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When Should You Read New Spring? The 6 Best Points!

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When should you read New Spring by Robert Jordan? Many readers ask this question before they begin their marathon journey through The Wheel of Time book series. I assume you’re one of them and want to know when to read the prequel to get the best reading experience without spoiling your enjoyment of the main series.

The prequel is a standalone novel that can be read at any stage. However, New Spring’s plot is as bound to the Wheel as all the other books, so where does it fit in the Pattern? In search of an answer, I wrote down my thoughts on when to read New Spring. I came up with a top-six list, in no discernable order, explaining my reasons. Enjoy!

“When To Read New Spring” feature image. Books on a mustard-yellow background.

When To Read New Spring: The 6 Best Points

As a seasoned re-reader of The Wheel of Time, I come to this with a personal bias. I’ll share my preference, but not at the cost of rejecting others. In truth, I devoured New Spring eagerly upon its 2004 publication, as any devoted fan of the series would do. That may be how Robert Jordan intended it to be experienced, but now The Wheel of Time is complete, enthusiasts can choose their own reading path.

I’ve avoided spoilers (a formidable challenge), and what follows are the 6 perfect points to start reading the New Spring prequel!

The Chronological Approach: Before Starting the Series

The events of New Spring unfold two decades before Rand’s adventures in The Eye of the World begin. Therefore, opting for a chronological approach means starting with the prequel. With a modest 397 pages, it serves as a quick primer for the main series, equipping you well for the longer books that follow.

The Wheel of Time books on a shelf with New Spring pulled forwards. Signifying its position if you read New Spring before starting The Wheel of Time series.

Reading New Spring before the main series also means you don’t have to fret about breaking off at a mid-point in the book sequence. You can go with the flow, following your mood without any need to backtrack.

While this route provides a unique perspective on The Eye of the World compared to those who jump straight in, I hesitate to label it beneficial. There’s a risk that your preconceived notions about characters, especially Moiraine, may alter your initial impressions, potentially diminishing the mystique and overall enjoyment of your first foray into The Wheel of Time.

The unique selling point of the prequel is the reader’s familiarity and affection for its main characters. How Moiraine and Lan met was a significant talking point before New Spring was released in its short form (as a novella within an anthology). By forgoing that level of excitement, you might miss out on the unique experience cherished by readers of The Wheel of Time’s main series. For this reason, I don’t advocate the chronological approach.

The Sensible Approach: After The Eye of the World

After finishing The Eye of the World, you’ll have become familiar with The Wheel of Time and feel comfortable traveling its expansive world. Your curiosity about New Spring’s central characters, Moiraine and Lan, will also be piqued, setting the stage for maximum enjoyment of the prequel.

The Wheel of Time books on a shelf with New Spring pulled forwards, signifying its position if you read New Spring after The Eye of the World.

From The Great Hunt onward, the pace of the narrative accelerates, introducing many more characters. Opting for New Spring at this juncture, before encountering rich new storylines from various perspectives, is a sensible choice. However, after reading The Eye of the World, the immediate urge is to pick up The Great Hunt. Why stifle your impulse in favor of prudence? I don’t think you should. That’s my perspective; ultimately, these are your books to explore.

Reading in this order does offer a unique benefit—a reverse Easter egg effect. New Spring introduces characters from the main series, and seeing Aes Sedai in their younger years is a delightful quirk of the prequel. Conversely, your reward for reading New Spring first is witnessing their introduction later in life. As always, the decision is yours to make.

The Impact Approach: After The Shadow Rising

The following two suggestions on when to read New Spring are driven by pivotal plot points in the main series, so I’ll keep my summaries brief.

Reading The Wheel of Time prequel after The Shadow Rising is often considered the best time to read New Spring. However, remember that this recommendation always comes from those who have read the complete series. Their opinions are rooted in a deep understanding of how the plot unfolds.

The Wheel of Time books on a shelf with New Spring pulled forwards. Signifying its position if you read New Spring after The Shadow Rising.

Undoubtedly, the events in the books up to this point set the stage for the most profound impact of reading New Spring, enhancing the subsequent novels in The Wheel of Time series. While taking a detour here might sidetrack your reading journey, the payoff when reading New Spring before The Fires of Heaven is unquestionable.

However, I believe the first five books represent The Wheel of Time at its zenith, and I don’t advise a detour at this juncture. Just keep going where the weaves are flowing!

The Resonance Approach: After The Fires of Heaven

If you’re asking for my personal opinion on when to read New Spring (and I suspect you are), my answer is after The Fires of Heaven. It’s my preferred point for revisiting the prequel during a re-read, but explaining my reasons would involve betraying the books.

