Here’s my top YA adventure books. It was tough to narrow it down. So many choices.
If you’re looking for magic, fantasy, warriors, kings, princes, even more magic, and super strong heroines, these YA adventure books are perfect for you.
#1 The Singer of All Songs by Kate Constable
In a world where all magic is divided into nine separate categories, each of which can only be controlled through song, priests and priestesses spend their lives learning and maintaining just one of those categories. Legend tells of a chanter who will one day arrive with the ability to sing all nine types of spells, and thus have the ability to rule the entire world: the singer of all songs. Calwyn, a young priestess studying the ice chants, is unexpectedly confronted with a stranger who can chant the iron spells, and is thrust into helping him escape the clutches of a greedy sorcerer threatening to become the singer of all songs. But as Calwyn’s adventure progresses, she will learn that the myth of the singer of all songs is not quite what it seems.
#2 The Seer and the Sword by Victoria Hanley
Princess Torina’s father, a strong warrior and king, has just beaten a neighboring, peaceful king in a mighty war to win a magical sword that is said to make the wielder undefeatable, as long as it’s not used for conquest. As a gift to his daughter, he brings her a crystal in which she can see the future and Landen, the son of the other king, to be her slave. But Torina frees Landen and befriends him instead. As they grown up together, their paths become increasingly intertwined. However, not everyone is as trusting of the former prince of a conquered kingdom living so close to the royal family. Soon a vicious plot fueled by ambition arises that has the potential to tear them—and the kingdom—apart entirely.
#3 The Riddle Master of Hed by Patricia A. McKillip
Morgon, the Prince of Hed, is a riddle-master so great that he can win crowns away from dead kings; unfortunately, his kingdom is populate mostly by farmers, and he is destined for nothing particularly amazing. When he sets off to claim his bride—a princess promised to whoever won the crown—he inadvertently begins a dangerous adventure, rife with shapechangers, secrets, and riddles. Morgon’s journey is filled with danger—both seen an unseen—that will teach him more than he ever wanted to know about magic, destiny, and the High One who rules over them all. (If you like A Wizard of Earthsea or The Hobbit, this one might be for you.)
#4 The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
This novel was, and still is, one of my favorites. It combines the best aspects of real-world fantasy (magical realism) with an epic adventure. The Blue Sword follows Angharad (Harry) Crewe, a young woman who is kidnapped from her home in the “Homeland,” what is understandably our world, and taken into the hill country. There, she is bewilderingly treated as an honored guest; she learns to live as the hill-folk do, and even how to sword-fight and channel her inner magical abilities. When the devilish Northerners attack while the hill-folk are delayed elsewhere, Harry finds herself drawing on both her inborn talents and her old community to save her new home.
#5 The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson
Tilja lives in a peaceful valley, protected from the dangerous country around it by a magical forest, which most of the women in Tilja’s family can communicate with. But not Tilja. She’s not magical at all. When the magic of the forest begins to fade, leaving the community vulnerable to attack, Tilja and her grandmother, accompanied by the boy Tahl and his grandfather, set out to find the magician who saved their home years before. On their journey they meet the strange and mysterious Ropemaker who aids them in their quest and shows Tilja that she may not be quite so devoid of magic as she thought. But the trip isn’t all sunshine and roses—the emperor has also seen the Ropemaker, and is intent upon forcing the magician to work for him. To save him, and to protect her town, Tilja will have to put her magic, her friends, and her life on the line.
#6 The Tale of Birle (formerly published as On Fortune’s Wheel) by Cynthia Voigt
Birle is a commoner working in her father’s inn, when she catches a strange man attempting to steal one of their boats. In an instant, Birle knows that she can no longer commit to marrying her fiancé, a hunter, whom she had pledged herself to in a bid to escape the inn. She discovers that the stranger is a Lord, and decides to accompany him in his travels. But their journey is long and arduous, and Fortune’s Wheel will take them through times of danger before they can once again reach safety.
#7 The Oathbound by Mercedes Lackey
In this adventure, two unlikely women become partners on a quest. Tarma is an asexual, androgynous warrior from the nomadic hill tribes who devoted her life to the warrior goddess in return for help avenging her family. Kethry is a feminine, dainty-seeming mage bound to a magic sword that draws her to women in need. Together, the two heroines fight demons, evil sorcerers, and their own dark pasts. (TW for sexual violence and human sacrifice)
#8 The Transall Saga by Gary Paulson (If you tend to freak out about Ebola, maybe don’t read this.)
Mark Harrison is on a solo hiking/camping trip when he is hit by a beam of blue light and transported to another world. It’s similar enough to Earth that he is able to live off the land for a while, until he discovers other human-like beings who take him in. Soon, a metal-wielding tribe attacks and enslaves him; but when his escape coincides with an attack on the village and Mark returns to warn them, he is given his freedom and a place in their tribe. But as Mark integrates into the tribe, he learns that this new place may not actually be on a different world, after all—and that he may have the power to change its entire history.
Also check out the YA adventure books on these listicles :
Happy Reading! Tell us in the comments about your favorite YA adventure books.