Best Black Dagger Brotherhood Reading Order By J.R. Ward (26 Books And Counting): The Ultimate Guide

Are you planning to read the Black Dagger Brotherhood series? If you are, then you’re making a great choice.

Best Black Dagger Brotherhood Reading Order By J.R. Ward (26 Books And Counting): The Ultimate Guide

The Black Dagger Brotherhood is known for being one of the very best series within the paranormal romance genre, and currently has a main series plus three spin-off series, too!

But, which way should you read this series? From chronological order to publication order, which option is going to be the best?

If you are currently asking yourself this question, then rest assured that you’ve come to the right article. In this guide, I’m going to be sharing with you the best way to read the Black Dagger series by J.R. Ward.

And that’s not all! Along with providing you with the ultimate reading order, I’m also going to be providing you with additional insight into what you can expect to get from this series as a whole.

So, without further ado, just keep on reading to discover the best order to read the Black Dagger series by J.R. Ward! Read on.

About The Black Dagger Brotherhood

So, before we get any further into this guide, I first think that it would be a good idea to provide you with some insight into what this series is all about.

That way, you’re going to be in a much better position to decide for yourself whether or not this series is going to be a good reading choice for you. What is Black Dagger Brotherhood all about?

Well, this series is essentially a paranormal-romance series that places a heavy emphasis on vampire mythology.

Over the course of the series, there is a brewing tension between vampires and their slayers in Caldwell, New York, and the promise of an upcoming war.

Each installment of the series focuses on a new brother of the Brotherhood, including their past, present and Beloved partner.

At the time of writing, there is still an upcoming book that is planning to be released in April of 2023. Here are some of the themes explored:

  • Betrayal
  • Life and Death
  • Romance
  • Familial Ties
  • Justice
  • The paranormal

The Black Dagger Brotherhood Reading Order

By far, the very best way that you can read the Black Dagger Brotherhood series is by order of publication.

Not only is this recommended for readers old and new to the series, but reading the series in order of publication will also ensure that you will be able to enjoy the best reading experience possible, as it will be read in the way that the author intended.

Along with this, opting to read the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by order of publication will also ensure that you are able to read this series with the optimum story continuation and flow of the plot.

So, without further ado, let’s go ahead and learn the order in which you should be reading the books, as well as a little bit of information about each one, too:

Dark Lover (Book One)

Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 1)

The first book in the series, Dark Lover is the first installment in this extremely popular series and also just so happens to be a #1 New York Times bestselling novel, too! So, what can you expect from this first book in the series?

As the only purebred vampire that is left on the planet and the leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Wrath is on a quest to find the person who killed his parents many centuries ago.

However, Wrath’s determination to hunt down his parent’s killer is brought to a halt when his most reliable fighter is killed and he is forced to orphan a half-breed daughter. 

Introduced as Beth Randall, Wrath soon begins to tell Beth all about his tales of the Brotherhood.

Though she is frightened and scared of Wrath, she is also deeply intrigued by him and can’t help but feel attracted to him by a hunger that is so strong it could consume them both.


  • Creative, dark, and gripping.
  • Heavily focused on the paranormal and vampires.
  • Described as being “Adrenaline-pumping!”


  • Some readers describe the plot as having minor holes in certain places.

Lover Eternal (Book Two)

Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 2)

In the second installment in the series, we are introduced to some new characters. In Lover Eternal, the focus is placed on Rhage, a warrior vampire who is described as having the “strongest of appetites”.

He has been cursed to endure 200 years of hell, but when he meets Mary Luce – an innocent human, he finds himself encountering a feeling that he hasn’t felt in centuries: love.

With enemies drawing near, Mary and Rhage find themselves falling deeper in love, despite the worry that it might never last. Can they both share a life together that will last forever?


  • Introduced to new characters.
  • Thrilling and heavily focused on romance.
  • Easy to read and gripping.


  • Some readers find the plot difficult to follow from the first book.

