How to read The Wheel of Time books in order

The Wheel Of Time.
The cast of The Wheel of Time on Prime Video. (Image credit: Amazon Prime Video)

Want to read The Wheel of Time books in order? Planning on getting ahead of the story so you're ready for The Wheel of Time season 2?  Here's how you can get up to speed with the books that inspired the show.

If you're not already familiar with the series, The Wheel of Time is a legendary cycle of high fantasy novels penned by American author, Robert Jordan. Jordan produced his best-selling novels between 1990-2005. Sadly, Jordan passed away in 2007, though fellow fantasy magnate Brandon Sanderson was drafted in to help finish the final three books in the series.

The world of The Wheel of Time made its way to our TV screens in 2021 after showrunner Rafe Judkins developed the show for Prime Video. It certainly feels like Amazon is keen to replicate the success that HBO had with Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon, or Netflix's take on The Witcher.

Whilst 2022 has been dominated by news about The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, The Wheel of Time's team is still hard at work on the show and is due to bring us the next season at some point in 2023. 

Whether you're a new or returning fan, if you've decided you want to read the Wheel of Time books in order, we've put together this guide to help you tackle all 15 books in Robert Jordan's series.

How to read the Wheel of Time books in order

If you just want to jump right into Robert Jordan's world, the reading order we'd recommend is:

The only major problem you'll encounter when you look at the Wheel of Time reading order is where you want to read New Spring (opens in new tab), the prequel novel that was published in 2004.

Although New Spring is a prequel to the main saga, it is not designed to introduce you to the world in the same way that the first full novel, The Eye of the World (opens in new tab) does. New Spring is set 20 years prior to the events of the main saga, but the book is quite lore-heavy and presumes you are at least somewhat familiar with the events of the earlier books. Plus, if you pick it up first, it will spoil some of the events in the first few novels.

The problem here is that there's a fair bit of disagreement over when the best time to read New Spring is. Some fans would suggest reading the books in publishing order in order to break up the main narrative (meaning you'd read New Spring after Crossroads of Twilight (opens in new tab)), but others believe you shouldn't pick it up until after you've read the final mainline novel, A Memory of Light (opens in new tab)

The earliest you can likely comfortably read New Spring is after you've finished The Fires of Heaven (opens in new tab) if it's your first time reading through Jordan's novels. At this point, the prequel will offer some interesting context for future events, without properly spoiling anything that happens in the first few books. Ultimately, that's why we've placed it where it is in our recommended reading order, even if there's a lot of debate over the perfect time to pick it up.

Once you've decided on where you're going to slot New Spring in, you're free to follow the books by release order, as The Wheel of Time's story unfolds chronologically. 

If you'd prefer to pick up the series digitally, you can pick the ebooks up at the Amazon Kindle Store (opens in new tab). The whole series is also available as audiobooks; Audible has also produced a version of the first book narrated by Rosamund Pike (opens in new tab).

There are also two additional books worth mentioning if you become a die-hard fan: The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time (opens in new tab), and The Wheel of Time Companion (opens in new tab). Although neither book is fundamental to understanding the main story, they're definitely worth picking up if can't get enough of Robert Jordan's world.

Jordan kept meticulous notes whilst writing the books, and these companion books expand on what happens across the saga by revealing unknown people, lands, and legends that will deepen your understanding of the Wheel of Time, even though neither is essential reading if you just want to know the main story.

Rosamund Pike as magical heroine Moiraine in The Wheel Of Time.

Rosamund Pike stars in the TV adaptation as Moiraine Damodred. (Image credit: Amazon Prime Video)

How long will it take to read the Wheel of Time?

There's no easy way around this: tackling all 14 Wheel of Time books is a pretty big task. The paperbacks average out at 826 pages apiece. 

The shortest book is the prequel, New Spring, which is 334 pages, whereas the shortest mainline book is The Path of Daggers, which still clocks in at 672 pages long.  

To put that into perspective, listening to all fifteen audiobooks will take you about 461 hours, or just over 19 full days. Basically, if you sit down to read or listen to the Wheel of Time books in order, you're in for the long haul.

Why should you read the Wheel of Time books?

Jordan's novels come very highly recommended and have sold more than 90 million copies to date, and it's easy to see why. If you're a fantasy fan already, they offer so much for you to get your teeth into. 

To try and summarise the basic premise, The Wheel of Time is a struggle between good and evil. According to prophecy, a reincarnation of The Dragon—"The Dragon Reborn"—is set to appear. The Dragon is the leader of the Light, a champion who will be able to unite the many kingdoms and peoples of the world against the forces of the Dark One, an evil entity bent on breaking free of his prison and devastating the world.

The nameless world in which The Wheel of Time is set is richly developed, as Jordan brings his universe to life in painstaking detail. Plus, there's a huge range of characters to fall in love with, and plenty of magic and monsters to meet along the way. 

If you enjoy classic high fantasy such as J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (opens in new tab) or George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones series and you're looking to become completely obsessed with a new and incredibly rich fantasy universe, you'll feel right at home with Robert Jordan's books.

How to watch The Wheel of Time

The first season of The Wheel of Time is available to stream in full on Prime Video, and the second series is expected to arrive at some point in 2023.