15 books like ‘Percy Jackson’ packed with epic adventure

15 books like ‘Percy Jackson’ packed with epic adventure

In Reading Lists by Lanie Pemberton

15 books like ‘Percy Jackson’ packed with epic adventure

Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series has a special place in the hearts of young readers (and readers young at heart). The imaginative world-building rooted in Greek mythology is only the half of it: We love these books for their exciting adventures, themes of bravery and friendship, and Percy himself — a bighearted, unlikely hero who’s trying to figure out who he is while saving the world.

The good news is, the series is ongoing. The seventh installment, Wrath of the Triple Goddess, is expected in late 2024. Of course, that means we need something to read in the meantime — but I’ve got you covered with this list of books similar to Percy Jackson.

Some include ancient mythology, while others feature young heroes and heroines fighting for what’s right. I’ve included the first books in many series along with standalone quests. As for where to start, Zeus and the Thunderbolt of Doom is the best novel like Percy Jackson, but all of these middle grades and YA titles share similarities with Riordan’s beloved series.

1. The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan

Like Percy, Amy and Dan start out thinking they’re just your average kids, until they learn they’re part of a very powerful family — and have great enemies because of their heritage. After their grandmother dies, Amy and Dan have a choice: Take a million dollar inheritance, or follow a set of clues to find the truth about their family secret.

Let the rollicking, global scavenger hunt begin! Riordan wrote this first installment of The 39 Clues multi-author series, so it’s sure to fill the Percy Jackson-shaped hole in your heart.

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2. The Serpent's Secret by Sayantani DasGupta

Inspired by Bengali folktales, DasGupta’s extraordinary Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond series features one of the coolest and funniest sixth graders around (who doubles as a demon slayer; no big deal). 

Kiranmala’s seemingly ordinary life suddenly implodes when her parents are kidnapped and she’s attacked by a monstrous demon. But that’s only the start of her adventures as she journeys into The Kingdom Beyond the Seven Oceans and Thirteen Rivers to rescue her parents — and the world at large.

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3. Zeus and the Thunderbolt of Doom by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams

If you’re ready to binge a series like Percy Jackson, Heroes in Training checks all the boxes. Authors Holub and Williams deliver a fun and fresh retelling of the War of the Titans from Greek mythology, fought between the old gods, the Titans, and the new gods, the Olympians.

Long before he’s to become the King of the Gods, Zeus is just a 10-year-old boy aching for some excitement. Well, Zeus gets his wish — and then some — when he discovers a Titan is kidnapping and eating every young Olympian he can find. It’s up to Zeus to rescue his fellow Olympians and usurp the Titans as the rightful leaders of their world.


4. Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston

Alston’s sharp and thrilling debut introduces readers to Amari, a precocious young misfit who’s never really fit in — until now. 

Thrust into a hidden world of magic and enchantment, Amari attends summer camp at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, an agency tasked with protecting magical creatures. As she battles prejudice and racism, Amari’s #BlackGirlMagic (literally) comes out in full force to defend her new world against an evil magician. 


5. The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

Percy Jackson meets Divergent in a magical mashup of dystopian fiction and high fantasy. This first book in the Unwanteds series is whimsical and creative, despite its depiction of a land where creativity means certain death. 

Thirteen-year-old residents of Quill are regularly segregated into three groups — Wanted (those who get to go on for more schooling), Necessary (those who till the land), and Unwanted (those who are executed). Alex Stowe is deemed Unwanted and sent off to the Death Farm, but instead finds himself in the hidden world of Artimè, where he can hone his creativity and magic.


6. The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

The premise of this middle grade series is immediately compelling: Two children are taken to the titular school each year, and are taught to be either good or evil. But when Sophie and Agatha attend, they’re not assigned the expected classes, calling into question who they really are and the true nature of good and evil. 

Stream the live-action Netflix Original movie adaptation after binging the book series.


7. Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

Perfect for middle grade readers and beyond, the Keeper of the Lost Cities series is rife with lovable troublemakers, boarding school drama, and lethal baddies. 

Twelve-year-old Sophie is prodigious in more ways than one: She has a photographic memory, a profound sense of empathy, and the ability to read minds. After she discovers she’s actually an Elf, she’s whisked away to a secret magical world to attend Foxfire Academy, a prestigious school for elves-in-training. 


8. The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao

Once an outcast in the Jade Society, Faryn Liu’s life takes a dramatic turn when she battles — and defeats — a demon. Suddenly, she’s in the running to fulfill a prophecy and become the Heaven Breaker, an unmatched warrior destined to serve the Jade Emperor. But first, Faryn must embark on a challenging quest to find Peng Lai Island, no matter how many demons and monsters stand in her way. 

