Five of the Best: Action

Hi everyone! I know it’s been a while since I posted one of these (a few months, Jack!), but welcome back to Five of the Best!

The premise is pretty simple: I pick a theme for the post, and then I pick five books that I believe are some of the best at showcasing this.

The theme this time is Action. For me, I think action is a part of writing that can be hard to get right. There is certainly a specific art to it in capturing the perfect balance between description and pace, and ensuring the reader knows what is going on whilst also delivering a bewildering, exciting experience.

So, if you want to hear about some SFF books that deliver adrenaline-pumping action, brutal fights and more, then read on…


The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie

Joe Abercrombie is a writer best known for his character work, but this does a disservice to the sheer quality of other parts of his work. And the way he writes action is no exception. The Heroes is, I feel, his best book for showcasing this as it is the story of a single battle between the forces of The Union and the King of the North. Quite simply, it is full to the brim with brutal fight scenes and will really bring home the horror of warfare to you, whilst keeping you flipping through those pages!


The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

Is anyone surprised to see this on the list? This book is known for its action! Evan Winter really does capture the essence of an action scene perfectly in practically every chapter here, whether it is a training montage, gladiatorial combat or sweeping battle scene. This book, and its sequel, has it all on the action front, and you’re missing out if you haven’t picked this up.


Helsreach by Aaron Dembski-Bowden

The Black Library have built their entire success as a publishing house on high-action books within the Warhammer brand. I mean, the Warhammer name is a bit of a clue, isn’t it? And Helsreach by Aaron Dembski-Bowden is a superb example of everything that Warhammer books do well when they fully embrace the carnage and violent potential they have. It is full of vivid and brutal battle scenes, both large and small scale, as we follow the defenders of Hive Helsreach – led by the Chaplain Grimaldus of the Black Templars (space knights!) – during a devastating siege.


Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

The action in this book is relatively small-scale and intimate compared to a few of my other choices, but it’s just as captivating for all that! Each battle or chase scene is fast-paced and, considering the aerial acrobatics that our characters are capable of, very clear and easy to follow. I really think this is all credit to Brandon Sanderson’s writing as I am sure in the hands of some authors, it could have been a bit bewildering and confusing.


Lancelot by Giles Kristian

This one’s a bit of a left-field choice compared to some of the others. Action isn’t the central focus of this book, like it is in some of the others. But you know what? The action scenes that are here are absolutely top notch. Giles Kristian certainly has a talent for prose and he strikes a brilliant balance between keeping the fights pacey and description.


So there you have it, my ‘Five of the Best’ for action! What do you think of my choices? Do you agree? Are there any books that you think I should have included instead? Got any recommendations in this area for me? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll try to post these a little more regularly, I promise! Have a great day!

Jack

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