The Best Adventure Books of All Time

Adventure stories are about heroes overcoming obstacles, but the best ones are the ones that keep you guessing. The best adventure books keep their readers on the edge of their seats, wondering what will happen next. These stories feature characters who face seemingly insurmountable problems—but manage to find a way through them all the same. In this way, they follow the classic hero’s journey pattern: they begin with an ordinary person in an ordinary situation; something happens that changes everything; then our hero is forced into extraordinary circumstances and must rise to meet them head on!

The best adventure books have main characters who feel like real people—not superheroes or geniuses with superhuman powers, but regular people who have some specific skill set or trait (like courage) that helps them succeed at overcoming whatever obstacle stands in their way. They also have supporting characters who may not be as important as our protagonist(s), but still play an important role in moving along plot points and conflicts without which there wouldn’t be much of an adventure story at all!

We love adventure stories because they’re full of action and suspense, but also because they tend to be set in exotic locations. Here are some of the best adventure books ever written:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games trilogy is a story about Katniss Everdeen, a young woman who lives in District 12 of Panem, the country that has been devastated by war and that now consists only of the Capitol and 13 districts. Each year, two tributes are chosen from each district to participate in The Hunger Games: A televised battle where they must fight each other until only one remains alive. The winner will be granted special privileges and wealth for their family back home; but if they don’t win then both of them will die.

Katniss volunteers to take her sister Primrose’s place when she is chosen as tribute for District 12 – which only happens when someone else volunteers first – alongside Peeta Mellark from their own town who was selected earlier than expected due to his popularity with sponsors (those who pay money towards the survival of tributes). They arrive at the Capital where they undergo training before being introduced into The Arena: A large field surrounded by cliffs at its edges filled with water hazards like quicksand or trying to swim across rivers while avoiding alligators…and other dangerous wildlife called mutts which were created after experimentation on animals caught within these areas! But how will these two cope with such an environment?

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Treasure Island is a classic book about young Jim Hawkins, who goes off in search of buried treasure with his friends. The story follows their adventures as they travel across the sea and fight pirates to uncover the treasure. This is an exciting book with action, adventure and friendship throughout!

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild is an adventurous tale of a young man who leaves his family and society to live in the wilderness. It’s based on real events, written in the first person, and contains a lot of nature writing. The book is also a travelogue—it follows Chris McCandless as he travels across the country on foot, bus and train.

In addition to being exciting, Into the Wild shows us how important it is to have goals in life that make you happy. This book teaches readers that they don’t need wealth or fame to be happy—they just need a passion for what they love doing most!

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton is a book about a theme park with dinosaurs. The story follows John Hammond, the owner of the theme park, as he tries to convince investors that his dinosaur theme park will be safe for visitors. After investing millions of dollars into the project and getting approval from every regulatory agency in the world, Hammond opens Jurassic Park with great fanfare. Unfortunately for him, everything goes horribly wrong when a series of unfortunate events leads to life-threatening consequences for everyone involved.

The book is written in first person plural perspective (we), which makes you feel like you’re part of the action as it unfolds around you—which was probably Crichton’s goal when writing this novel!

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

The story of Pi Patel, a boy who survives a shipwreck and is stranded on a lifeboat with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra and finally a tiger, this book is about the spiritual journey of Pi Patel who survives 227 days at sea.

In order to help readers understand the meaning behind what they are reading Yann Martel uses metaphors to convey his message: “Life of Pi was born on the floor of his local library where it grew up among books like The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux” writes Martel in the introduction. It may seem weird but this metaphor helps readers understand how much research went into creating this novel since he included places that he has visited himself in his book (the great railway bazaar refers to Asia). Similarly, when describing religion he says “The Buddha was born under an eranda tree…” Just like how Pi had grown up amongst all these different religions and gained knowledge from each one.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

This book is the quintessential survival story. Brian Robeson, a 13-year-old boy, survives a plane crash and is stranded in the Canadian wilderness with only his hatchet for company. The reader follows along as Brian struggles to survive on his own and deal with the emotional trauma of being alone in such an unfamiliar place. This book is perfect for anyone who likes survival stories or just wants a good read!

