The cast of 'The Wheel of Time' in key art for the Prime Video series

All ‘Wheel of Time’ Books Ranked Worst to Best

The Wheel of Time is a smash hit with Amazon Prime subscribers. The high fantasy show created by Rafe Judkins for the streaming service is based on books of the same name, which are just as fascinating (if not more so) as the show.

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Robert Jordan’s magnum opus, the Wheel of Time books (which he later handed off like a narrative baton to Brandon Sanderson), is a sprawling saga that could rival the complexity of your grandma’s most intricate quilt. Envision Middle Earth meets Days of Our Lives, with a dash of Fashion Police (courtesy of those meticulously detailed dress descriptions). 

From humble Two Rivers beginnings, where the most challenging problem is perhaps sheep prices, we are thrust into a whirlwind of prophecies, political intrigue, and hair tugs. The books are less a roller-coaster and more an entire theme park of emotions, from the thrilling highs of Rand’s ascents to the cringe-worthy lows of Mat’s pub escapades. However, with such many books, some have clearly stood out as better than others. With that in mind, here’s a list of all the books, from worst to best.

15. Crossroads of Twilight (Book 10)

Crossroads of Twilight by Robert Jordan
(Tor Books)

Imagine eagerly opening a gift box, and within, you find another box, and within that, another. Such is the meticulous unfolding of this chapter in the tale. Readers, by this juncture, are seasoned travelers in the world of Rand al’Thor and company. Yet, in this installment, Jordan opts for a leisurely, almost contemplative stroll rather than a galloping ride across his vast narrative landscape. It’s as if the Wheel itself decided to stop for a breather, perhaps a cup of tea. While some bemoan the perceived lack of explosive action, others appreciate the deeper dives into political maneuvering, whispered intrigues, and the atmospheric tension of a world on the brink. 

14. The Path of Daggers (Book 8)

The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan
(Tor Books)

The Path of Daggers, the eighth foray into Robert Jordan’s dizzyingly vast Wheel of Time world, is where our beloved author embraced the maxim, “Why sprint when you can saunter?” Journeying through its pages feels akin to attending a grand ball where every dancer insists on introducing their third cousin twice-removed. Now, don’t get me wrong, every epic saga needs its grandiose narratives, but Jordan might’ve been playing a bit of hide-and-seek with the plot here. It’s like amid the dizzying whirl of political games and the ever-increasing ensemble of characters, the book carves its own niche. 

13. Winter’s Heart (Book 9)

Winter's Heart by Robert Jordan
(Tor Books)

Winter’s Heart is like that one guest at a party who arrives fashionably late, makes some small talk, but saves their most dramatic revelation for the very end, ensuring they’re the talk of the town the next day. Among the subtle character moments and simmering political machinations, the book’s climax delivers with a bang, or should we say, a cleansing. For those who’ve faithfully waltzed through the series, this volume is the slow dance before the tempo picks up again. In Jordan’s grand symphony, every note has its place, even if some are more lingering than others. 

12. New Spring (Prequel) 

New Spring (Prequel)
(Tor Books)

The unexpected detour in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time express train, New Spring, offers readers a nostalgic jaunt down memory lane—only, it’s a lane we’ve never actually wandered. This prequel flutters its eyelashes and invites us to a more innocent time when Moiraine and Lan weren’t yet the legends we’ve come to revere but rather bright-eyed young souls navigating the complexities of channeling and warder-binding. Some would call this side story a diversion from the main narrative, but I see it as a reminder that even the grandest stories started somewhere.

11. A Crown of Swords (Book 7) 

A Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan
(Tor Books)

Nestled as the seventh volume in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time marathon, this book finally chooses to gain some bounce in its step. The narrative landscape, which in prior books might’ve been content to meander like a leisurely Sunday drive, suddenly remembers it has places to be. The title isn’t just for show—it’s a clue. While some heroes are busy collecting shiny headgear, others delve deep into the complexities of romantic geometry—because why have a love triangle when a more, erm, multi-sided shape can do? 

10. Towers of Midnight (Book 13) 

Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
(Tor Books)

With the handover to Brandon Sanderson—who seems to have taken a caffeinated approach compared to Jordan’s more languorous sips of narrative tea—Towers of Midnight ratchets up the pace. If previous volumes were about the slow burn, this is where the fireworks start to really go off. This book offers serious returns on emotional investment for long-term series investors. Characters reach their pivotal moments, and Tarmon Gai’don, the much-whispered-about Last Battle, looms ever closer. 

9. The Dragon Reborn (Book 3) 

The Dragon Reborn
(Tor Books)

Just when you think you’ve settled into the cozy familiarity of Rand al’Thor’s perspective, Jordan, with a wink, sidelines our curly-haired hero in favor of some ensemble storytelling; Mat, Perrin, and a delightful chorus line of others step into the limelight, swinging their narrative arcs with gusto. And as for Rand? Well, he’s off on a whirlwind tour, largely off-page, letting rumors and whispers speak louder than actions. By the book’s end, it’s clear that this isn’t just Rand’s world; it’s a vast canvas where every thread counts. 

