In 2018, at the beginning of each month, I did a blog post based on a Goodreads group called ‘Play Book Tag.’
The group choose a theme and then people share, discuss, recommend and review books that fit the theme.
As you can see… this is not the beginning of the month. It’s more like beginning-to-middle of the month. The beginning of the month was looking a little squished in terms of content for my blog and so I’ve decided to move when I publish this post.
The content is still the same though so if you enjoyed it in 2018 and are worried… please don’t be. If you didn’t enjoy the content in 2018… well, um… then this is now just awkward.
The theme for January is…
Disclaimer: I will answer this question on approx. 99% of all Book Theme topics with ‘um.’
I didn’t know that books could be categorised as ‘action adventure’ but that could be my ignorance. I suppose I saw this as more of a movie or game genre rather than something done in print.
In order to find an answer I went to my favourite places. That’s right, Wikipedia and er… Rotten Tomatoes.
Wikipedia helpfully tells me about action adventure gaming and not books. But that doesn’t mean we’re not about transferring knowledge here at The BookNook UK, oh no.
(I say that like there’s more than just me involved. But there isn’t. It’s just me. Knowledge transfer for one).
Wikipedia has this to say:
The action-adventure video game genre includes video games that combine core elements from the action and adventure genres.
Right. That’s… helpful.
I think it can be safe to say that we all assumed action adventure was a combination of action and adventure.
I went to Rotten Tomatoes to gauge what movies are considered in this genre and the top 3 are – Black Panther, Mad Max: Fury Road & Wonder Woman.
I was getting nowhere fast.
So I went to TV Tropes which was more helpful but still pointed me towards games and movies.
But this is when it dawned it me. Of course they would.
Action as a genre is typically visual. We’re talking movement, and a lot of it. Characters need to get from place A to place B in stories that are fast paced and adrenaline filled. Those characters aren’t really driven by deep development character arcs and their purpose is usually plot driven.
Showing action via a visual medium is far more common and probably far more easier than describing it.
The first thing I thought of when I thought of action was the Die Hard movies.
Adventure is the action genre’s cousin. There may not be any explosions (but then again there might be) and characters are also usually moving from place A to place B via a fast paced story. Their reasons however may be more of the investigative type and the setting they are in may be more prominent and something they need to explore.
Honestly? I thought of Jumanji.
But I couldn’t really think of any books though.
Which makes answering the next question even more difficult.
This is where I fail you.
I couldn’t think of a single one outside of the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ stories or the Usborne puzzle range. You know, these ones…
This is based off of the ‘Popular Action Adventure Books’ list on Goodreads which contains 1,250 entries. The top ten are: –
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
- Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
- The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson) by Rick Riordan
- The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
- Divergent by Veronica Roth
- Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
- The Maze Runner by James Dashner
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
This is a very rare list where I have heard of every single one.
I’ve read 5 out of 10 – the two Harry Potter’s and The Hunger Games trilogy.
My usual question: What do I think?
I’m confused. That’s what I think.
I do comprehend that books are not strictly limited to one genre. But if you asked me if I thought The Hunger Games was an action-adventure series my answer would be – no. I would say it’s a YA Dystopian. I would also say that Harry Potter is a MG/ YA Fantasy.
Yes, there are moments of action and adventure in each series but these probably translate more easily into the movie adaptations rather than the novels. In fact some of the books i.e. The Hunger Games, are more nuanced with their themes which for The Hunger Games include the very un-action and un-adventure topics of anti-war stances and surviving PTSD.
What I do think is interesting is that action adventure as a genre in movies are usually written and directed by men and the billing star is also often male. This list contains three female authors filling six spaces. The top three books also star a (rare for action adventure) female protagonist.
I don’t know if this means nothing or something about gender and the differing industries. I think something but I’d need more data.
Catching Fire – out of The Hunger Games trilogy this is probably my favourite and out of the list above is also probably one of my favourites. I am a sucker for Katniss and you will often see her appearing throughout my blog. I’d say sorry but… no.
The Hunger Games – the one that started it all! It’s a little concerning that what constitutes as ‘action adventure’ in this book is a fascist society rounding up a group of teenagers, placing them in an arena with mutated creatures and then televising the proceedings. Oh, and the ultimate goal is that the teenagers kill each other until one remains. Nothing says ‘adventure’ like glorified child murder. <—– This is heavy on the sarcasm by the way.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – c’mon we get introduced to the Marauders! I’m just going to leave it there.
What are your thoughts on the ‘action adventure’ book genre? Did you know it was a genre? Unlike me did you already have some books in mind? What are your thoughts on the top 10 most popular?
Stop on by and have a chat!