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

The book is about the Tarahumara people—an indigenous tribe in Mexico’s Copper Canyons—and their seemingly superhuman ability to run long distances without ever getting tired or injured. It’s also about author Christopher McDougall’s quest to find out as much as he can about these mysterious athletes, and his own journey into ultramarathon running after meeting some members of the tribe.

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian is a book about a man stranded on Mars. He’s an astronaut, and he finds himself in dire straits when the crew of his spacecraft leaves him behind.

The main character is forced to survive on his own in order to get back home to Earth. The story is told from the perspective of this one man, who must find ways of finding food and water while also dealing with a series of other issues that arise throughout the course of his adventure.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

If you’re looking for a classic adventure book that’s fun to read and packed with enough action to keep you up all night, The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien is the perfect fit.

The story follows Bilbo Baggins, who is swept away from his home and family by Gandalf the wizard and his companions on a quest to defeat Smaug the dragon and reclaim their homeland from Sauron’s forces. It was written as a children’s book but has been enjoyed by adults too since its publication in 1937—and why shouldn’t it? The story is full of suspense, humor and excitement that will keep any reader entertained throughout its pages.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

This is the first book in a seven-part series that follows young Harry Potter as he learns about his magical abilities, goes to wizarding school, and fights evil forces with his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. The story takes place in a world where witches and wizards live alongside muggles (non-magical people) like us—but if you haven’t read it yet, I won’t spoil anything further!

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan is the first book in his Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. It tells the story of a demigod named Percy Jackson, who learns he is the son of Poseidon, god of the sea, while on summer vacation with his mother. When a monster attacks him at their hotel and he discovers he can breathe underwater without drowning, Percy begins to suspect that he may be more than just your average kid. He soon learns that he has been sent to Camp Half-Blood—a summer camp for children of Greek gods and goddesses—and embarks on an adventure with his new friends Annabeth Chase and Grover Underwood as they search for Zeus’ missing lightning bolt in order to prevent war between Olympus and Tartarus.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

This is the first book in the Lord of the Rings series. It’s a classic adventure story that follows Frodo Baggins, a hobbit who is tasked with taking an object called The Ring to a place called Mount Doom to destroy it and lift a powerful spell cast by Sauron (the main villain). This is one of the most popular fantasy novels of all time and has inspired many other works in its genre. If you haven’t read this book yet, you’re missing out!

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a classic adventure story about four children who discover a magical world through an old wardrobe. After becoming kings and queens of Narnia, they must fight against a wicked witch in order to save their realm. Alongside them is a talking lion named Aslan who guides them on their quest.

The book was written by C.S. Lewis in 1950 and has sold over 100 million copies worldwide since then!

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

The Count of Monte Cristo is a classic French novel that follows Edmond Dantès, a man who is wrongfully imprisoned, escapes and seeks revenge on those who wronged him. The book was first published in 1844 and has since been adapted into films, television shows, graphic novels, plays and more. Though it’s traditionally considered to be a classic of French literature—and even though it’s so famous that we all know the title—you might not have read this book yet!

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a classic American story, one that everyone should read. It’s funny and nostalgic, but also deals with important issues like racism and morality. Huck Finn is an adventure story about two boys who run away from home to escape their abusive fathers. They travel down the Mississippi River on a raft and meet some memorable characters along the way: Jim, an escaped slave; Tom Sawyer, another boy who has run away from home; several drunk men who get beaten up by Huck and Tom; Injun Joe (who kills people); Jim’s owner Miss Watson; a family of farmers called Grangerfords.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

The Princess Bride is a classic adventure story, and it’s one of the best. It’s also a love story: Buttercup, the beautiful and headstrong princess who falls in love with farmhand Westley (“farmhand” being a very loose term here) while they’re both children. As they grow older, however, their paths diverge—Westley goes off to war; Buttercup stays home where she is forced to marry Prince Humperdinck. But in this fairy tale world where everything is magical and nothing can go wrong for too long at a time (otherwise there would be no story), it’s not long before Westley returns from his quest to reclaim Florin from Man-In-Black Vizzini…and rescue Buttercup!