8. The Gathering Storm (Book 12) 

The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
(Tor Books)

The Gathering Storm breezes in with the energy of a new professor taking over a semester-long class, keen to honor the original syllabus and toss in a few spicy anecdotes of their own. Enters Brandon Sanderson. Entrusted with Robert Jordan’s extensive notes, he takes the narrative reins earnestly. In this installment, the storm isn’t just gathering; it’s practically at the front door, tapping its foot and checking its watch. Characters who earlier drifted through a web of political intrigue and personal introspection find themselves caught in storms of vital decisions. 

7. The Great Hunt (Book 2)

The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan
(Tor Books)

If the first book was the invitation to the dance, this sophomore entry in the Wheel of Time series is where the music’s tempo kicks up a few notches. Suddenly, Rand and the gang are not just playing with magic and prophecies; they’re entangled in horn-blowing, portal-stepping, and Seanchan-introducing escapades. Our curly-haired, sheepherding protagonist gets a crash course in destiny, and it’s clear this isn’t just any old hunt—it’s the Great Hunt. Through this volume, Jordan subtly hints: if you thought the adventure was epic before, you haven’t seen anything yet. 

6. The Fires of Heaven (Book 5)

The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan
(Tor Books)

The Fires of Heaven feels like Jordan decided to spice things up by throwing in a couple of extra queens onto the chessboard, just to keep us on our toes. Rand’s ambitions? Growing by the day, almost as quickly as his list of would-be assassins. Mat? Well, he’s busily transitioning from “I’m just here for a good time” to “Perhaps I’m a general now?” And Nynaeve? Let’s say her braid-tugging has never been more justified. The world of the Wheel expands even further, introducing us to the Aiel’s homeland, which is just a tad hotter and a smidgen more dangerous than a summer in the Two Rivers. 

5. Lord of Chaos (Book 6)

Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan
(Tor Books)

Lord of Chaos arrives with the air of a magician pulling not just one rabbit out of the hat but a whole warren of them. Our earnest Rand, now brandishing titles like a noble collecting estate lands, learns that managing a world teetering on the brink of chaos is more challenging than herding sheep in the Two Rivers. And speaking of chaos, Jordan seems to have made a checklist of all things tumultuous: political scheming? Check. Tower-splitting drama? Double check. Rand’s growing list of woes and “friends”? Checkmate. And in the middle of all this mess, the Aes Sedai, with their centuries of wisdom, decide kidnapping is the way to go—because what could go wrong? 

4. Knife of Dreams (Book 11) 

Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan
(Tor Books)

With Knife of Dreams, Jordan seems to look at the expansive narrative canvas he’d painted, arched a brow, and decided it was high time to start tightening some knots. Rand’s dance card is full of politics and skirmishes, while Mat’s romantic endeavors make one wonder if he’s perhaps bitten off more than he can chew, even with his foxhead medallion. But it’s not all chaos and romance; there are ample moments that remind us why we fell in love with this world in the first place. Knife of Dreams is like that moment in a concert when the musician, after several teasing notes, finally dives into your favorite song. 

3. The Shadow Rising (Book 4)

The Shadow Rising
(Tor Books)

Our favorite Two Rivers folk are growing up, gathering magical artifacts and heaps of personal baggage. Rand, the ever-reluctant Dragon, grapples with prophecies and responsibilities, while Perrin’s wolfish side isn’t the only thing casting shadows. And Nynaeve? Her ongoing battle with the One Power feels akin to wrestling a particularly cranky cat—claws, hissing, and all. We’re treated to a deep dive into the world’s lore, unearthing secrets that make the phrase “ancient history” sound downright thrilling. 

2. A Memory of Light (Book 14) 

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
(Tor Books)

A Memory of Light, the grand finale of the Wheel of Time masterpiece, strides onto the stage with the confidence of a maestro ready to conduct a symphonic crescendo that’s been building for 13 acts. The end is nigh, and both Jordan’s blueprint and Sanderson’s finesse intend to leave no thread untagged, no prophecy unfulfilled, and certainly no braid unplugged. Tarmon Gai’don, the Last Battle, isn’t just another skirmish—it’s the narrative equivalent of every firework going off at once, and what a spectacle it is.

1. The Eye of the World (Book 1) 

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
(Tor Books)

The first novel set in Robert Jordan’s vast fantasy universe, The Eye of the World, starts with the quaint, pastoral charm you’d expect from a village named Emond’s Field. It’s all sheep, festivals, and innocent joy—until, of course, it isn’t. Suddenly, our unsuspecting sheepherder Rand and his pals are thrown into a maelstrom of prophecy, danger, and a crash course in “Magic 101.” It’s a bit like imagining Frodo Baggins decided to form a band, and Gandalf was their edgy tour manager. Jordan sets the grand stage, introducing us to a world brimming with history and cultures and hints that things are about to get very complicated. 

(featured image: Amazon Prime)

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Faith Katunga
Faith is a freelance journalist with an insatiable curiosity for all aspects of current events, from the global economy and fashion to pop culture and travel. She watches an absurd number of cat videos on Instagram when not reading or writing about what is going on in the world. Faith has written for several publications, including We Got This Covered, Italy Magazine, TheTravel, etc., and holds a master's degree in Fashion Culture and Management.