Zhao’s middle-grade fantasy highlights Chinese mythology and culture, particularly the challenges faced by immigrant families.

Faryn’s adventures and achievements continue in The Fallen Hero.


Onyeka’s hair has always been untamable — big, curly, and with a mind of its own. It’s also the source of incredible power, something Onyeka only realizes after her best friend nearly drowns and her hair saves the day.

You see, Onyeka isn’t just an average British Nigerian girl. She’s actually a Solari, a wielder of superpowers. Her true destiny begins at the Academy of the Sun in Nigeria, where she’ll learn to control her hair’s psychokinetic abilities, defeat foes, and solve a family mystery along the way.

This afrofuturistic story (and its sequel, Onyeka and the Rise of the Rebels) is a heart-pounding adventure and a beautiful journey toward self-discovery and Black joy. 


10. The Vengekeep Prophecies by Brian Farrey

Farrey’s young hero in The Vengekeep Prophecies trilogy doesn’t have magic, superpowers, or an incredible family heritage to harness, but he does have heart and bravery. And that, in my opinion, makes him even more extraordinary. 

The Grimjinx family is skilled at thievery, cons, and forgery — except for Jaxter Grimjinx, whose clumsiness in lock-picking makes him a black sheep. But when one of Ma’s cons brings a series of plagues upon Vengekeep, it’s up to Jaxter to set things right and protect the village from destruction. 


11. Healer of the Water Monster by Brian Young

While spending what was supposed to be a quiet, rather boring summer on the Navajo reservation with his grandmother, Nathan finds a helpless Water Monster, a Holy Being adults can’t see. As it turns out, saving the Water Monster may also save Nathan’s uncle Jet from his own painful struggles. 

Navajo folklore and culture elevate this story of healing, family, and loyalty. Healer of the Water Monster won the American Indian Youth Literature Award for Best Middle Grade Book in 2022.


12. Titans by Kate O'Hearn

When a human boy named Jake mysteriously finds himself on Titus, a world filled with Titan and Olympian gods, it’s clear trouble is afoot. Astraea, a Titan, is determined to protect Jake. But helping him find his way home uncovers a larger scheme to topple Titus and wreak havoc on human and godly worlds alike.

O’Hearn’s Titans series, a standalone spinoff off her earlier Pegasus series, pits gods against one another — and collectively against humans — as a young heroine and her beloved winged horse race against time to save them all.


13. The Colossus Rises by Peter Lerangis

The Colossus Rises, the first book in Lerangis’ Seven Wonders series, is action-packed from page one as we follow Jack McKinley on a hunt to collect powerful caches hidden among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Jack is only 13, but a genetic condition means he’s facing death. Thankfully, Jack’s also a descendent of the Lost City of Atlantis. If he can reclaim the magic of Atlantis — dispersed through the Seven Wonders — Jack won’t just survive, he’ll have superpowers beyond all imagination.


14. Children of Ragnarok by Cinda Williams Chima

Three teens find their fates colliding and coalescing in this Norse mythology-inspired adventure — the first in the forthcoming Runestone Saga series.

After killing their stepfather (who, to be fair, was going to kill them first), siblings Eiric and Liv Halvorsen face terrible consequences. Their only chance for redemption requires them to undertake a dangerous search for the ancient, magic-filled Temple at the Grove. Meanwhile, Reginn Eiklund is a musician and healer enslaved by a fire demon — until she takes refuge at the Temple.

Chima builds an intricate and nuanced world that, while perhaps too complex for middle grade readers, is perfect for any Percy Jackson readers looking to step up to YA fantasy.

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15. Set Fire to the Gods by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons

In another YA book, warring gods settle disputes by pitting mortals against one another in gladiator-style battles.

After her gladiator mother is killed, Ash has a personal vendetta against the fire god Ignitus — and she intends to end his destructive rule once and for all. To succeed, she enlists the help of another gladiator, Madoc, who has his own reasons for battling in the arena (not to mention secret powers that jeopardize their entire plan). 

This Greco Roman-inspired duology concludes with Rise Up from the Embers.


About the Author: Lanie Pemberton

Lanie is a San Diego-based freelance writer who loves reading crime thrillers and nonfiction about animals and the natural world. When not writing and reading (or writing about what to read), Lanie spends as much time as possible at the beach with her husband and pampered pittie, Peach.