The most recommended quest books

Who picked these books? Meet our 93 experts.

93 authors created a book list connected to quests, and here are their favorite quest books.
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What type of quest book?


The Knight of the Swords

By Michael Moorcock,

Book cover of The Knight of the Swords

Mark A. Rayner Author Of Alpha Max

From the list on multiverse to blow your mind.

Who am I?

Alpha Max is set in the multiverse, so I thought a list of other multiverse books would be a fun comparison. In my work, I’ve had a recurring character, Dr. Maximilian Tundra; a reader noted that he always seemed slightly different novel-to-novel. A very astute reader. You see, the whole time, all of my books took place in slightly different versions of my hometown. Parallel Earths! So, I thought it was time to let Max take center stage and explore why this might be. In this book, we get to meet not just one Max, but dozens of divergent Maxes from alternate realities. Mind-blowing stuff!

Mark's book list on multiverse to blow your mind

Why did Mark love this book?

I’ve always loved Moorcock’s work – I find his writing can be quite beautiful stylistically, even while he’s telling a compelling story. The Knight of Swords is the first in the Corum series, two trilogies, which is also part of the eternal champion multiverse. (It’s actually Moorcock who coined the term “multiverse” in a novel he wrote in the 60s.) I prefer Corum to his arguably more famous other protagonist, Elric of Meliboné. Corum is significantly less emo and whiny than Elric and I also really enjoyed the allusions to Irish mythology. But both of these characters are examples of what Moorcock calls the eternal champion – a hero that emerges whenever the universe experiences imbalance. This hero appears in many different realities, the multiverse, and is set the task of righting the balance between Law and Chaos. If you like high fantasy, and you haven’t read Moorcock, you really…

By Michael Moorcock,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Knight of the Swords as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The ancient races, the Vadhagh and the Nhadragh, are dying. By creating Mankind, the universe has condemned Earth to a pestilence of destruction and fear.

Prince Corum is the last remaining Vadhagh. He sets out on a crusade of vengeance against the forces that slaughtered his family and his race, to challenge the unjust power of the puppet masters of Man: the Lords of Chaos. Along the way he will barter with his soul for the limbs of gods to repair his mutilated body, and will encounter a member of the very race who caused the mutilation, the irresistible Rhalina...

Ancillary Justice

By Ann Leckie,

Book cover of Ancillary Justice

Rachel Mundy Author Of Animal Musicalities: Birds, Beasts, and Evolutionary Listening

From the list on having a voice if you’re not (fully) human.

Who am I?

When I was a doctoral student in historical musicology, I went to Paris to study postwar government budgets for music, but it was really boring. So I started hanging out listening to Parisian songbirds instead. The more I learned about birdsong, the more I realized it raised some really big questions, like why biologists and musicians have completely different standards of evidence. Those questions led me to write my book, which is about what it means to sing if you’re not considered fully human, and most of my work today is about how thinking about animals can help us understand what we value in those who are different.

Rachel's book list on having a voice if you’re not (fully) human

Why did Rachel love this book?

A friend gave me this when I was almost done writing my book.

I couldn’t figure out how to justify footnoting a science fiction novel written from the point of view of a one-thousand-year-old spaceship in my own book, which was mostly about theories of musical evolution, but I still wish I had. The spaceship-protagonist can’t tell genders apart and refers to every single character as “she,” and it loves (I mean loves) to sing.

The book tackles surprisingly relevant questions about the way power, gender, and difference circulate through a post-colonial society. It’s completely different from the kind of work I do as an academic, but I think it has something just as important to say about music, human identity, and modern science.

By Ann Leckie,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Ancillary Justice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Once, she was the Justice of Toren -- a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy. Now, an act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with one fragile human body, unanswered questions, and a burning desire for vengeance.

The Bone Ships

By RJ Barker,

Book cover of The Bone Ships

Set Sytes Author Of India Muerte And The Ship Of The Dead

From the list on making you want to be a pirate of the Caribbean.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved pirates and fantasy – combining the two is just wonderful in my eyes, cemented with my first watch of The Curse of the Black Pearl. It’s a struggle to identify exactly why these things appeal so much – I suppose my imagination and sense of free-wheeling roguish adventure runs wild. I’ve loved action-adventure and exploration since growing up watching the Indiana Jones films and playing Tomb Raider. The beloved genre of pirate fantasy seemed absurdly scarce within literature. I couldn’t find the books I wanted to read – so I had to write them, filling them with all the pirate fantasy staples I adored, twisting them, and adding entirely new creations.