Lover Awakened (Book Three)

Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 3)

In the third installment, the story centers itself around the war raging between vampires and the slayers, not to mention an underground group of brothers more deadly than others – the 6 vampire warriors.

One of them is known as Zsadist, and is the scariest member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

Lover Awakened follows Zsadist and his past until he falls for an aristocrat that he rescued. Can she help him overcome the wounds of the past?


  • Well-paced and a real page turner.
  • Past and present writing styles for added variation.
  • Gripping, romantic, and sure to be a page turner.


  • Some describe the plotline as being farfetched.

Lover Revealed (Book Four)

Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 4)

Offering more plot continuation than ever before, Lover Revealed is also centered around the raging war in New York.

In this fourth installment, you’ll meet Butch O’Neal who has a penchant for fighting and is the only human that has ever been allowed to be a member of the 6 brothers.

He falls for an aristocratic vampire who falls right back, but when he sacrifices himself for a civilian, it’s up to his love, Marissa, to bring him back. Can she do it?


  • Fast-paced and a “race against the clock” style story.
  • New characters.
  • Lots of romance.


  • Some find that this book contains filler text.

Lover Unbound (Book Five)

Lover Unbound (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 5)

Described as being ruthless and evil, Lover Unbound focuses on Vishous, who is another member of the brotherhood. He’s known for being destructive and deadly and has the unique ability to see into the future.

Vishous also has no desire for love, that is, until he meets a human surgeon and falls deep. Can he change his ways?


  • Thrilling and engaging.
  • Paranormal genre full of romance.
  • Easy to read and gripping.


Some find it to be a little hard to engage with at points.

Lover Enshrined (Book Six)

Lover Enshrined (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 6)

In book six, Lover Enshrined, the plot opens with a dutiful twin being forced to choose between two lives.

Even though Phury has willingly volunteered to keep the Black Dagger Brotherhood bloodlines alive, when he starts to fall deep for the chosen Cormla, he’ll need to choose between his head and his heart.


  • Lots of focus on forbidden love.
  • Easy to read and entertaining.
  • Sharp, clear, and purposeful dialogue.


Lots of readers wish that the romance between Phury and Cormla was explored in more detail.

Father Mine (Book Seven)

Father Mine: Zsadist and Bella's Story: A Black Dagger Brotherhood Novella

Ever since the birth of his baby girl, Zsadist has been tormented by the pain and torture of the past.

Despite having a beautiful partner and a baby girl, Zsadist finds himself experiencing nightmares so bad each night that he wakes up in a cold sweat. Can he overcome his troubles and come back to the present before all is lost?


  • Lots of new characters to get to know.
  • Easy to read and entertaining.


  • Some readers find this installment to add nothing to the overall series.

Lover Avenged (Book Eight)

Lover Avenged (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 7)

Rehvenge, known as a half-breed, is all too familiar with hiding in the shadows. He’s a club owner and is tough – so tough that he can even handle some of the Brothers.

Rehvenge is keeping a dark secret, and when the Brotherhood comes to him for allegiance, Rehvenge is at risk of being exposed. What will he do?


  • New characters!
  • Easy to read and entertaining.
  • Lots of passion, ideal for those that enjoy romance.


Some find this book can be repetitive in certain places.

Lover Mine (Book Nine)

Lover Mine (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 8)

Set against the backdrop of the raging tension between vampires and their slayers in Caldwell, John Matthew has just completed his vampire transition.

Though he’s trying to look ahead to the future, John is plagued by the past and afraid of whether he has the ability to become a warrior hero.

But, when the love of his life is kidnapped, John has to decide whether he’s going to finally step up.


  • Good story flow that helps to drive the underlying tension in Caldwell forward.
  • Plenty of new characters.


  • Some readers find that the dialogue can be hard to follow at points.

Lover Unleashed (Book Ten)

Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 9)

Payne, who is the twin sister of Vishous, shares the same personality as her brother. After being prisoned by their mother for years, she finally frees herself and soon meets Manuel Manello – a human surgeon.

