dual nature from his friends and family. He becomes involved with Ehlena, a nurse at the Brotherhood’s mansion. Their romance is complicated by Rehvenge’s drug trade involvement and loyalty to his people.
Rehvenge is a fascinating protagonist, torn between his loyalty to his family and his desire to protect Ehlena. His struggle with his dual nature adds an intriguing layer of depth to his character. The book also features several subplots, including the ongoing war between the Brotherhood and their enemies, the Lessers, and the growing relationship between John Matthew and Xhex. While these subplots add complexity to the story, they can also feel overwhelming, especially for readers new to the series.
8. Lover Mine
We have John Matthew, a member of the Brotherhood who is still recovering from the trauma of his past. He becomes involved with Xhex, a half-sympathy held captive by the enemy. John is determined to rescue her, but their romance is complicated by Xhex’s past and the ongoing war between the Brotherhood and their enemies.
One of the strongest aspects is emotional depth. John and Xhex have suffered dramatically in their pasts. Their journey toward healing and trust is both heartbreaking and heartwarming, which makes it a must-read for fans of the series.
9. Lover Unleashed
In this ninth book, we follow Payne, the twin sister of Vishous, who has been imprisoned for centuries. She is freed and becomes involved with Manny, a human doctor treating her injuries. As a previously unknown member of the Brotherhood, her story adds an intriguing new dimension to the series.
10. Lover Reborn
A former member of the Brotherhood, Tohrment, has been struggling to cope with losing his wife and unborn child. He becomes involved with No’One, who has suffered significant loss and struggles to find her place in the world. Tohrment’s struggles are deeply felt, and his journey toward healing is inspiring. No’One is also a compelling character, grappling with her trauma and seeking meaning in her life.
11. Lover at Last
This story focuses on Qhuinn and Blay, two members of the Brotherhood who have been dancing around their feelings for each other for years. They finally give in to their desires and navigate their relationship and the expectations of the Brotherhood. Their romance is heartfelt, and their struggles to find acceptance and understanding are excellent. The subplots can sometimes feel overwhelming, and the book’s climactic battle feels unsatisfying for me.
12. The King
We focus on Wrath, the king of the vampires, and his struggles to protect his people and family. An ancient enemy threatens the safety of the vampire race. Wrath leads the Brotherhood into battle and makes difficult decisions about the future of his race. As the king of the vampires, he carries a heavy burden of responsibility, and his struggles to balance his duty with his relationships make for a compelling storyline.
The book also features strong performances from the supporting cast, with several characters getting their own subplots and moments to shine. The pacing is well-done, with the action and emotional moments coming at the right times.
13. The Shadows
Trez and iAm are two Shadows bound by duty to their queen. Trez falls in love with a human woman and makes difficult choices about his loyalty to his people. One of the strongest aspects is the exploration of Trez’s character. He struggles to balance his duty with his desires. We also see strong performances from the supporting cast, with several characters getting their own subplots.
14. The Beast
Rhage and Mary a couple who has been struggling with their relationship in recent years. A new threat emerges and puts Mary’s life in danger. Rhage confronts his past and makes difficult choices to protect his love. The book’s resolution provides a satisfying conclusion to Rhage and Mary’s storyline. However, some readers may find the book’s plot somewhat predictable, and the romance between Rhage and Mary is not as engaging as in earlier entries in the series.
15. The Chosen
The story focuses on Xcor and Layla, who have been on opposite sides of the conflict between the Brotherhood. Layla becomes pregnant with Xcor’s child, and the two navigate their feelings for each other and the challenges of their respective factions. However, the book’s repetitive focus on Xcor and Layla’s relationship and limited appearances of popular characters may be drawbacks for some readers.
16. The Thief
This book follows the journey of Gen, a skilled thief who is captured and offered a chance to gain his freedom by stealing a valuable artifact for the King of Sounis. The story is full of twists and turns, and the author keeps the reader guessing the characters’ true motivations and allegiances. The world-building is also impressive, with richly detailed descriptions of the political and social systems of the world.
17. The Savior
A former member of the Brotherhood (Murhder) has been in exile for years, and his quest is to clear his name and reunite with the woman he loves. Murhder is a complex and flawed protagonist, struggling with guilt and regret over his past actions. His redemption arc is well-written, and the emotional moments throughout the story are impactful.
18. The Sinner
Our multifaceted protagonist Syn is a former member of a gang. He loves Jo Early, a human detective who is investigating a series of murders. His relationship with Jo is slow-burn and emotional, which makes their romance compelling. However, the underdeveloped murder investigation and repetitive themes are drawbacks for some readers.
19. Lover Unveiled
The story focuses on Sahvage, a half-vampire, half-human living in the shadows, and his relationship with a doctor named Mae. Sahvage is a unique protagonist with a complicated past and a strong sense of justice. The world-building continues to impress, with new insights into the world of the series and its mythology. The book’s exploration of the Order of the Ancients and their role in the vampire world is fascinating, providing new layers of intrigue and conflict to the series.
20. Lover Arisen
This book features multiple points of view, with the main couple being Balthazar and Erika, whose story revolves around demon possession and a quest for a Book of Spells. However, the main couple’s characters and love story felt flat due to the many storylines.
This book features Lassiter, an angel who has been a supporting character in several previous books. Lassiter is tasked with locating the reincarnated soul of a former ally, and his quest leads him to a small town in Kentucky. There, he meets Nora, who is caring for a young boy with special needs. The book is a mix of paranormal romance and mystery. Fans of the “Black Dagger Brotherhood” series will likely enjoy the continuation of the universe and the exploration of Lassiter’s character.
If you enjoy paranormal romance with a darker edge, complex characters, and unique world-building, then the “Black Dagger Brotherhood” series may be worth checking out.
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