READING GUIDE: Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward
In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other—six vampire warriors, defenders of their race.
If you’re into sexy, über-alpha heroes, who also happen to be badass vampires, there is nothing in the world quite like the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. This is one of the most addictive series out there, so much so that when I first discovered it, I spent a whole week of my vacation cooped up in my room, devouring one book after another, instead of enjoying the gorgeous sights of a holiday destination that I now only remember from the four walls of my hotel room. And let me tell you, it was totally worth it!! Each book initially follows a different couple, but there is a common storyline that continues from one book to another, and as we move through the series, couples we’ve met already get additional books dedicated to their story arc. So this is not a series of interconnected storylines, and you will feel lost if you read them out of order. This will forever be a top recommendation from me, whether you’re into paranormal romances or not, because once you read even just one of these books, you will be hooked for life.
Happy reading, book junkies!
“The only purebred vampire left on the planet and the leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who killed his parents centuries ago. But when his most trusted fighter is killed—orphaning a half-breed daughter unaware of her heritage or her fate—Wrath must put down his dagger and usher the beautiful female into another world.
Racked by a restlessness in her body that wasn’t there before, Beth Randall is helpless against the dangerously sexy man who comes to her at night with shadows in his eyes. His tales of the Brotherhood and blood frighten her. Yet his touch ignites a dawning new hunger—one that threatens to consume them both…”
“Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetites. He’s the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover—for inside him burns a ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin. Possessed by this dark side, Rhage fears the times when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him.
Mary Luce, a survivor of many hardships, is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world and reliant on Rhage’s protection. With a life-threatening curse of her own, Mary is not looking for love. Her faith in miracles was lost years ago. But when Rhage’s intense animal attraction turns into something more emotional, he knows that he must make Mary his alone. And while their enemies close in, Mary fights desperately to gain life eternal with the one she loves…”
MY ALL-TIME FAVE IN THE SERIES
“A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion and terror his only passion—until he rescues a beautiful female from the evil Lessening Society.
Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for each other begins to overtake them, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past and find a future with her…”
“Butch O’Neal is a fighter by nature. A hard-living ex–homicide cop, he’s the only human ever to be allowed in the inner circle of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he wants to go even deeper into the vampire world. He’s got nothing to lose. His heart belongs to a female vampire, an aristocratic beauty who’s way out of his league. If he can’t have Marissa, then at least he can fight side by side with the Brothers….
Fate curses him with the very thing he wants. When Butch sacrifices himself to save a civilian vampire from the slayers, he falls prey to the darkest force in the war. Left for dead, he’s found by a miracle, and the Brotherhood calls on Marissa to bring him back. But even her love may not be enough to save him…”
“Ruthless and brilliant, Vishous, son of the Bloodletter, possesses a destructive curse and a frightening ability to see the future. As a pretrans growing up in his father’s war camp, he was tormented and abused. As a member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, he has no interest in love or emotion, only the battle with the Lessening Society. But when a mortal injury puts him in the care of a human surgeon, Dr. Jane Whitcomb compels him to reveal his inner pain and taste true pleasure for the first time—until a destiny he didn’t choose takes him into a future that cannot include her…”
“Fiercely loyal to the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Phury has sacrificed himself for the good of the race, becoming the male responsible for keeping the Brotherhood’s bloodlines alive. As Primale of the Chosen, he is to father the sons and daughters who will ensure that the traditions of the race survive and that there are warriors to fight those who want all vampires extinguished.
As his first mate, the Chosen Cormia wants to win not only his body but his heart for herself- she sees the emotionally scarred male behind all his noble responsibility. But while the war with the Lessening Society grows more grim, and tragedy looms over the Brotherhood’s mansion, Phury must decide between duty and love.”
“Caldwell, New York, has long been the battleground for the vampires and their enemies, the Lessening Society. It’s also where Rehvenge has staked out his turf as a drug lord and owner of a notorious night club that caters to the rich and heavily armed. His shadowy reputation is exactly why he’s approached to kill Wrath, the Blind King and leader of the Brotherhood.
Rehvenge has always kept his distance from the Brotherhood—even though his sister is married to a member, for he harbors a deadly secret that could make him a huge liability in their war against the lessers. As plots within and outside of the Brotherhood threaten to reveal the truth about Rehvenge, he turns to the only source of light in his darkening world, Ehlena, a vampire untouched by the corruption that has its hold on him—and the only thing standing between him and eternal destruction.”
“John Matthew has come a long way since he was found living among humans, his vampire nature unknown to himself and to those around him. After he was taken in by the Brotherhood, no one could guess what his true history was- or his true identity. Indeed, the fallen Brother Darius has returned, but with a different face and a very different destiny. As a vicious personal vendetta takes John into the heart of the war, he will need to call up on both who he is now and who he once was in order to face off against evil incarnate.