This book has everything you could want from an adventure novel: action scenes that have you on the edge of your seat; witty banter between characters (both old friends like Inigo Montoya or Fezzik and new acquaintances like Miracle Max); unexpected twists; comedy relief in just about every scene involving Count Rugen…There’s even some romance thrown into the mix for good measure!

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown

This book tells the story of Robert Langdon, an art expert who has been summoned to the Vatican by the Pope himself because there is a plot against the Catholic Church: someone wants to destroy it with a terrifying weapon that can hurt only living things and leave buildings intact. The author describes in great detail how he thinks this weapon works (or might work) and what it means for everyone involved with its creation; everyone from scientists who created it as well as priests who have dedicated their lives to making sure that nothing like this ever happens again!

Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

This adventure book was written by Jules Verne in 1872. It tells the story of a man who takes a bet that he can travel around the world in 80 days. The main character, Phileas Fogg, accepts the challenge and sets out on his journey with his trusted servant Passepartout.

The book has been made into several movies and TV series over the years including one starring David Niven as Phileas Fogg and another with Jackie Chan as Passepartout.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

The plot of Divergent is about a young woman named Beatrice who learns that she is divergent, meaning she has the ability to do things that others cannot. The book follows her as she tries to survive in this dystopian future where people are forced into factions based on their personality traits. This book can be read as a standalone and is followed by two sequels: Insurgent and Allegiant.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows is a fun, fast-paced adventure that will keep you turning the pages long into the night. The characters are memorable and well-written, making them easy to root for as they go on their journey. Even when things get dark, you’ll find yourself rooting for each character because they’re so well drawn out by Bardugo’s words.

The story is exciting and full of twists and turns that keep it moving quickly forward with no dull moments in between action scenes. Overall, this book does everything right: it keeps readers engaged from start to finish; its characters are interesting; there is never a dull moment; and it’s not too long but still packs enough information into it so that readers don’t feel like they’re missing anything important from previous books or stories about these characters’ lives before this one began!

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Robinson Crusoe is a novel by Daniel Defoe, first published in 1719. It is generally seen as the first English novel, the first to have been written in the modern sense of the word. The book follows the experiences of a castaway who spends 28 years on an uninhabited island near Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives, and mutineers.

It was an immediate success. It’s considered to be one of the most successful adventure novels in literary history. Shortly after its publication, it was translated into French and German; it has been translated into over two hundred languages since then.

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

When you think of adventure books, this one probably comes to mind. The Three Musketeers tells the story of a young man named d’Artagnan who leaves home to become a musketeer and join forces with Athos, Porthos, and Aramis in order to protect King Louis XIV from Cardinal Richelieu.

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

A Game of Thrones is the first book in George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, and it’s one of the most successful television shows ever. It was adapted into an HBO show that ran from 2011 to 2018 and has won multiple Emmy and Golden Globe awards for its portrayal of warring families vying for control over the Seven Kingdoms.

The story follows different characters as they navigate a period known as The Long Summer (a period of long summers), where it never snows but there’s always a chill in the air. There are also White Walkers who live north of The Wall that guards Westeros from them; though other creatures like giants and dragons may be more terrifying than them!

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The first book in the His Dark Materials trilogy, The Golden Compass won the Carnegie Medal and Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 1996. It was adapted into a film of the same name in 2007. The story follows Lyra Belacqua as she travels across parallel universes on an epic adventure to save her best friend’s life.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner by James Dashner is the first book in a trilogy. The plot follows Thomas, a boy who wakes up in a glade full of boys with no memory of how he got there. There are also walls around the glade and they have to find out what lies beyond it. The book takes place in an apocalyptic world where everyone has been infected by an illness called “the Flare”. It was written in 2009 and received great reviews at the time it was published.