Set's book list on making you want to be a pirate of the Caribbean

Why did Set love this book?

Another of my cheat picks, but I feel they are both following the spirit of the list (and, more importantly, my own enthusiasm).

Here is a maritime fantasy set in a blustery region much colder than the tropical Caribbean. No, this is grim-up-north fiction – and I wasn’t surprised one bit to find the author is from Yorkshire.

The Tide Child series is a uniquely fascinating one, set in a dark, matriarchal world, dense with rotting pink and purple plants, where the “corpselights” of sacrificed children hang from ships built from the bones of sea dragons, where slavery is rife, and the faces of crews are scoured by wind and freezing brine.
Don’t expect a great deal of joy in these books. But they are nonetheless adventurous, fantastical, and exciting. I just wish they’d get a bit warmer... brrrrr.

By RJ Barker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bone Ships as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Excellent. One of the most interesting and original fantasy worlds I've seen in years." —Adrian Tchaikovsky, Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning author

A brilliantly imagined saga of honor, glory, and warfare, The Bone Ships is the epic launch of a new series from British Fantasy Award winner, RJ Barker.

*British Fantasy Award for Best Fantasy Novel, winner

Two nations at war. One prize beyond compare. 

For generations, the Hundred Isles have built their ships from the bones of ancient dragons to fight an endless war. The dragons disappeared, but the battles for supremacy persisted.

Now, the first dragon in centuries has…

The Inquisitor's Tale

By Adam Gidwitz, Hatem Aly (illustrator),

Book cover of The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog

Nancy McConnell Author Of Into the Lion's Mouth

From the list on kids who love a medieval quest.

Who am I?

Before I could start writing Into the Lion’s Mouth, I spent a lot of time researching the medieval and renaissance Venice. I was astounded to see how relevant that history is to today. Not only are there many parallels that can be drawn between the past and today there is so much to learn about the consistency of human nature. I find myself currently gravitating towards books that mix history and fiction and these are some of my favorites.

Nancy's book list on kids who love a medieval quest

Why did Nancy love this book?

A warm inn, and a stranger’s tale gather together a group of travelers as they become fascinated by the story of three gifted children that is sweeping the land. I loved the way this book brought the story of the people in the inn and the marvelous children together step by step. Peppered with real historical figures and legends this book is a must-read for the middle-grade medieval enthusiast. 

By Adam Gidwitz, Hatem Aly (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Inquisitor's Tale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Newbery Honor Book
Winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award

An exciting and hilarious medieval adventure from the bestselling author of A Tale Dark and Grimm. Beautifully illustrated throughout by Hatem Aly!

A New York Times Bestseller A New York Times Editor's Choice A New York Times Notable Children's Book A People Magazine Kid Pick A Washington Post Best Children's Book A Wall Street Journal Best Children's Book An Entertainment Weekly Best Middle Grade Book A Booklist Best Book A Horn Book Fanfare Best Book A Kirkus Reviews Best Book A Publishers Weekly Best Book A School Library Journal…

The Hundredth Queen

By Emily R. King,

Book cover of The Hundredth Queen

Sally Altass Author Of The Witch Laws: Book One of The Moon Magic Chronicles

From the list on fantasy sweeping you into a beautiful, scary world.

Who am I?

When I read, I’m not just seeing the words on a page; I’m escaping into the world crafted by the author. Since I was a child, I’ve always been a lover of fantasy – it was an escape for me to slip between the pages and be a part of the world inside them. Especially if they were beautiful and filled with hidden danger. I wanted to have my heart pound out of my chest, to have the thrill of magic, wonder, and fear. Now, I try to write those types of worlds; because of the books which inspired me. I only hope you love them as much as I do. 

Sally's book list on fantasy sweeping you into a beautiful, scary world

Why did Sally love this book?

Kali, is an orphan, living with the Sister Warriors in their mountain temple. She wants nothing more than a simple life of prayer and seclusion with her best friend. 

That changes when the Rajah of the Tarachand Empire chooses her to become his 100th rani. She soon discovers her true ancestry and that her destiny is that of anything beyond what she could have imagined. 

I fell in love with the rich descriptions and beautiful imagery that Kali (through King) describes to us. And the danger which dogged her every step; whether in the court of the rajah and his rani’s or when she learns the truth behind her childhood fevers.  