When their worlds collide, the two find themselves falling in love fast, but with so much going against them – can love conquer all?


  • Focus on female agency and freedom.
  • Easy to read with plenty of clear dialogue.


  • Some feel that the romance sub-genre does not add to the agency of Payne.

Lover Reborn (Book Eleven)

Lover Reborn (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 10)

Tohrment is back in the Brotherhood but he is no longer the fierce leader that he once was. Not only is he physically weak, but he is also heartbroken beyond repair.

In his dreams, Tohrment is visited by a self-serving fallen angel who tells him that he has to let go of his beloved and find someone else for the greater good.

That’s when Tohrment knows that his fat, and everyone else’s, is doomed. Can he find his strength before it’s too late?


  • Lots of romance helps to drive the plot forward.
  • Sharp and clear dialogue.


  • Some readers find that the plot structure is repetitive.

Lover At Last (Book Twelve)

Lover At Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 11)

In the twelfth installment, tensions are rising in Caldwell, New York. Qhuinn, described as being the son of no one – has seemingly gotten used to being on his own.

Finally, he has established himself as a brutal fighter and has the chance to build a family of his own.

But, there’s just one thing standing in the way of his new future – the love he lost from his past. Can Qhuinn find the courage to find closure?


  • Heavy emphasis on the theme “light and dark”.
  • Easy to follow and has a great story flow.
  • New characters.


  • Some readers feel that the dialogue isn’t as sharp as it could be.

The King (Book Thirteen)

The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 12)

After turning his back on the royal bloodline, Wrath finally decides to sit on the throne with his queen.

But, with the threat of war looming from the Lessening Society, Wrath is soon forced to make a choice that will put everyone at risk – including his beloved human Beth.


  • Growing tension between the Brotherhood and the slayers.
  • War looming – intense and page-turning.
  • Plenty of romance.


  • Some wish there was a greater focus on romance.

The Shadows (Book Fourteen)

The Shadows (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 13)

In this fourteenth installment of the series, two brothers are bound by much more than blood as they fight to change their scary destiny.

Trez and iAm are bound by responsibility and brotherly love, and it isn’t until chosen by Selena that Trez is able to turn his life around – the one thing that iAm has been tasked with achieving.

Despite falling for Selena, the pledge that Trez made to be with the Queen’s daughter hasn’t been forgotten, and he’s going to have to decide between his heart and his responsibility.

Will iAm make the ultimate sacrifice for Trez’s happiness?


  • New themes are explored including familial ties.
  • New characters.


  • Some readers have stated this book’s plot can be hard to follow at certain times.

The Beast (Book Fifteen)

The Beast (Black Dagger Brotherhood Book 14)

The Beaster centers itself around Rhage, the member of the Brotherhood who has the biggest of appetites.

Despite his bloodthirst, Rhage is also known for having a big heart, which explains why he loves Mary who is his beloved shellan.

Still, Rhage can’t understand why, when everything is seemingly going right in his life, he’s feeling panic and fear of the unknown.

Rhage needs time to go within and figure out what he is feeling, but Mary is on a whirlwind adventure of her own, and it’s either going to bring them closer or tear them apart forever.


  • Excellent continuation of the plot.
  • Great dialogue that helps to drive the story forward.
  • New characters.


  • Some readers find it hard to connect with the main character: Rhage.

The Chosen (Book Sixteen)

The Chosen: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood

In the 16th installment of the series, a forbidden love threatens to tear a rift between the Brotherhood like never before. We’re introduced to Xcor and Layla, a couple that loves each other but has separated due to differences.

When Xcor is sentenced to death by the Brotherhood, the only regret he has is the way things went with Layla…but little does he know that Layla plans to save his life. Can she do it just in the nick of time?


  • Centered around vampire mythology and romance.
  • Enemies to lovers theme.
  • Page-turning.
  • Introduced to new characters for added interest.


