Ranking the Wheel of Time Books: From Worst to Best

Welcome to my spoiler-free, slightly irreverent ranking of the Wheel of Time series.

Ranking the Wheel of Time Books: From Worst to Best


Welcome to my spoiler-free, slightly irreverent ranking of the Wheel of Time series. Prepare to journey through the highs and lows of this epic fantasy saga as we dive into the books and rate them from worst to best. From forgettable moments to heart-pounding climaxes, we'll cover it all. So fasten your seatbelts, grab your ta'veren buddies, and let's embark on this ranking adventure!

15. Crossroads of Twilight: The Dark Side of the Wheel

Kicking off our list is the universally agreed-upon weakest book in the Wheel of Time series: Crossroads of Twilight. Brace yourself, for this book is slower than a snail on a lazy summer afternoon. While it does have its share of essential character beats, it's mostly padded with unnecessary fluff. In fact, we could've easily absorbed this book into others and not missed a thing. Sorry, Crossroads, you're the worst book we love to hate.

14. The Path of Daggers: The Road Less Remembered

For the life of me, I can't recall much about this book except for one memorable, best scene (if you know, you know). Somewhere lost in the middle of the slog,The Path of Daggers is easily forgettable, despite having one of the series' finest covers. With our beloved characters scattered and their arcs unresolved, it's a challenging read. But fear not, dear reader, for it does have a redeeming Rand moment that makes it worth the effort

13. The Eye of the World: The Beginning of the Journey

Now, you are probably yelling at me for ranking Jordan's first book this low. Hear me out! The Eye of the World isn't bad; it just left me perplexed. Emond's Field in the Two Rivers holds a special place in my heart, and Jordan's foreshadowing pays off in spades. Yet, the confusing ending and the glaring Tolkien inspiration left me wondering if I'd truly enjoy the series. Thankfully, I was proven wrong.

12. A Crown of Swords: The Regal Enigma

Ah, A Crown of Swords, a book whose plot slips away from memory faster than an illusion woven by the Forsaken. However, despite its lack of stickiness, this entry does offer some fantastic moments for Mat’s character that make it worth reading. It may not be the most memorable of the bunch, but it has hidden gems that shine like diamonds in the rough.

11. Winter's Heart: The Thaw in the Sludge

Finally, we emerge from the mire of mediocrity into the realm of genuinely good Wheel of Time books. Winter's Heart manages to rise above its lesser counterparts in the middle of the slog. With memorable moments and a climax that'll leave your jaw on the floor, it secures a spot in the top five endings of the series. Buckle up, folks; The Wheel keeps on turning!

10. Towers of Midnight: Controversy Towers

Brace yourselves, dear readers, for we're about to dive into the Sanderson era. Towers of Midnight, Brandon Sanderson's second contribution to the series, lands at number ten. Now, this might be a bit controversial, but hear me out. Perrin's story arc fell flat for me even though he is one of my favorite characters. Nevertheless, the climax delivers the goods, as is expected from a Wheel of Time book. It does suffer from middle-book syndrome, despite being the second-to-last in the series. The timeline can be very confusing. Luckily, Sanderson later explained this as an editing choice, as the last three books were originally intended to be one massive tome. Now, I may be a little harsh on this book, but let me tell you, this is where Sanderson truly hits his stride, setting the stage for the epic grand finale.

9. New Spring: A Refreshing Prelude

Ah, Robert Jordan's delightful novella, New Spring. Clocking in at a mere 300 pages, this book is the perfect palate cleanser for those seeking a break from the hefty tomes. It's a prequel that I highly recommend reading in publishing order (after Crossroads of Twilight). However, do not make the mistake of diving into this as your first Wheel of Time adventure. You'll be as lost as a Grolm in a library, for Jordan assumes you already possess knowledge of the characters, magic system, and political intricacies.

8. Lord of Chaos: Highs and Lows in the Wheel's Dance

Prepare for a rollercoaster ride, my friends, because Lord of Chaos brings both the highest highs and the lowest lows of the series. Some scenes from this book will forever be etched in my mind, leaving an indelible mark on my soul. You know which scenes I'm talking about, don't you? But let's be honest, Robert Jordan struggled with pacing here, and it reared its ugly head. Yet, despite its flaws, Lord of Chaos is a wild and unforgettable journey.

