My Most Ambitious Books List I.e. Books About Ambition

Hope I’m not overreaching myself with this one 😉 Title’s pretty self-explanatory- let’s take off and fly into the sun. 

Dr Faustus– yes let’s start with the guy who sold his soul to the devil (seems like a very good place to start… or not 😉).

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue– on the subject of selling souls, Addie Larue comes to mind. This book is so intricate, it makes me think of many different themes, yet at the centre of them all is a girl brimming with ambition. Too bad about that deal though.

Vicious– okay, yes, I’m including two Schwab books on this list- but I can’t help it! No one does books about hubris quite like her! And yet, this is so very different to Addie Larue… because these buckos aren’t always quite as sympathetic (and yet I love them!!)  

Cruel Prince– thinking of more characters with an edge, Jude comes to mind. Her ambition is perhaps a little less vicious, yet still has a bit of a bite.

Red Rising– taking off in a different direction, let’s head into space… where we get a rather ambitious tale of Roman-themed warriors fighting it out Hunger Games style.

School for Good and Evil– okay this is a bit less gory than the last one, don’t be fooled by the title 😉 This MG follows two girls, whisked off to a fairy tale school to be good or evil. And while one of them always dreams of going to this school to be good… the catch is she’s there to be evil. A very fun concept, enjoyably executed.  

Jude the Obscure– someone else desperate for an education was Jude… fair warning, this book is by Thomas Hardy, so it doesn’t quite work out (okay, I feel like I should say a bit more IE WARNING WARNING THINGS GO BADLY WRONG HERE!!)

Macbeth– on the topic of things going badly, Shakespeare’s ambitious Scottish play drops a few unsubtle hints about *why it’s a bad idea to kill a king you have over to stay*. It could get you into a spot of bother 😉

Game of Thrones– oh gosh this is jam-packed with characters trying to kill kings/bastards/boys/anyone with a head still on their shoulders… Suffice to say, if you’re looking for an ruthless read, this fits the bill (oh and given each book is a tome and there’s five out so far, getting into this series is a bit of an undertaking!)

Circe- but if you need something moreambitious, then definitely pick up this *outstanding* retelling. Staying true to the age-old myths and yet putting a new spin on them is quite an achievement in and of itself. However, even more impressive is how it handles the topic of hubris. I won’t spoil anything, except to say this surpassed my every expectation.

Daisy Jones and the Six- back to the real world and a very different kind of kickass female lead, this vibey book beats to its own drum, recording the exploits of a fictional rock band. What’s great about this one is how it explores meeting creative goals!

The Great Gatsby– finally, if you’re needing something *even more* glamorous, then here’s something that sparkles. Full of unfulfilled desires, this book achieves gorgeous prose and captures the exquisite pain of failure. It is a masterpiece.

And that’s all for now! Do you agree or disagree with any of the books on this list? Are there any books you would add? Let me know in the comments!

12 thoughts on “My Most Ambitious Books List I.e. Books About Ambition

  1. Great picks! I always get super pumped when I see the Red Rising saga mentioned anywhere, but when I look at my shelf, I can’t bring myself to pick up Dark Age haha it’s so intimidating!!!
    I’m not quite sure what I would add. Maybe Admission by Julie Buxbaum, which was a YA contemporary take on the US admission scandal from a few years back. Risking jail time to get your kid into the right college is ambitious, right?

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  2. Dr. Faustus…. whew, you certainly started off with a bang; I can’t think of a more fitting book! I keep meaning to read The Cruel Prince, but tbh I haven’t read Holly Black’s newer works after Spiderwick Chronicles + Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside, which I picked up all as an adolescent and still have on my shelves. I’m slightly scared to dive into Black’s newer stuff — she’s changed as a writer (maybe), I’ve changed as a reader (definitely), and perhaps we won’t be a good fit anymore. Gah! I’m rambling! Circe is also on my TBR, but I’ve never associated what I’ve read of the synopsis with ambition… now I’m *really* intrigued!

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  3. I love that you included Daisy Jones and The Six on here. Have you heard about The Songbook of Benny Lament by Amy Harmon yet? It gave me some similar vibes and if you liked Daisy Jones and The Six, I think you would like it. It comes out next week.

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  4. Oh Doctor Faustus. I remember studying that one in high school and it was not what I needed at 9am on a Monday haha. The theatre production we saw on it was pretty impressive though haha.

    Red Rising is as ambitious as it is intimidating. I’ve still not finished the series purely because I know how brutal it’ll be haha.

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  5. I know I can always count on you to have some quality classics on your fab book lists!! I need to read the ones you mentioned, for sure. Back in December, I finally read The Cruel Prince after it had sat on my tbr for YEARS, and it was a delight–I definitely think Jude has that kick & is worthy of this list!

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