  • Some find that the plot takes a while to develop.

Dearest Ivie (Book Seventeen)

Dearest Ivie: A Novella Set in the Black Dagger World (Black Dagger Brotherhood)

This is an exclusive ebook in the series, but many fans of the series find it to be well worth the read.

Telling the tale of a passionate couple doomed by their desire, you’ll meet Ivie and Silas, who soon find themselves falling deeply in love with each other after meeting in a crowded bar. 

When Silar announces that he has to leave to go back to the Old Country, Ivie learns the truth and is determined to find a solution that will allow them to be together. Can a saving grace be found just in the nick of time?


  • Plenty of romance and vampire mythology!
  • Adds depth and interest to the Brotherhood universe as a whole.


  • Exclusive ebooks might not be suitable for those that prefer to read physical copies.

The Thief (Book Eighteen)

The Thief: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood

A former burglar and thief, Sola Mrote has made the choice to leave her past life behind. She’s on the run from a drug lord’s family and hiding in Caldwell while caring for her grandmother.

Despite her body being in New York, her heart is with Assail, a vampire who swore he’d never fall for a human. That is until he met Sola.

Sola is unaware that he is a vampire, and that he is a member of the Brotherhood. Now that Assail wants to turn his back on it all, is there a future for the two of them?


  • Focus on female agency.
  • New themes of female agency and betrayal are explored.


  • Some find that the romance takes away from Sola’s story somewhat.

Prisoner Of Night (Book Nineteen)

Prisoner of Night (The Black Dagger Brotherhood World)

Prisoner of Night is thrilling and passionate and focuses on Ahmare whose brother has just been abducted.

Determined to find her brother, Ahmare finds herself embarking on a dangerous quest that will lead her into a world that she once thought only existed in fairytales.

Along the way, she also meets Duran, a vampire betrayed by his father and imprisoned in a dungeon. She sets him free and the two falls in love, but Is true love enough to find her brother?


  • Passionate with a heavy focus on romance.
  • Great continuation of the looming tensions in Caldwell with new characters for added interest.


  • Some readers have stated this book can be hard to follow at certain times.

The Savior (Book Twenty)

The Savior (The Black Dagger Brotherhood Book 17)

In the twentieth installment of this series, the tale follows Murhder – the only Brother in the Brotherhood that has ever been expelled from the gang.

When he meets Dr. Sarah Watkins, a researcher at a biomedical firm, it seems as though fate is trying to bring the two together. Will the two be able to create a connection that brings humans and vampires together for the first time?


  • New characters allow the paranormal and romance themes to be explored.
  • Good flow and plot continuation.


  • Some have described this book as being “out of place” with the rest of the series.

Where Winter Finds You (Book Twenty One)

Where Winter Finds You: A Caldwell Christmas (The Black Dagger Brotherhood series

After Trez loses his love to a sad and tragic death, his soul is left in tatters and his destiny seems to be damned to suffering from here on out.

But, upon a chance meeting with a beautiful female, he soon feels a spark begin to re-emerge within himself. Moreso, he’s convinced that it is his true love reincarnated. Is he right?


  • Thrilling and full of adventure and mystery.
  • Great dialogue that helps to advance the story.


  • Filler text at certain points.

The Sinner (Book Twenty Two)

The Sinner (The Black Dagger Brotherhood series Book 18)

In this passionate novel, Syn has kept his side hustle as a mercenary a secret from the Brotherhood.

But, after taking on a particular hit job, he finds himself encountering a half-breed on the danger of drying when she transitions: Jo. Jo Early doesn’t yet know her true nature, but she knows one thing: she feels deeply pulled to Syn.

As time begins to run out, Jo finds herself getting caught up in the fighting and has to assist the Brotherhood against the ultimate threat. But, will her true love prevail? Or was the prophecy incorrect this whole time?


  • Engaging and clear dialogue that drives the plot forward.
  • Gripping and page-turning.


  • There are a few minor characters that some feel bring nothing to the plot.

