Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week’s theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!
This week’s theme is ‘Character Traits I Love (submitted by Hannah @ Books Life and Other Oddities)’ and, I must admit, I drew a blank on this topic for a while until I started thinking about the kinds of people some of my favourite characters are.
One of my favourite types of characters are ‘mean girls’ and ‘unlikeable’ women. In many cases, the women we just know more people would be swooning over or laughing with if they were men and, in others, the women we’re conditioned to dislike because they’re particularly feminine and like ‘girly’ things.
This doesn’t mean villains. I love women who are ‘mean’ but still on the good side, those women who might have an attitude problem but that doesn’t mean they want to go around murdering people. So today I’m sharing ten such women with you!
Zoya Nazyalensky from Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse
Zoya is my queen. I read and adored the Six of Crows duology last year and then finally read the original Grisha trilogy at the beginning of this year so I was ready for King of Scars, and Zoya was my favourite character from that trilogy. When I remembered she was going to be a POV character in King of Scars I was so excited, and when the reviews started to come in for that book I started to realise that Zoya had been hated by a lot of readers in the original trilogy. Why? Because Alina hates her. I see you, Alina! I see you and your girl hate!
Is Zoya perfect? No. Is she a nice person? Not particularly. But is she a bad person? Definitely not. She believes in the Darkling, as did many of the Grisha, but as soon as he turns mass murderer she turns her back on him and his way of solving Ravka’s problems. She’s too busy being a boss to smile and mollycoddle people with nice words, and I adore her.
Essun from The Broken Earth Trilogy by N. K. Jemisin
Oh Essun, how I love you. This is one of my favourite series and I think Essun is one of the best SFF heroines EVER. If you didn’t already know, I’m a sucker for books about mothers and motherhood. Give me a woman who’s a mother, but still very much herself, who struggles with motherhood but also loves her children but also is trying to survive the apocalypse and we have a winner. I can’t recommend this series enough and thankfully, unlike Zoya, Essun seems to be universally loved.
Atl from Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
So it looks like vampire novels are making a comeback, and I’d like it to be known that Moreno-Garcia was on this trend THREE YEARS AGO.
This novel deals with drug lord vampires in Mexico City and it’s SO GOOD. Atl is descended from a long line of Aztec vampires and she’s such a brilliant character; she’s spiky and unkind and vulnerable, but ultimately good and ultimately someone who wants to stop running away and start running towards.
Leah Burke from Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
Look, even I didn’t like Leah in Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – she had some girl hate issues she needed to work through – but I loved reading from her point of view in this book. She’s brutally honest and often bratty, but she’s honest, y’know? She feels like a real teenager and, much like Atl, a lot of her personality comes from building up armour against how vulnerable she can sometimes feel about her sexuality and her weight. She’s not perfect by any means and she makes mistakes, but she’s a character I’ll always defend.
Saba from Blood Red Road by Moira Young
SABA. I love Saba so darn much. She and her story came to me at a time in my life when I really needed them, which sounds really dramatic, but I read Blood Red Road when I was at uni. I was feeling stressed and burned out, and then this book came along and swept me away to somewhere completely new for a few hours and it was wonderful. Saba is so angry and raw and I adore her.
Marin Brandt from The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
I knew I was going to love Marin the moment she appeared on the page. Did I feel sorry for Nella when she didn’t receive a particularly warm welcome from her new sister-in-law? Of course, but I love that Marin doesn’t really care if people like her or not, she just wants to make sure everything keeps running the way it should to keep her family safe. She’s brilliant.
Maud Lilly from Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
It’s so difficult to talk about this book because it’s one of the twistiest, turniest books I’ve ever read and I’d hate to spoil it for anyone, all I can really say is Maud is one of those characters who’ll have you loving her one minute and then hating her the next and then loving her all over again. She’s the kind of character you can really sink your teeth into. This book is an autumnal must-read.
Agatha Wellbelove from Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
I feel like poor Agatha gets a lot of hate and I just don’t think it’s justified; I thought she was a really interesting character, I loved how Rowell included someone in a magical world who’d actually much rather just be part of the ‘real’ one, and I think she deserves better from some fans of this book. Let’s remember that she’s a teenager, and the choices she makes are realistic and suit who she is as a person. I’d love to see more of her!
Niamh from Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier
Niamh deserved so much better, and I’m still angry about how she was treated. I adored Daughter of the Forest earlier this year, but its sequel was a complete let-down that put me off the rest of the series – check out my review above for all of my ranty thoughts. All I want to say is Niamh was my favourite character in this book and she’s treated like garbage and she deserves better.
Evie O’Neill from The Diviners
Okay, this one is kind of a final cheat because I’m actually reading The Diviners right now – NO SPOILERS PLEASE! – and I’m not too far into it, but I already love Evie and I’ve already seen a few reviews from people who found her annoying. I think that’s kind of the point of her though, right? She’s a bit of a mess, and I have a feeling this book, and this series, is going to offer some brilliant character development. At least that’s what I’m hoping for, because I’m already loving this book! Why did it take me so long to read Libba Bray?