Fantasy has been a well-loved genre since its creation. Aside from the mythological epics that kickstarted literary work, fantasy came into its own in the 19th century, as authors began toying with the idea of reality.
Since then, fantasy has stretched across realms, time periods, and kingdoms, incorporating a variety of supernatural creatures, fantastical concepts, and quests.
Adventure books have been around for a similar length of time and while typically grounded in reality, often include unrealistic journeys across the globe, in search of treasure or in an attempt to solve mysteries.
Adventure books are typically fast-paced and include a well-developed character, or group of characters, that endure dangerous or life-changing scenarios.
So, as you can imagine, books that incorporate a combination of these two genres have gone down a treat and continue to be popular among a wide variety of readers.
The Ranger’s Apprentice is one of these novel series and follows an orphan called Will, who is chosen to become a ranger’s apprentice, the cloaked, terrifying men who roam in the shadows (the series includes a spinoff known as The Brotherband Chronicals. Find out more here). It is the story of Will’s growth, as he develops from a boy into a man and trained into one of the men he once feared.
This series was written by John Flanagan and has attracted a mixture of readers. It has been adored by YA audiences but has also caught the attention of adult fantasy lovers.
Therefore, this list will reflect that, incorporating recommendations tailored to YA readers and books with more complex and adult themes, targeted at older audiences.
Without further ado, here are 20 books similar to The Ranger’s Apprentice.
Brotherband by John Flanagan
If you enjoyed The Ranger’s Apprentice, you’ll certainly enjoy this series by the same author. Set in the same realm, Flanagan creates new, lovable characters that explore different adventures.
Brotherband follows a group of outcasts, predominantly centering around Hal and Stig, who, unlike the rest of the Skandian population, are small and weak. But just like everyone else, they are obliged to take part in the sea battles that will determine their future.
Septimus Heap by Angie Sage
The seventh son of the seventh son is destined for greatness. Septimus Heap is exactly that and was born with insanely strong magical powers. He becomes the apprentice to the ExtraOrdinary Wizard, living in a strange world with complex regulations.
Septimus Heap incorporates fantasy, adventure, romance, and familial relationships to create one of the best and most varied fantastical stories ever written.
The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander
Inspired by Welsh folklore and landscape, this series is set in the kingdom of Prydain and follows Princess Eilonwy on her journey to become a princess and Taran, as he strives to become a hero.
These books were originally tailored to child and YA audiences but have been enjoyed by a range of different readers across all ages.
The Chronicles of Prydain are classic fantastical hero narratives that encompass development, quests, danger, and battles – everything a fantasy lover would look for.
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
The story follows a young hobbit called Frodo, who discovered that his uncle’s ring is the most powerful object in the world. It holds dark magic, magic that affects Frodo’s well-being and, if handled by the wrong person, can destroy the entire realm.
Medallion by Dawn L. Watkins
This fantasy adventure story is a developmental story, honing in on a prince that must learn the value of his status by first living as a servant.
Medallion follows Prince Trave, who endures everything from emotive betrayal to dangerous conflict and must prove himself loyal and worthy before he can assume his duties as King. It is a novel packed with moral teachings and is a great choice if you’re looking for a character-driven fantasy adventure.
Alex Rider by Anthony Horowitz
One of the best-selling and gripping modern fantasy classics, Alex Rider has taken the literary and movie world by storm.
Again focusing on the development of an orphan after the death of his uncle, Alex Rider tells the story of Alex, a young kid who must uncover his family’s past and continue the legacy himself.
Although this book is not fantastical like the others, its premise is unrealistic, as it follows Alex working in the British intelligence agency at a young age. It is action-packed and gripping, perfect for any adventure lover who’s a little more skeptical about the fantasy elements.
Outriders by Jay Posey
After the unexpected death of his superior, Lincoln is thrown into a new unit, an intelligence group known as the Outriders.
Outriders slots into the ‘military sci-fi’ subgenre, which incorporates aspects of both fantasy and adventure.
The story is one of danger, space missions, and pressure, as Lincoln is forced to take on huge responsibilities that have the ability to change the course of the future.
Time Salvager by Wesley Chu
This is a fantasy adventure that flirts with the dystopian genre, set on Earth after humans have fled. The remains of the planet are destroyed and toxic but the one possible solution lies in time travel.
James is selected to carry out missions into the Earth’s past to find resources and goods and bring them back to the future. But when he meets Elise Kim who’s shortly destined for death, he defies all rules and brings her back to the future.
Time Salvager is a clever story that intertwines sci-fi, fantasy, dystopia, and realism.
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
This is one of the best YA fantasy series out there, well deserving of the hype. Artemis Fowl is 12 years old and is known as a genius, the best criminal mastermind the world has ever seen.
After discovering a new land filled with dangerous, developed, and armed fairies, he decides to kidnap one, Holly Short, and bring her back to his world.
The Artemis Fowl stories tell of the relationship between these two, the dangers attached to greed, and the blurred line between good and bad.
Redwall by Brian Jacques
This story was first published in 1987 and has remained a fantasy classic ever since. It encapsulates everything you could possibly want from a fantasy adventure novel – danger, love, villains, heroes, quests, mystery, and comedy.
Redwall follows Matthias, the hero of the story, who also happens to be a mouse. He embarks on a dangerous adventure to defeat Cluny the Scourge, a vicious rat, the villain of this story.
The Great and Terrible Quest by Margaret Lovett
This tale is multidimensional in genre, encompassing facets of historical fiction, fantasy, mystery, adventure, comedy, and thrill.
The Great and Terrible Quest is set during the Middle Ages and follows an abused orphan who gives up his terrible life to help a knight on his quest. This knight is wounded and suffering, and most importantly, can’t remember what his quest is. Witty, enthralling, and dangerous, this one is a must-read.
