World of Warcraft Books: Order and where to start

Warcraft is a long-running series with lore and history going back decades. From the first battles of orcs and men to the Burning Legion all the way up to Shadowlands, each of the series’ narrative arcs are collected and expanded throughout various novels. However, knowing where to start reading Warcraft books can be intimidating. This is especially true for the World of Warcraft books, which now span over 20 different novels and collections. If you want to read all of the Warcraft books in order, here’s where to start.

All World of Warcraft books in order

World of Warcraft books: Where to start

There are currently 21 different books in the World of Warcraft novel series. The first entry is Cycle of Hatred, originally released in 2006, while the most recent book is Rise of the Horde & Lord of the Clans: The Illustrated Novels, a compilation released in 2020.

If you’re wondering where to start reading World of Warcraft books, Cycle of Hatred is your best bet. Written by Keith R.A. DeCandido, Cycle of Hatred kicks off one full year before the World of Warcraft saga began, setting the stage for the remaining 19 books in the WoW novelization series.

Here’s the preferred chronological reading order for World of Warcraft books:

  1. Cycle of Hatred (DeCandido; 2006)
  2. Rise of the Horde (Golden; 2006)
  3. Tides of Darkness (Rosenberg; 2007)
  4. Beyond the Dark Portal (Rosenberg, Golden; 2008)
  5. Night of the Dragon (Knaak; 2008)
  6. Arthas: Rise of the Lich King (Golden; 2009)
  7. Stormrage (Knaak; 2010)
  8. The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm (Golden; 2010)
  9. Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects (Golden; 2011)
  10. Wolfheart (Knaak; 2011)
  11. Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War (Golden; 2012)
  12. Dawn of the Aspects (Knaak; 2013)
  13. Vol’jin: Shadows of the Horde (Stackpole; 2013)
  14. War Crimes (Golden; 2014)
  15. Illidan (King; 2016)
  16. Traveler (Weisman; 2016)
  17. Traveler: The Spiral Path (Weisman; 2018)
  18. Before the Storm (Golden; 2018)
  19. Traveler: The Shining Blade (Roux; 2019)
  20. Shadows Rising (Roux; 2020)
  21. Rise of the Horde & Lord of the Clans: The Illustrated Novels (Golden; 2020; compilation)

It’s worth noting that the list above pertains to World of Warcraft books specifically. However, there are seven more novels in the overall Warcraft series that don’t pertain exclusively to WoW. Keep reading below for a look over all of the available Warcraft novels.

All Warcraft books in chronological order

All Warcraft books in chronological order

Any diehard fan will know that the Warcraft saga began long before World of Warcraft first surfaced. There are seven different books that predate the novelizations of WoW, spelling out the events prior to the fall of the Burning Legion.

Here’s a look over every single Warcraft book in chronological reading order. Note that some of the older books are either hard to find or no longer available. In their place you’ll find two novel collections: Warcraft Archive bundles together the first four books, while the War of the Ancients Archive bundles together the next three novels as part of the War of the Ancients trilogy.

  1. Of Blood and Honor (Metzen; 2001)
  2. Day of the Dragon (Knaak; 2001)
  3. Lord of the Clans (Golden; 2001)
  4. The Last Guardian (Grubb; 2002)
    • These four books are collected in the Warcraft Archive (Metzen et al; 2006)
  5. The Well of Eternity (Knaak; 2004)
  6. The Demon Soul (Knaak; 2004)
  7. The Sundering (Knaak; 2005)
    • These three books are collected in the War of the Ancients Archive (Knaak; 2007)

Naturally, the saga continues after the War of the Ancients trilogy starting with Cycle of Hatred, the first World of Warcraft book.

If you’re totally new to the Warcraft books, you’ll probably want to start with the original seven novels presented in the two Archives. This is especially true for World of Warcraft players who may have missed the lore detailed in the original strategy games. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong simply starting with the WoW books. As a bonus, the novels coincide nicely with most in-game events: Shadows Rising follows the story through the release of WoW’s latest Shadowlands expansion.