10 Best Jules Verne Books [Ranked]

Jules Verne.

Dude was like a fortune teller for cool inventions!

Air balloons, submarines, all that stuff?

Verne wrote about it before it was even a thing. Plus, he invented science fiction as we know it today!

On top of that, his books are wild adventures with unforgettable characters.

Forget boring stories, Verne throws you into exotic islands, creepy caves, and mysterious oceans. Basically, you’ll be exploring the world from your armchair while you read.

But with so many options, sometimes choosing the best ones can be a hassle.

Well, not with us I guess as this list contains a ranked order of 10 of the best works of Jules Verne.

Let’s check it out.

10 Best Jules Verne Books [Ranked]

1. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870)

In the year 1866, reports of a monstrous sea creature begin to circulate.  Professor Pierre Aronnax, a prominent marine biologist, joins an expedition meant to capture the beast. 

The ship is attacked, and Aronnax, his loyal servant Conseil, and skilled harpooner Ned Land end up aboard a technologically astounding submarine –  the Nautilus. It belongs to the brilliant and enigmatic Captain Nemo, a man consumed by a desire for freedom and a secret past.  

With Nemo, they embark on a remarkable journey around the world, witnessing the wonders and dangers of the underwater realm.

Themes Explored:

  • The power of technology and its potential duality (creation and destruction)
  • Confronting the unknown and the allure of exploration
  • The conflict between personal freedom and societal constraints
  • Revenge, isolation, and the complexities of the human psyche

Why It’s On The List?

Verne’s foresight in imagining the submarine, along with descriptions of exotic marine life, captivated readers. Captain Nemo remains a complex and enduring figure. The novel blends grand adventure with thought-provoking philosophical questions.

2. Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864)

Professor Otto Lidenbrock discovers a cryptic message describing a passage to the Earth’s core. 

Driven by his relentless scientific curiosity, he embarks on an expedition with his reluctant nephew, Axel, and their steadfast Icelandic guide, Hans. They descend through a volcano in Iceland and delve into a fantastical underground world. 

As they venture deeper, they encounter extraordinary prehistoric creatures, hidden seas, and geological wonders.

Themes Explored:

  • The thirst for knowledge and the limits of science
  • Facing the unknown and the awe-inspiring power of nature
  • Human perseverance against overwhelming odds
  • The concept of deep time (the vastness of the Earth’s history)

Why It’s On The List?

Verne’s depiction of a hidden world teeming with strange flora and fauna ignited imaginations and sparked wonder about the Earth’s interior.  The novel celebrates scientific exploration and the relentless human spirit in the face of adversity.

3. Around the World in Eighty Days (1873)

The imperturbable Phileas Fogg, a wealthy English gentleman known for his punctuality and precision, accepts a wager that he can circumnavigate the globe in only 80 days. 

Accompanied by his resourceful French valet, Passepartout, Fogg embarks on a whirlwind journey that takes him across continents and oceans.  They utilize various modes of transport including trains, steamships, and even an elephant! Along the way, they encounter unexpected delays, cultural misunderstandings, and the relentless pursuit of Detective Fix, who believes Fogg is a bank robber.  

With their deadline constantly looming, Fogg and Passepartout race against time in a thrilling test of resourcefulness and determination.

Themes Explored:

  • The power of determination and the importance of punctuality
  • The impact of industrialization and new transportation technologies
  • Exploring cultural differences and the interconnectedness of the world
  • The value of loyalty and companionship

Why It’s On The List?

The novel’s breakneck pace and unpredictable plot keep readers on the edge of their seats.  It celebrates the adventurous spirit and adaptability in a rapidly changing world.  Fogg’s unflappable nature and Passepartout’s quick wit make them a beloved literary duo.

4. The Mysterious Island (1874)

During the American Civil War, a group of Union prisoners of war escape a Confederate prison camp in a daring hot air balloon escape.  Their balloon crashes during a storm and they become stranded on a remote, uncharted island.  

The resourceful castaways, led by the brilliant engineer Cyrus Smith, must use their knowledge and ingenuity to build a new society and survive.  However, a series of mysterious events hints at a hidden benefactor secretly influencing their fate.

Themes Explored:

  • The resilience of the human spirit and the triumph of ingenuity
  • The importance of cooperation and community for survival
  • Man’s relationship with nature and the responsibility of taming wilderness
  • Mystery and the unknown forces that shape our lives

Why It’s On The List? 

The Mysterious Island is a thrilling survival story that celebrates innovation and teamwork.  Verne masterfully weaves scientific knowledge into a tale of self-reliance and the indomitable human will. The enigmatic force helping the castaways adds a layer of mystery and suspense that keeps readers engaged until the very end.

5. From the Earth to the Moon (1865)

In the aftermath of the American Civil War, the members of the Baltimore Gun Club, fueled by boredom and a passion for artillery, devise an audacious plan: to build a giant cannon capable of launching a projectile to the Moon. 

The ambitious project captures the world’s imagination, and three brave adventurers volunteer to be the first passengers on this unprecedented lunar voyage.

Themes Explored:

  • The power of human ambition and the relentless pursuit of innovation.
  • Science vs. recklessness: The thin line between genius and potential folly
  • National pride and international competition during an era of technological advance
  • The allure of space travel and the unknown

Why It’s On The List?