By Emily R. King,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hundredth Queen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Emily R. King's thrilling fantasy debut, an orphan girl blossoms into a warrior, summoning courage and confidence in her fearless quest to upend tradition, overthrow an empire, and reclaim her life as her own.

As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood in the ancient Tarachand Empire, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she's an unlikely candidate for even a servant's position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood's mountain temple.

But a visit from the tyrant Rajah…

The Land of Roar

By Jenny McLachlan, Ben Mantle (illustrator),

Book cover of The Land of Roar

Tamsin Winter Author Of Girl (in Real Life)

From the list on strong female protagonists.

Who am I?

Whatever story I’m telling, I try to write female characters who are smart, funny, kind, and ultimately empowering; characters that drive the narrative, not the other way around. It is really important for me that my female characters have agency – that they actively move the story forward, make decisions and step up. Those are the kind of stories I like to read too. The books on this list are some of my favourites and all contain strong female protagonists. I hope you enjoy.

Tamsin's book list on strong female protagonists

Why did Tamsin love this book?

As someone who has always had a somewhat overactive imagination, as soon as I heard the premise of this book – a land created by twins Rose and Arthur that comes to life – I was hooked. The Land of Roar is filled with incredible things – dragons, mermaids, ninja wizards! But it is also filled with their childhood fears, personified by the truly terrifying Crowky. This is a heart-in-your-mouth series with a celebration of childhood adventure at its heart. 

By Jenny McLachlan, Ben Mantle (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Land of Roar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first in a new children's fantasy adventure series, full of imagination, humour and heart, and with echoes of Peter Pan, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Neverending Story and Jumanji.

The Land of Roar is perfect for children aged 8 to 12, and can sit on their bookshelf next to Nevermoor, Wizards of Once and How to Train Your Dragon. Readers can bring their fantasy world to life and meet dragons, unicorns, mermaids and more in this beautifully illustrated children's book.

Believing is just the beginning ...

When Arthur and Rose were little, they were heroes in the Land of…

The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi

By Shannon Chakraborty,

Book cover of The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi

Catherine Lundoff Author Of Silver Moon: A Wolves of Wolf's Point Novel

From the list on fantasy tales about women over 40.

Who am I?

I started writing a series about menopausal werewolves eleven years ago, right before my fiftieth birthday. I wanted to see more women like me in science fiction and fantasy: middle-aged and older women who had led full lives but were still up for more adventure, new worlds, eager to see what came next. I also started a bibliography project on older women protagonists in speculative fiction and began proposing and speaking on convention programming about older women in the genre. We’ve had a lot of great discussions and agree that the needle is slowly moving toward more and better representation. I’m thrilled to be a part of that.

Catherine's book list on fantasy tales about women over 40

Why did Catherine love this book?

How can I not wrap up this list with my latest discovery, namely a novel about a devout Muslim female pirate who successfully retires, raises a family…and gets pulled back into her former life for one last adventure?

It’s got a swashbuckling middle-aged heroine, adventure, a fantasy heist, a chosen family, and splendid worldbuilding so really, what more could I ask for from a book that I didn’t write? I should note that unlike the other books I’ve included, this one is the first book in a trilogy, so if you like it, there’s more ahead!

By Shannon Chakraborty,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A thrilling, transportative adventure that is everything promised–Chakraborty's storytelling is fantasy at its best." -- R.F. Kuang, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Babel and The Poppy War

"An exhilarating, propulsive adventure, stitched from the threads of real history, Amina’s adventures are the reason to read fantasy." -- Ava Reid, internationally bestselling author of Juniper & Thorn

Shannon Chakraborty, the bestselling author of The City of Brass, spins a new trilogy of magic and mayhem on the high seas in this tale of pirates and sorcerers, forbidden artifacts and ancient mysteries, in one woman’s determined quest to seize a…

Story Thieves

By James Riley,

Book cover of Story Thieves

Simon Ilincev Author Of The Fictional War

From the list on teen fantasy that mash up old and new.

Who am I?

With nearly a thousand novels under my belt (or time-worn Kindle, more accurately), I was itching to make my own mark in the world of literature as I entered my teenage years. Having all but one of the books I read be, puzzlingly, written by those definitively into their adulthood only strengthened that desire. Over 850 pages of my own story, drawing from all that I’d read and heard, finally satisfied it three years later — and placed me in a position to share with other readers my age, one teen to another, those tales that most influenced and inspired me.