The Cry of the Icemark by Stuart Hill
The Cry of the Icemark concentrates on the story of Thirrin Freer, a brilliant, strong, and powerful princess who assumes the position of warrior princess within her realm, Icemark.
This is the story of perseverance, dedication, and survival, as Thirrin battles dangerous mythological creatures, fights enemies and tries to save her kingdom from falling into the wrong hands.
Abhorsen by Garth Nix
This is a 6-book series centering around the Old Kingdom, which toys with the gap between living and dead.
Using ancient myth, legend, and evils, Abhorsen tells the wonderful and suspenseful story of Abhorsen and Sabriel, who must battle against magic and creatures to save themselves and the realm.
The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
Jack lives an ordinary life in Ohio, no different from the other boys there except he has to take medication every day.
One day, Jack skips his medication by accident and feels stronger, more powerful, and faster. He learns that he is a Weirlind, a magical society that lives underground.
He learns about the rival Rose houses, Red and White, that feud through The Game, a contest in which two warriors are chosen to fight to the death.
When Jack learns that he is one of the last warriors and must hide his power and magical ability in order to avoid being chosen by either house.
The Warrior Heir is the first of 5 books in the Heir Chronicles and is as adventurous, fantastical, and dangerous as it sounds.
The Vagrant by Peter Newman
He walks alone through a war-torn, fantastical landscape in a world spiraling into turmoil, corruption, and inevitable decay. He is called The Vagrant, has no other name, and is tasked with retrieving the only weapon that can save the realm. But he can only find it in the Shining City and the journey is treacherous and filled with danger.
The Vagrant is the story of adventure, danger, isolation, and depravity, ideal for any lover of dark fantasy.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
This one is arguably more suitable for younger readers but is a classic nonetheless. The Chronicles of Narnia is the beautiful story of 4 evacuee children who find a magical land in the back of a wardrobe in their temporary home.
Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy all spend years of their life in Narnia, trying to defeat the white witch and make sense of the new world they will one day rule. Brilliant for readers of all ages and although it incorporates danger, battle, and even death, these stories are far more uplifting than they are dark.
Deltora Quest by Emily Rodda
This 8-book series follows the Shadow Lord, who aims to take over Deltora and take its population for himself.
The magic Belt of Deltora, made up of 7 powerful gems, is all that is in his way, so two unlikely heroes take it upon themselves to stop him. But dangers creep up at every corner and the journey will be much more perilous than they thought.
Deltora Quest is a fantastic fantastical adventure series guaranteed to keep you turning pages quickly.
Beyonders by Brandon Mull
Jason and Rachel find themselves in a whole new world called Lyrian. Unaware and completely out of their depths, the two set out on a quest to defeat Maldor, the oppressive leader of Lyrion.
Beyonders incorporates ancient myth and legend in this almighty quest to defeat evil.
The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
A 7-book series targeted at YA readers, The Unwanteds is set in a brutal, dystopian school called Quill, in which the strong students are sent to university and the artistic ones, known as Unwanteds are killed.
The Unwanteds follows naturally artistic Alex, as he comes up to the end of his time at Quill but he is not ready for the inevitable decision that will send him to his death and instead must transform himself to survive.
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
This is the series that quite literally took over the world. Ever since the release of the first few books and the film adaptations started coming out, the world was captivated by the magical school and Harry’s adventures.
J.K. Rowling is now known as one of the best fantasy writers of all time and the Harry Potter franchise, made up of 7 books and 8 films, remains a common favorite for readers and viewers of all ages.
Like The Ranger’s Apprentice, Harry Potter centers around an orphan who is thrown into a whole new world filled with mysterious creatures, spells, and magical concepts. The stories follow his growth in the classic bildungsroman style and follow his friendships, relationships, and adventures as he uncovers more about his family’s past and the magical world that he is now a key part of.
Hopefully, this list has given you some inspiration, whether you’re a YA or an adult reader. Any of these 20 books have the ability to immerse you in new worlds and take you on dangerous and exciting adventures, all you need to do is pick the right one for you!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a fantasy adventure book?
Any story that takes the reader on an adventure, whether that’s geographical or personal, and is typically set in a fantasy world, incorporating fantastical creatures and characters.
What is the most popular fantasy adventure book?
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter is the best-selling series within this genre.
What age range is The Ranger’s Apprentice for?
This series can be read by anyone over the age of 10. It is written simply, so it’s easy to understand and the topics covered are suitable for anyone over this age.
Has The Ranger’s Apprentice been made into a film?
Since 2016, there has been much skepticism about whether or not to adapt this brilliant story for on-screen audiences. It has not yet been adapted but is rumored to be in production.
How many books has John Flanagan written?
He has written 31 in total, which includes books in both his The Ranger’s Apprentice series and his Brotherband series.
What are the most popular fantasy adventure books of all time?
1. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (1954–55)
2. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (1937)
3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling (1997)
4. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (1990–2013)
5. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis (1950–56)
6. The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks (1977)
7. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin (1996–present)
8. The Dark Tower by Stephen King (1982–2012)
9. The Belgariad by David Eddings (1982–84)
10. The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny (1970–1991)
11. The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin (1968–2001)
12. The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss (2007–present)
13. The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey (1967–2012)
14. The Shannara Series by Terry Brooks (1977–present)
15. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman (1995–2000)
16. The Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson (2006–present)
17. The Sword of Truth Series by Terry Goodkind (1994–2007)
18. The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson (2010–present)
19. The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan (2006–2010)
20. The Dark Elf Trilogy by R. A. Salvatore (1990–1991)