Though filled with scientific inaccuracies, the novel boldly predicted the possibility of space travel long before it became reality.  Verne’s detailed descriptions of the cannon and the projectile sparked imaginations about what journeying beyond our planet might look like.

6. Five Weeks in a Balloon (1863)

Dr. Samuel Fergusson, a brilliant scientist and explorer, designs a revolutionary hydrogen balloon capable of long-distance flight.  Accompanied by his faithful servant Joe and the experienced hunter Dick Kennedy, he embarks on a daring expedition to traverse the uncharted regions of Africa. 

The journey is filled with geographical discoveries, encounters with diverse African tribes, and thrilling escapes from danger.

Themes Explored:

  • The spirit of exploration and the pursuit of scientific discovery
  • European perspectives on Africa and the complexities of colonialism
  • Courage in the face of the unknown and overcoming adversity
  • The power of technology to open new frontiers

Why It’s On The List?

Five Weeks in a Balloon  was Verne’s breakout novel, introducing readers to his unique blend of adventure, scientific detail, and exotic locales. While the portrayal of Africa contains problematic elements by today’s standards, it sparked curiosity about the continent and fueled the popular imagination about the possibilities of aerial exploration.

7. Michael Strogoff (1876)

 Set against the backdrop of a Tartar rebellion threatening the vast Russian Empire, Michael Strogoff, a fearless and loyal courier for the Tsar, is tasked with a vital mission. He must carry a secret message to the Tsar’s brother, the Grand Duke, who is isolated in the distant Siberian city of Irkutsk. 

Michael’s journey becomes a treacherous race against time as he disguises his identity, faces relentless enemies, and confronts the unforgiving Siberian wilderness.

Themes Explored:

  • Courage, determination, and unwavering loyalty in the face of danger
  • Betrayal and political intrigue within a turbulent empire
  • The human cost of war and the strength of personal sacrifice
  • Love and the impact of personal relationships in extreme circumstances

Why It’s On The List?

Michael Strogoff stands out for its thrilling espionage narrative and its exploration of complex characters. Verne depicts the grandeur and harshness of the Siberian landscape with vivid detail.  

Michael’s unwavering sense of duty and extraordinary resilience make him a compelling hero.

8. The Children of Captain Grant (1868)

Lord and Lady Glenarvan discover a weathered bottle containing a partially damaged message from the shipwrecked Captain Grant. Moved by compassion and a thirst for adventure, they embark on a daring mission to find and rescue Grant. 

The fragmented clues lead them on a global quest, following the 37th parallel across South America, Australia, and New Zealand.  They encounter diverse landscapes, natural hazards, and unexpected obstacles as they strive to trace Grant’s fate.

Themes Explored:

  • Perseverance, hope, and the power of compassion
  • The impact of colonialism and cultural encounters
  • The destructive forces of nature and the human will to survive
  • The importance of geographical knowledge and interpretation

Why It’s On The List?

The Children of Captain Grant is an epic adventure that celebrates the importance of helping those in need. While some of the depictions of non-European cultures are dated, Verne’s meticulous descriptions of various geographical regions captivated readers of his time.  

The journey becomes a testament to the unwavering determination of the Glenarvans and their companions.

9. Robur the Conqueror (1886)

 Robur, a brilliant but reclusive inventor, makes a dramatic entrance at a meeting of the Weldon Balloon Club, a society passionate about lighter-than-air flight. He disrupts the proceedings by asserting the superiority of heavier-than-air machines and unveils his remarkable flying machine, the Albatross. 

After a series of events, Robur kidnaps members of the club and takes them on a whirlwind journey around the world. This clash of ideals and technologies sets the stage for a thrilling aerial confrontation.

Themes Explored:

  • The conflict between innovation and tradition.
  • The ethics of invention and the potential use of technology for power or control.
  • The boundless human desire for flight and mastery of the skies
  • Pride and the dangers of unchecked ambition

Why It’s On The List?

Robur the Conqueror is a fascinating exploration of the emerging possibilities of heavier-than-air flight, anticipating the inventions of the early 20th century. Verne delves into the rivalry and contrasting philosophies about the direction of aerial advancements.  Robur stands as a complex figure, both an engineering genius and a potential threat.

10. An Antarctic Mystery (1897)

This novel serves as a chilling sequel to Edgar Allan Poe’s unfinished work “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket”.  

Years after Pym’s disturbing tale of a strange voyage to the Antarctic, an expedition sets out to discover the fate of Pym and solve the mysteries hinted at in his enigmatic story.  They encounter a desolate and haunting landscape, uncovering unsettling truths and facing inexplicable forces on the icy continent.

Themes Explored:

  • The allure of the unknown and the dangers of obsession
  • The power of nature and the vulnerability of humans in extreme environments
  • Confronting the supernatural and the limits of rational explanation
  • The legacy of the past and the ripple effects of unresolved mysteries

Why It’s On The List? 

An Antarctic Mystery delivers a sense of eerie desolation and unsettling suspense unique among Verne’s works.  

It demonstrates his willingness to tackle darker themes and venture into the territory of the fantastical. While not as well-known as his other works, it provides a chilling and captivating conclusion to Poe’s unfinished narrative.

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