The Best Wheel of Time Reading Order

How to Read the Wheel of Time (The Right Way)

By: Preston Simmons | Written: 14 September 2021


Book One of The Wheel of Time, the Eye of the World
The Eye of the World, Book 1 Cover

The Wheel Weaves as the Wheel Wills

If you’ve read any of my past articles, you would know how much I love the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.

If you haven’t, know that it’s one of my favorite fantasy series of all time. I even recommended it as the best fantasy series to read as a beginner to the genre.

So, imagine my delight upon seeing the new trailer released recently for the upcoming adaptation by Amazon later this year. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out for yourself!

Amazing right?

Yeah, my heart nearly stopped when I saw the White Tower and the Two Rivers on my screen.

The Wheel of Time is already an extremely popular book series. I imagine, though, that once the show releases in November, there will be a surge of new readers wanting to read the books for the first time.

Remember when Game of Thrones first came out? Back then, there were only five books to read (and there still are), so it was much easier to find the right book to start with. In fact, the first book was literally the name of the television series. You can’t get much easier than that.

Unfortunately, with the Wheel of Time, it’s not that easy. There are 14 main books plus a prequel novella. You would think starting with the prequel would be the right way to begin the series, right?

Well, not quite.

So, what is the best Wheel of Time reading order?

There are actually three different ways to read the books determined by the placement of the novella, New Spring.

The Great Hunt, Book 2 Cover

Publication Order (Best for First Time Readers)

  • The Eye of the World
  • The Great Hunt
  • The Dragon Reborn
  • The Shadow Rising
  • The Fires of Heaven
  • Lord of Chaos
  • A Crown of Swords
  • The Path of Daggers
  • Winter’s Heart
  • Crossroads of Twilight
  • New Spring
  • Knife of Dreams
  • The Gathering Storm
  • Towers of Midnight
  • A Memory of Light

This is the official publication order for the Wheel of Time and is personally the way I first read the series. This Wheel of Time reading order works as the best way to read the books when you first read the series. This is how Robert Jordan intended the books to be read.

You may be wondering, why is New Spring bolded? Well, for reading order, it’s the book that makes things a little complicated.

New Spring is the prequel novella that reveals the backstories of Moiraine and Lan, two prominent characters in the main series. It might seem a little strange to you to read a prequel to the main series after the 10th book, but there is a reason it’s placed there.

Although the novella takes place many years before the first book does, the novella assumes the reader is already familiar with the magic system, the different political powers, all the Ajahs, as well as the prophecy of the dragon.

But it’s a prequel, doesn’t that mean you should read it first?

That would be the next possible Wheel of Time reading order, the chronological order.

New Spring makes the Wheel of Time reading order difficult
New Spring, Prequel Novella

Chronological Order of Wheel of Time

  • New Spring
  • The Eye of the World
  • The Great Hunt
  • The Dragon Reborn
  • The Shadow Rising
  • The Fires of Heaven
  • Lord of Chaos
  • A Crown of Swords
  • The Path of Daggers
  • Winter’s Heart
  • Crossroads of Twilight
  • Knife of Dreams
  • The Gathering Storm
  • Towers of Midnight
  • A Memory of Light

This is the chronological order for the Wheel of Time series. Notice that only New Spring has changed placement. This would be the obvious reading order, right?

Wrong.

This is the worst reading order for this series for someone new to Wheel of Time. I would NOT recommend you start with this order until after you have completed the series at least once. Although New Spring is a prequel, there are references to characters, events, and other important reveals that happen later in the series that the novella would spoil for you if you start with it first.

It’s fun to read the series in chronological order when you already know what’s going to happen and why it happens. But, it’s not the best way to read the series.

So, when should you read New Spring?

That would be my recommended Wheel of Time reading order.

A Memory of Light, Book 14 Cover

Recommended wheel of Time Reading Order (For second read-through and on)

  • The Eye of the World
  • The Great Hunt
  • The Dragon Reborn
  • The Shadow Rising
  • The Fires of Heaven
  • Lord of Chaos
  • New Spring
  • A Crown of Swords
  • The Path of Daggers
  • Winter’s Heart
  • Crossroads of Twilight
  • Knife of Dreams
  • The Gathering Storm
  • Towers of Midnight
  • A Memory of Light

My recommendation for the best Wheel of Time reading order places New Spring as the seventh book to read. When placed there, the series flows the best. After book six, you are already introduced to all the major geographical locations, most of the antagonists, and the primary characters appearing later in the series. Therefore, the novella will be much more impactful and satisfying to read and make more sense in general.


So in conclusion, if it’s your first time reading the series, start with the publication order.

If you have already read the series, read New Spring after book six, Lord of Chaos.

Otherwise, try out the chronological order.


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