Alright. This will be the last Wheel of Time article. At least until the show continues. But in regards to the books, we are done. And that… is an overwhelming thought.
The Wheel of Time was one of the most varied reading experiences I’ve ever had with a fantasy series. Some books were absolutely phenomenal! Others made me want to claw my eyes out. It was a true rollercoaster of quality and emotions, which made it one of the most interesting experiences with books I’ve ever known.
So, which book was the best? Which was the worst? And which were just sort of meh? Let’s have a look, shall we?
Bet you guys are surprised to see the Slump books reaching higher than D. Trust me, I have my reasons.
In my review, I was pretty harsh towards the first book, Eye of the World. However, looking back, I definitely feel much more forgiving towards it. Yes, the ending is still pretty bad. But it is a charming start for the series.
I feel similarly with Great Hunt. For the majority of the book, I was bored and uninterested. But then those last few chapters hit and it became fantastic. Definitely a stronger entry in hindsight.
The Dragon Reborn was the first Wheel of Time book that I enjoyed from start to end. It was much shorter, the character writing became much stronger (cough cough Mat) and it has one of my favorite climaxes in the series. Thus, it earns our first S-tier.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to see Shadow Rising in S-tier as well. While I had a few small issues with it, it was definitely one of the best fantasy books that I’ve read in a long time. In my mind, the first three books are like a prologue, and the Shadow Rising is where the WoT truly begins.
Fires of Heaven is definitely a step down from Shadow Rising, but it isn’t bad. It has a strong beginning and an incredibly strong ending. My biggest issue with it is that it drags a lot in the middle. All that stuff with Nynaeve and Elayne in the circus was absolutely miserable! Still, overall, a solid A-tier book.
Lord of Chaos is much the same way. It has one of the strongest endings in the series with Dumai’s Wells. But as a whole, the book has some issues. There are tons of moments that are just… bleh. As a whole, though, it’s still remarkably solid.
A Crown of Swords was going to be much higher. The first half was S-tier level stuff! But in the latter half, it really fell apart. The ending with Rand and Samael is super disappointing, and all the sexual assault stuff with Mat is awful. It started so strong, then fell apart.
Thus begins the Slump.
Path of Daggers and Winter’s Heart are both nearly in the D-tier. They’re slow, they’re painful, and the plot doesn’t progress until the very end. However, they both had a few attributes to elevate it a little higher than D. Path of Daggers was wild as hell with the almost non-stop barrage of action scenes and the ending was so bad that it was funny. And Winter’s Heart at least had a good start and an ending that impacts the story in a huge way.
Crossroads of Twilight gets no positive marks. The plot doesn’t move in this book at all until the literal last chapter! Until then, it’s just a whole ton of wheel-spinning! People keep saying things, but nothing actually happens! Of all the Wheel of Time books, this is the one that I do not want to revisit. Definitely the worst, so it sits alone in the D-tier.
Then we get Knife of Dreams. This one is my favorite, hands-down. Knife of Dreams doesn’t just get the plot moving, it kicks it into overdrive! We get so many cool moments for every single character and some extremely cathartic ends to some long-lasting villains. I’d reread the whole series just to get to enjoy this one again! Easy S-tier, Robert Jordan’s last hurrah was a damn glorious one!
Now, we enter the Brandon Sanderson trilogy. While I don’t think any of them are bad by any means, they’ve all got their issues. Gathering Storm has some clear growing pains, from some odd character moments to arcs that have taken a few steps in reverse for seemingly no reason. Towers of Midnight is enjoyable, but it crams a bit too much into one book for me. Again, neither are bad, but their issues land them squarely in the B-tier.
A Memory of Light was almost S-tier simply on the merit that it managed to end the series in a (mostly) satisfying way. However, the book itself does have some major issues that drag it down for me. The fact that the whole thing is a series of long battles can get really exhausting, and some of the major villain downfalls are flat-out embarrassing. Still, as a whole, it is an excellent note to end the series on.
Finally, we have the prequel, New Spring. This one is fine. Not exceptional, not terrible. My main problem is that there really isn’t any merit to reading it unless you are a die-hard fan. Otherwise, it’s not really worth the time. Still, if you are that die-hard fan, you’ll enjoy your time with it.
And with that, we are done! After well over a year of going through this series, we are finally done with the Wheel of Time books! We can finally move on to one of the countless other series that have been sitting in my to-read list!
What a wild journey this series has been. Full of highs and lows, it was sometimes the best reading experience I’ve ever had, and sometimes it was the absolute worst. If nothing else, it was memorable as all hell; I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.
Still, for all my issues, I love the Wheel of Time. It’s become an all-time (get it?) favorite fantasy series for me. And while we may never talk about them again, I’ll always look back on this journey fondly.
Thanks for sticking with me through all this, guys. I’ll see you next time for a new book review.