Ranking the Wheel of Time Books - Part 3

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Author: Ilverin Matriam
Published: June 23 2019 Tar Valon Times Blog

This article contains spoilers for the entire series.

Here we are, almost at the end! Are you excited to find out the top 5 favorite Wheel of Time books? Here we go!

NUMBER 5 – The Dragon Reborn


Yes, The Dragon Reborn is indeed a favorite of many people. I can only assume it’s because it is a fast paced book, a lot of things are happening, and there is even a bit of foreshadowing to some future events. Plus we finally find out the prophecy is completed and the Dragon has been reborn.

In this book, we get to see the real Mat also. He is not mad with the dagger’s taint, nor is he just a shadow of himself without it, like in the Great Hunt. He gets Healed in the White Tower and also kicks both Gawyn and Galad’s behinds in a fair duel only with a quarterstaff! I think this is one of the most memorable scenes in the whole series. We also get to see how powerful Moiraine is when she kills one of the Forsaken.

We meet several Aiel, which to this point we have only heard mentioned as some sort of legendary creatures who must be feared. Instead we see them vulnerable (the scene where Nynaeve heals the Aiel girl) and I think this is the beginning of the the fandom’s love of the Aiel.

This book is both an ending (we have confirmation that Rand is indeed the Dragon Reborn) and a beginning (to the rest of the story). All in all a strong book!

NUMBER 4 – Knife of Dreams


I hope you know why this book is so high up here. Yes, after several hard to read books, we finally get one that is fast paced and has a lot of stories finally untangling. Most of all, we are glad that Faile gets freed from the Shaido so we can stop that storyline. Finally.

Also, Elayne gets the throne of Andor. I personally was not really interested in the whole succession story, since it’s politics, but maybe some people like it because .. politics.

I think the biggest surprise in this book is Egwene’s resistance. I don’t know what you thought would happen with Egwene once she was captured, but I did not expect such resistance from her. And I was pleasantly surprised! This was what she was studying with Siuan for the last couple of books.

And the last thing is…. Mat is finally married! I was really surprised and maybe a bit relieved when it happened. He does know how to charm a woman, even if she is as stone-hearted as Tuon seems.

NUMBER 3 – The Eye of the World


This is where it all started. This is where we all got hooked! I believe The Eye of the World earned this third place spot very convincingly.

The book starts slow but it gets so much better with each page. We get just a taste of how big this world is and how many things are yet to come.

I think the book is paced really well for a first book in a series, and the ending is the biggest, most interesting part. I am sure this book will stay in our hearts as one of the best in the series because it started our love affair with The Wheel of Time.

NUMBER 2 – Lord of Chaos


This is no surprise to anyone I’m sure. Lord of Chaos is one of the most liked books of the series. There is so much to love here, and one of the most memorable scenes in the entire series: the battle at Dumai’s Wells.

For me the best thing, the part I really enjoy reading, is Egwene’s raising to the Amyrlin Seat. This was so surprising for me, I did not see it coming the first time around.

I think this book shapes how the Aes Sedai part of the story plays out for two main reasons. First, the Salidar Aes Sedai choose Egwene as their leader. Second the Tower Aes Sedai capture and try to abduct Rand, firmly moving Elaida and her Aes Sedai to the enemy camp in Rand’s mind.

This book also shows us that this Age is bringing lots of changes to the world, like Nynaeve Healing Stilling, a condition previously thought to be impossible to Heal.

NUMBER 1 – The Shadow Rising


We’re finally here, the number one spot in the ranking! Most readers call The Shadow Rising the best book in the series. I think this has a lot to do with how much we learn about the Aiel (a major fan favorite) in this book.

As with the previous book in the series, here again we experience the fulfillment of a prophecy. In this case, Rand destroys the Aiel by revealing the truth of their history. Also, Mat receives interesting information from the Aelfinn and Eelfinn; even if we don’t understand it at this point, we know that Mat is destined for big things.

The battle in the Two Rivers is very important. Perrin’s path to becoming Lord of the Two Rivers starts here; we finally get a feel for what his future holds. But the battle is personal for readers as well. We fondly remember the start of the whole adventure in the Two Rivers, and we know the epic story of Manetheren from Moraine’s telling. The Two Rivers is our symbolic home, and reading about this battle is almost like reading about a battle in our own home town.

This book has a lot of all the good things we love about The Wheel of Time, and it is very enjoyable to read. I think it’s the the high point of the series.


Now that you’ve read through my rankings, what do you think? Which book is your favorite? Which would you put at the bottom of the list? Feel free to share your own rankings in the comments!