Xhex, a symphath assassin, has long steeled herself against the attraction between her and John Matthew. Having already lost one lover to madness, she will not allow the male of worth to fall prey to the darkness of her twisted life. When fate intervenes, however, the two discover that love, like destiny, is inevitable between soul mates.”
“Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, warrior cloth as her brother: A fighter by nature, and a maverick when it comes to the traditional role of Chosen females, there is no place for her on the Far Side… and no role for her on the front lines of the war, either.
When she suffers a paralyzing injury, human surgeon Dr. Manuel Manello is called in to treat her as only he can—and he soon gets sucked into her dangerous, secret world. Although he never before believed in things that go bump in the night—like vampires—he finds himself more than willing to be seduced by the powerful female who marks both his body and his soul.
As the two find so much more than an erotic connection, the human and vampire worlds collide… just as a centuries old score catches up with Payne and puts both her love and her life in deadly jeopardy.”
“Ever since the death of his shellan, Tohrment has been a heartbroken shadow of the vampire leader he once was. Brought back to the Brotherhood by a self-serving fallen angel, he fights again with ruthless vengeance, unprepared for a new tragedy. Seeing his beloved in dreams—trapped in a cold, isolated netherworld—Tohr turns to the angel Lassiter to save his former mate. The only way to rescue her is for Tohr to love another. As war with the lessers rages, and a new clan of vampires vie for the Blind King’s throne, Tohr struggles between an unforgettable past and a hot, passion-filled future. But can his heart let go and set all of them free?”
“Qhuinn, son of no one, is used to being on his own. Disavowed from his bloodline, shunned by the aristocracy, he has found an identity as a brutal fighter in the war against the Lessening Society. But his life is not complete. Even as the prospect of having a family of his own seems within reach, he is empty on the inside, his heart given to another…
Blay, after years of unrequited love, has moved on from his feelings for Qhuinn. And it’s about time: it seems Qhuinn has found his perfect match in a Chosen female, and they are going to have a young. It’s hard for Blay to see the new couple together, but building your life around a pipe dream is just a heartbreak waiting to happen. And Qhuinn needs to come to terms with some dark things before he can move forward…
Fate seems to have taken these vampire soldiers in different directions, but as the battle over the race’s throne intensifies, and new players on the scene in Caldwell create mortal danger for the Brotherhood, Qhuinn learns the true meaning of courage, and two hearts meant to be together finally become one. ”
“Long live the King…
After turning his back on the throne for centuries, Wrath, son of Wrath, finally assumed his father’s mantle–with the help of his beloved mate. But the crown sets heavily on his head. As the war with the Lessening Society rages on, and the threat from the Band of Bastards truly hits home, he is forced to make choices that put everything–and everyone–at risk.
Beth Randall thought she knew what she was getting into when she mated the last pure blooded vampire on the planet: An easy ride was not it. But when she decides she wants a child, she’s unprepared for Wrath’s response–or the distance it creates between them.
The question is, will true love win out… or tortured legacy take over?”
“Sold by his parents to the Queen of the s’Hisbe as a child, Trez escaped the Territory and has been a pimp and an enforcer for years. On the run from a destiny of sexual servitude, he’s never been able to rely on anyone…except for his brother, iAm.
iAm’s sole goal has always been to keep his brother from self-destructing—and he knows he’s failed. It’s not until the Chosen Selena enters Trez’s life that the male begins to turn things around…but by then, it’s too late. The pledge to mate the Queen’s daughter comes due, and there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no negotiating.
Now Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others—or abandon the female he loves. When tragedy strikes and changes everything, iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice…”
“Nothing is as it used to be for the Black Dagger Brotherhood. After avoiding war with the Shadows, alliances have shifted and lines have been drawn. The slayers of the Lessening Society are stronger than ever, preying on human weakness to acquire more money, more weapons, more power. But as the Brotherhood readies for an all-out attack on them, one of their own fights a battle within himself…
For Rhage, the Brother with the biggest appetites, but also the biggest heart, life was supposed to be perfect—or at the very least, perfectly enjoyable. Mary, his beloved shellan, is by his side and his King and his brothers are thriving. But Rhage can’t understand—or control—the panic and insecurity that plague him…
And that terrifies him—as well as distances him from his mate. After suffering mortal injury in battle, Rhage must reassess his priorities—and the answer, when it comes to him, rocks his world…and Mary’s. But Mary is on a journey of her own, one that will either bring them closer together or cause a split that neither will recover from… “
“Xcor, leader of the Band of Bastards, convicted of treason against the Blind King, is facing a brutal interrogation and torturous death at the hands of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Yet after a life marked by cruelty and evil deeds, he accepts his soldier’s fate, his sole regret the loss of a sacred female who was never his: the Chosen Layla.
Layla alone knows the truth that will save Xcor’s life. But revealing his sacrifice and his hidden heritage will expose them both and destroy everything Layla holds dear—even her role of mother to her precious young. Torn between love and loyalty, she must summon the courage to stand up against the only family she has for the only man she will ever love. Yet even if Xcor is somehow granted a reprieve, he and Layla would have to confront a graver challenge: bridging the chasm that divides their worlds without paving the way for a future of even greater war, desolation, and death.