7. The Dragon Reborn: A Third-Act Triumph

The third book marks the grand finale of the first major arc in the series. It's a high-paced adventure packed with great moments that will keep you on the edge of your seat. However, there's a slight imbalance in character point-of-view, leaving us craving more from Rand's journey. Oh, the things we would give for an extra dose of Rand’s chapters!

6. Knife of Dreams: Jordan's Swan Song

Robert Jordan's final solo entry claims the number six spot. Knife of Dreams presents a compelling case for an even higher ranking. If you're seeking top-tier, epic fantasy, look no further. Jordan weaves scenes that will be forever etched in your memory (yes, I'm looking at you, Golden Crane). Though the pacing may still be a tad slow for some, there's no denying that this last novel boasts some of the most memorable moments and best battles in the entire series.

5. The Shadow Rising: World-Building Extravaganza

Hold onto your Warder cloaks because we're entering the realm of exceptional world-building. The Shadow Rising takes Jordan's world from good to exemplary, expanding the scope in ways few expected. With the introduction of the enigmatic Aiel and captivating new POV characters, it propelled The Wheel of Time into the mainstream fantasy spotlight. However, let's address the elephant in the room: the series' repetitive nature. How many times can we read about a female character "smoothing her skirts" or "crossing her arms beneath her breasts"? Nevertheless, it's easy to see why The Shadow Rising tops many readers' favorites list.

4. The Gathering Storm: Sanderson Shines Bright

Okay, folks, I'm going to confess my undying love for this book. The Gathering Storm, crafted by the dynamic duo of Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan, takes you on an emotional rollercoaster ride. It's a masterclass in eliciting a wide range of feelings, from triumphant fist-pumping to tearful restraint. This book delivers some of the series' best moments and revelations, adding depth to future re-reads. While it may have faded slightly from my personal favorite over time, there's no denying that The Gathering Storm holds a permanent spot in my top 5 Wheel of Time books.

3. The Great Hunt: Hooked on Jordan's Vision

Now we're entering the realm of the top three, and let me tell you, these books hold a special place in my heart. The Great Hunt is where Robert Jordan truly won me over with his compelling vision. After finishing this book, I knew without a doubt that I would see the Wheel of Time through to its conclusion. Whenever someone embarks on this series, I insist they finish the second book before passing judgment. Additionally, The Great Hunt delves into the perspectives of some truly remarkable characters, offering fresh insights into their worlds.

2. A Memory of Light: The Epic Finale

Here it is, the epic conclusion that takes the runner-up position. A Memory of Light could easily claim the top spot, and for good reason—it's simply fantastic. Brandon Sanderson's incredible contribution in helping Robert Jordan finish this all-time great deserves immense praise. And let's not forget, this book contains the infamous chapter: The Last Battle. It's longer than the first Harry Potter book, for Light's sake! A Memory of Light serves up one of the most satisfying endings in the realm of fantasy, a must-read for any die-hard fan of the genre.

1. The Fires of Heaven: A Blazing Masterpiece

At long last, we've reached the pinnacle, the crown jewel of the Wheel of Time series. The Fires of Heaven left me utterly speechless. Its pace is relentless, its brutality unyielding, and its emotional impact heart-wrenching. In this book, Jordan fires on all cylinders, showcasing his storytelling prowess. And let's not forget that it features my favorite moment for the charismatic Mat. I struggle to find the words to do justice to The Fires of Heaven—it simply elevated the Wheel of Time from incredible to one of my favorite series of all time.

Conclusion: The Wheel of Time Beckons

There you have it, my dear readers—a carefully ranked list of the Wheel of Time books. I'm well aware that opinions may differ, but for me, this series is an absolute must-read. Its sprawling world, complex characters, and thrilling narrative will sweep you off your feet and transport you to a realm where the Pattern weaves its intricate tapestry.If you hunger for more captivating Fantasy and Sci-Fi content, I invite you to subscribe to this page or follow me @arealmreviewed on social media. Prepare to embark on extraordinary adventures that will leave you yearning for more. The Wheel of Time awaits your arrival!

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Jamie Larson