Considering the story’s progression, I suggest placing New Spring after The Fires of Heaven because of its resonance. Without giving away spoilers, I can only say that it aligns well with the story by this point.

The Wheel of Time books on a shelf with New Spring pulled forwards. Signifying its position if you read New Spring after The Fires of Heaven.

Importantly, your Wheel of Time reading experience is on the brink of transformation. The upcoming books aren’t as tightly woven, with plot points spanning several novels rather than neatly concluding within one. While Lord of Chaos is an excellent book, it marks the beginning of what many readers call “the slog” — a gradual shift in Robert Jordan’s storytelling. Taking a detour now to explore the prequel offers you a last all-in-one experience as you limber up for the books to come.

A word of caution, though: If reading New Spring after The Fires of Heaven was the author’s intent, he likely would have published it (or its novella predecessor) at this stage. Since Robert Jordan didn’t do that, it’s a question worth considering and why you should probably take…

The Order of Publishing Approach: After Crossroads of Twilight

If you aim to experience The Wheel of Time as readers did in its original release, follow the series in the order of publication. This entails reading New Spring right after Crossroads of Twilight, which marks the end of the perceived “slog.”

The Wheel of Time books on a shelf with New Spring pulled forwards. Signifying its position if you read New Spring in order of publication.

Another significant character from the main series will be familiar when you read New Spring, providing additional oomph to their impact. It also serves as a fitting setup for the impending endgame, set to unfold from Knife of Dreams onward. The drawback, however, is that you’ll probably be eager to reach the Last Battle by this point.

There’s a joy to be found in reading New Spring before reaching the series conclusion, and personally, I appreciate having done so. If you can exercise some restraint, now might be an opportune time to add the prequel to your reading journey. If you yearn for knowledge about all the events leading up to Tarmon Gai’don before it happens, this is when you should read New Spring.

The Prepared Approach: After Completing The Wheel of Time

While I mentioned earlier that New Spring is a standalone novel and can be read at any point, there’s no imperative to do so. Even though it includes integral characters, the prequel is not a prerequisite for your overall enjoyment of the series. However, I highly recommend not skipping it, as it is an enjoyable book.

A sense of loss may settle in as you turn the final page of A Memory of Light, close the cover, and affectionately return the book to your shelf. Wondering if you’ll ever experience the joy of reading to such an extent again, you might find yourself asking, “What do I read after The Wheel of Time?”

The Wheel of Time books on a shelf with New Spring pulled forwards. Signifying its position if you read New Spring after finishing The Wheel of Time.

The prepared approach is to reserve New Spring for that moment of emptiness. Your patience will be rewarded, and you’ll be grateful for this intentional delay. However, once you’ve read it, you’ll likely wonder why you didn’t read New Spring ages ago!

Another book worth your investment after completing The Wheel of Time is Origins of The Wheel of Time by Michael Livingston. This book explores the myths and legends that inspired Robert Jordan’s fantasy world. My review of this new companion book can be found by following the link.

Books on bookshelves. Image link for the "Origins of The Wheel of Time Review & Guide" post.

Conclusion: When Should You Read New Spring?

I’ve shared the top six points, leaving the decision of when to read New Spring entirely up to you. After all, it’s a personal choice, though I hope this brief yet informative post has been helpful.

For those venturing into The Wheel of Time for the first time, I recommend reading New Spring after Book 10, Crossroads of Twilight. This choice aligns with the millions who experienced The Wheel of Time books as they were released—the path Robert Jordan himself took when publishing the series. There’s no compelling reason to deviate from this course.

Of course, on subsequent journeys through Randland, feel free to get creative with your placement. As you inevitably find yourself drawn back into the world, you’ll have your opinion on the perfect time to revisit New Spring. Share those thoughts in the comments below!

How to Read New Spring

If you’ve pondered when to read New Spring and decided that the time is now, explore my shopping guides for paperback, hardcover, audiobook, graphic novel, and Kindle editions. You can also head to Barnes & Noble and buy today by tapping the image links below:

New Spring (The Wheel of Time Series Prequel) paperback. Author: Robert Jordan.
New Spring (The Wheel of Time Series Prequel) hardcover. Author: Robert Jordan.

Let me know if I’ve helped you answer the question of when to read New Spring. Share your decisions and differing opinions/insights (without spoilers) in the comments. I would be delighted to hear from you.

Until next time, may the Light shine on you, my friends!


For more information about the novel, visit my hub page for the prequel through the image link below:

Books on a yellow background. Yellow and white typography reads “The Wheel of Time Prequel: A Wish Fulfilled.”

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