As a dangerous old enemy returns to Caldwell, and the identity of a new deity is revealed, nothing is certain or safe in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, not even true love . . . or destinies that have long seemed set in stone.”
“Having allied themselves with the Band of Bastards, the Brotherhood is committed now more than ever to eradicating the Lessening Society.
Recovering from their most recent battle against the last of the lessers, the Brotherhood comes to realize that the fight against their enemies is far from over.
Throe, Xcor’s former second in command, is using an ancient tome to summon a new army engineered by a force more dangerous and evil than the Omega. And now the brothers of the Black Dagger Brotherhood will be tested both at home and on the battlefield.”
“Ever since the birth of his daughter, Nalla, Zsadist has been regressing further and further into the life he led before he met Bella, his beautiful shellan. He has been waking up in cold sweats due to nightmares from his past, hasn’t made love to his wife, and won’t hold his baby girl, for fear that he might hurt her. While Nalla’s presence had consisted of only joy and excitement in first couple months of her life, now it seems to be driving the couple apart. Bella is afraid that she and Nalla just may need to leave her hellren.
But then Zsadist gets injured on a mission to fight the lessers and because he hasn’t been feeding from Bella, almost loses his life. Could this near-death experience create the motivation to pull this couple back together? Or has the gap between them spanned too far for redemption?”
This novella should be read after Lover Enshrined.
“This comprehensive guide features insider information on the Brotherhood, their dossiers, stats, and special gifts. Readers will savor interviews with their favorite characters, deleted scenes, exciting material from the J.R. Ward message board and the answers to their burning questions. They’ll learn what it’s like for J.R. Ward to write each installment of the series, and in a fascinating twist, read an interview with the author, conducted by the Brothers.”
This insider’s guide gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.
“The last place Ivie expects to be approached by a devastatingly handsome male is in a crowded, smoky cigar bar rarely frequented by vampires—yet here he stands. Silas is flirtatious, gallant, and, above all, mysterious. Ivie is anything but. A nurse at the healer’s clinic and the daughter of a biker, Ivie is accustomed to speaking her mind. So she does. Since aristocrats rarely pick up females of her class, Ivie asks Silas just what kind of game he thinks he’s playing.
Despite her guarded exterior, Ivie surrenders to the fierce desire she feels for Silas. And yet, just as their courtship is heating up, he reveals that it cannot last, for he is bound to return to the Old Country. Their bond only deepens as they make the most of their precious time together. But when she learns the truth, Ivie must find a saving grace—before all is lost. . .”
This is a novella set in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.
BLACK DAGGER LEGACY – A SPIN-OFF SERIES
“Paradise, blooded daughter of the king’s First Advisor, is ready to break free from the restrictive life of an aristocratic female. Her strategy? Join the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training center program and learn to fight for herself, think for herself…be herself. It’s a good plan, until everything goes wrong. The schooling is unfathomably difficult, the other recruits feel more like enemies than allies, and it’s very clear that the Brother in charge, Butch O’Neal, a.k.a. the Dhestroyer, is having serious problems in his own life.
And that’s before she falls in love with a fellow classmate. Craeg, a common civilian, is nothing her father would ever want for her, but everything she could ask for in a male. As an act of violence threatens to tear apart the entire program, and the erotic pull between them grows irresistible, Paradise is tested in ways she never anticipated–and left wondering whether she’s strong enough to claim her own power…on the field, and off.”
“Trainees at the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training center continue to prepare for the war against the Lessening Society, but fighting is the last thing on Axe’s mind. Still plagued with the guilt of his father’s death, the brooding loner finds himself battling an unlikely attraction to Peyton’s enticing, aristocratic cousin, Elise. Elise feels it, too – especially when the two are thrown together in unusual circumstances, and she must decide whether she can trust Axe as she uncovers the mystery surrounding her sister’s death.
Meanwhile, Mary and Rhage are fostering Bitty, a young pretrans orphan, and hope to adopt her… until the appearance of a young male claiming to be Bitty’s blooded uncle threatens to tear the new family apart.”
“Brothers at the Black Dagger Brotherhood training center push recruits to the limit to become faster and stronger than ever before as they prepare for the fight against the Lessening Society.
Novo, a resilient survivor who is a bit rough around the edges, has overcome a great deal—including her intense attraction to suave, aristocratic Peyton, with whom she has shared a passionate physical connection. But when Peyton finally admits his true feelings for Novo, she rejects him for a more stable male. Now they must train in close quarters and eventually confront the feelings they still undoubtedly harbor for each other.”
OTHERS BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR THAT I LOVED
The Bourbon Kings: My Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Hardcover | Audio
The Angels’ Share: My Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Hardcover | Audio
Devil’s Cut: My Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Hardcover | Audio
“For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.”
These are not standalone novels.