A Warm Heart In Winter (Book Twenty Three)

A Warm Heart in Winter: A Caldwell Christmas (The Black Dagger Brotherhood World)

This book features one of the most popular couples in the entire series so far: Blay and Qhuinn! In this installment, the two are looking forward to their marriage ceremony.

However, when a tragedy occurs right before the big day, the brotherhood rallies around them to help make sure that the day goes ahead. Can the day be saved? Or will the horrible storm put an end to the plans?


  • Great story continuation from previous installments.
  • Adds additional texture and interest to the universe of the Brotherhood.
  • Heavy focus on one of the most popular couples.


  • Some readers feel this book is a “filler” installment.

Lover Unveiled (Book Twenty Four)

Lover Unveiled (The Black Dagger Brotherhood series Book 19)

In Lover Unveiled, a fiery forbidden love threatened to tear an unrepairable rift through the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

In this fourth installment, you’ll meet Xcor, who is currently facing a dire interrogation at the hands of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

His only regret is the loss of his love, Layla, but little does he know that Layla knows a truth that could save his life. Will she do it?


  • Sharp dialogue.
  • Great detail into character personalities, which helps to advance the story.


  • Some readers have stated this book can be hard to stay engaged with at certain times.

Lover Arisen (Book Twenty Five)

Lover Arisen (The Black Dagger Brotherhood series Book 20)

In this next installment of the series, true love threatened to end the brotherhood. After becoming possessed by a demon, Balthazar finds himself once again fighting an undying attraction he feels for a woman.

As a certified thief, he’s used to stealing things, he just never thought that it would be a human that would steal something from him: his heart.

Devina, a human that longs for love, knows that something is up in New York – but what’s going on, exactly?

With rising counts of mutilated bodies all over Caldwell, Devina suddenly finds herself fighting her longing for Balthazar, but can the one thing that brings them together cause the destruction of the Brotherhood?


  • Heavily centered on the Brotherhood.
  • Good continuation of the plot.


  • Might not be suitable for those who don’t enjoy romance.

Darius (Book Twenty Six)

Darius (The Black Dagger Brotherhood series)

In the final book that has been released in the series so far, the story continues as the reader is introduced that the location of the prison camp is still lost from the raids.

When a freak accident occurs, Nyx gets the clue that her sister might still be in prison and is suddenly determined to discover the twisting labyrinth jail which leads her on a journey into the unknown. Can she find her sister?


  • Focus on female agency and freedom.
  • Easy to read and gripping.


  • Some readers have stated this book can be hard to follow at certain times.

Final Thoughts

You’ve made it to the end! Now that you have taken the time to read through this guide, I hope that you now have a much better idea of what you can expect from this extremely popular paranormal-romance series.

As well as that, I hope that this guide has also helped to give you a clearer idea of what the best order to read the books will be.

As we have discussed above, even though there are a few different orders that this book series that can be read, it is highly recommended that you read this series in publication order, as this will help to ensure that you are able to enjoy this series with optimum enjoyment, a continuation of plot and more.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this guide, and goodbye for now! I hope you enjoy reading the series.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Order To Read Black Dagger Brotherhood?

If you have already begun to do your own research into this series, then I’m sure that you’ll have discovered that there is more than one way to read this series.

However, it is recommended that you read this series in publication order, otherwise you might find that the continuation of the story is a little jumbled and hard to follow.

How Many Books Are In The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series?

This is a  great question to ask, and one that many prospective readers of the series find themselves asking!

As one of the bigger series in the paranormal-romance genre, Black Dagger Brotherhood currently has 27 books in the series and counting!

Not to mention, there are also additional spin-off series to this extremely popular series, too.

Is There Another Book Being Released In The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series?

Yes, there is another book being released in the Black Dagger Book Series!

At the time of writing this guide, the book has not hit the shelves, and it has just recently been announced that the release date for the next book in the series will be in April 2023.

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Noah Burton