Simon's book list on teen fantasy that mash up old and new

Why did Simon love this book?

Most novels, fantasy or otherwise, use portals to travel between worlds—but why stop there? Story Thieves certainly doesn’t! It takes the whole concept of fictional worlds and brings it one step further—characters can physically step in and out of books, and even influence their contents.

Sounds interesting? I certainly found it to be, and read through each novel in this series within days of its release, not to mention several times later throughout the years. Should you be looking for a bit of fresh air in your library, this is certainly one choice worth considering.

By James Riley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Story Thieves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A hilarious, action-packed series launches with a story-within-a-story, from the bestselling author of the Half Upon a Time trilogy.

Life is boring when you live in the real world, instead of starring in your own book series. Owen knows that better than anyone, what with the real world’s homework and chores.

But everything changes the day Owen sees the impossible happen—his classmate Bethany climb out of a book in the library. It turns out Bethany’s half-fictional and has been searching every book she can find for her missing father, a fictional character.

Bethany can’t let anyone else learn her secret,…

Book cover of The Banished of Muirwood

C.E. Marshall Author Of Quadseers: Preposterous Journey

From the list on having your heart racing.

Who am I?

Books have been with me all my life as my father was a librarian and fed me books from an early age; I cannot remember being taught to read, I just could. Adventure and detective were my favourites. Then I found my local library and the horizons expanded; when I worked in a library there was the joy of being able to ‘stop’ a book I wanted to read but couldn't find. I graduated as a Biochemist and then got into computer programming. I completed my first novel in 1980 but put it away for thirty years before rewriting and publishing it. I got the writing bug and four more books followed as a series.

C.E.'s book list on having your heart racing

Why did C.E. love this book?

More magic and another enchanting new world to explore. Again I found I could dissolve into the story and be there with the characters. You are taken on adventures through this strange land where magic creeps from every stone. Start with a young girl who must face trials, partake in battles and defeat those who would enslave her people. She inherits the Kystrel a magical pendant with which she can both give and take. The first of three books which I could not put down.

By Jeff Wheeler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Banished of Muirwood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a world full of magic and mystery, eighteen-year-old Maia is the exiled princess of Comoros and rightful heir to the throne. Forced to live as a servant in her enemy's home, Maia flees her captors and begins a perilous quest to save her people. To survive, she must use magic she has learned in secret-despite the fact that women are forbidden to control it. Hunted by enemies at every turn, Maia realizes that danger lurks within her, too. Her powers threaten to steal not only her consciousness but also her sense of right and wrong. Can she set herself…

Taran Wanderer

By Lloyd Alexander,

Book cover of Taran Wanderer

Jonathon Mast Author Of Stones and Swords

From the list on fantasy adventure for middle grade readers.

Who am I?

I loved cartoons growing up. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Thundercats? Gargoyles? All favorites. But so many of the cartoons never changed anything. There were never any real stakes. (Except for Gargoyles. I fell in love with that show because of its continuity!) I hungered for books where things mattered, where the main characters did things that changed from book to book. Give me adventures that change the world! Well, I found some of those books. Here are stories where the main characters are kids. And now I get to enjoy these same stories with my kids! 

Jonathon's book list on fantasy adventure for middle grade readers

Why did Jonathon love this book?

If you’ve wandered through kid’s fantasy for long, you’ve probably encountered The Black Cauldron. It’s a great book and well worth your time! That said, my favorite of the entire series is book four, Taran Wanderer. The other books in the series tell epic tales with huge stakes. This one, though, is all about Taran trying to figure out who he is and if he’s worth anything. He sets out on a quest, and his answer at the end shook me when I read it in… sixth grade? I might have been younger yet! I highly, highly recommend this book to kids trying to find themselves!

By Lloyd Alexander,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Taran Wanderer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Taran the assistant Pig-Keeper has led heroic adventures and is a friend of princes, yet he is still troubled by his lowly status, and determined to discover the secret of his true identity.

He sets out to consult the powerful witches of Morva and the mysterious Mirror of Llunet. On his quest to find the truth, Taran must journey through distant realms and undertake a series of challenging tasks. But his greatest struggle is against his own pride and fears, as he learns where true greatness lies.

Taran Wanderer is the fourth book in Lloyd Alexander's classic fantasy epic The…