The setting is an abandoned town where the Gladers live together while trying to figure out where they came from and what happened to them before waking up in that field without any memories of their past lives. They also try to figure out why they were sent there as well as how to escape from this maze filled with monsters called Grievers that look like giant spiders or bugs and come after anyone who steps outside their safe zone during daylight hours (when Grievers cannot see).

Thomas becomes leader of these Gladers after being accused by everyone else for being responsible for releasing some kind of disease on humanity when he arrived at this place via train (which was sabotaged). He needs help from other members too because otherwise every single one would die within days due to lack of supplies; however, most want nothing more than revenge on him after having been told lies about Thomas’ involvement in bringing death upon all those now living inside this walled city. “The Maze Runner” is definitely worth reading if you enjoy adventure stories set against dystopian backgrounds with complex characters who must deal with various challenges!

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Eragon is the first book in a series of novels by Christopher Paolini. It tells the story of a young boy named Eragon who discovers an egg that hatches into a dragon, whom he names Saphira. With Saphira’s help, he becomes a Dragon Rider and embarks on an epic adventure to defeat the evil king Galbatorix. The story takes place in Alagaësia, which has many similarities to real-world Europe (such as having countries with French names). Although it’s aimed at young people, many adults have enjoyed it as well for its fast-paced action scenes and fascinating worldbuilding.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is an adventure novel written by French writer Jules Verne in 1870. The story follows Captain Nemo and his crew of scientists, who live on a submarine named Nautilus.

In the book, you’ll have to fight giant squid-like creatures and sea monsters while exploring the deep ocean. You’ll also see many new species of marine life that have never been seen before!

After reading this book yourself, you may be inspired to build your own submarine or explore what lies beneath the waves by visiting aquariums or going scuba diving with friends!

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One is a science-fiction novel by Ernest Cline. It was published in 2011 and became an instant hit. The book is set in 2044, but it has elements of the 1980s and 90s thrown into the mix, including references to pop culture from that period.

The story follows Wade Watts, a teenager who spends most of his time on OASIS—a virtual reality environment that’s become so popular that people have stopped leaving their homes altogether. When James Halliday dies without leaving a will or heirs behind him, he leaves behind three keys hidden somewhere in OASIS along with clues to finding them. Whoever finds them first gets control over his company and fortune as well as total control of OASIS itself!

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist follows the story of a shepherd boy who follows his heart, intuition and passion to find his own Personal Legend: the place where he’ll make his mark on the world.

The novel is full of themes of following your dreams and doing what you love, not just because you want to be famous or wealthy but because it makes you happy. In this way, The Alchemist can sometimes feel like a self-help book—but it’s also about more than just reaching for your goals and ambitions in life. It’s about being open to new experiences, learning from them as much as possible, and continuing down your own path regardless of what anyone else thinks or says.

It’s easy for us to lose sight of our Personal Legends when we get caught up in day-to-day stressors—and we often forget how important it is not only to pursue our passions but also experience new things every day (or at least try). Reading The Alchemist reminds us that there are still so many places left for us to explore out there in this big world and there are many adventures waiting around every corner.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling is set in a fantasy world where people have special abilities, such as mindreading, weather manipulation and even healing. The protagonist Katsa’s ability is survival.

The story follows Katsa as she goes on a journey to find her place in the world while fighting for what she believes is right and just. Along the way she meets Po: an orphan boy who has been taken under the wing of one of Monsea’s greatest fighters; Bitterblue: a young princess whose mother died when she was very young; Leck: one of Katsa’s former victims who now has power over all seven kingdoms; and Raffin: Leck’s brother who wants nothing more than peace between Monsea and their enemies.

Full of adventure, romance, action-packed scenes (like sword fights) this book will keep you turning pages until you finish it!


We hope that you enjoyed our list of the best adventure books and will be inspired to read them all. There are so many great stories out there and they each have their own unique storyline. Some of them can be read over again because they have so much depth in the characters and plotlines that make it feel like it’s your first time reading them again!

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