Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: All Time Favorite Characters in Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they're particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish (and who isn't?). They're all about creating new lists including a little bit of everything and I've been meaning to participate for so long but always seemed to get behind. So here we are and hopefully you'll head over to their page and check out what everyone else put up for this week's Top Ten.

This week we're all looking back to see which characters really stand out in our memories as the all time favorites. As a huge reader, there were so many to choose from, but with this being a top ten list, here are the characters I just couldn't picture leaving out.

Favorite Book Character #1: Elizabeth Bennett

Jane Austen has forever been and forever will be my all time favorite author. There isn't a title yet of hers that I haven't absolutely fallen in love with. Admittedly there is no comparison to Pride and Prejudice in my mind, but they're all fantastic and classic for a reason. My senior thesis in college involved this work as well as how it's been portrayed in the theater with the numerous renditions out there. If I could make it through that semester long project and still come out on the other end loving this book as much if not more so than before, I think it's beloved status is safe for eternity.

But it's Elizabeth Bennett that has me re-reading this book over and over again. Her character is what everyone looks for in a heroine. She's smart, resourceful, independent and not afraid to speak her mind. While she may be shortsighted in the beginning, she readily admits her mistakes and corrects them as best she can. She's humble on top of everything else in the end, and a better person for it!

Favorite Book Character #2: Miranda Priestly

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger is a favorite of mine as well. After hearing it would be made into a movie, I rushed out to get my own copy of the book so I could devour it before it his the theaters. I wanted to see if it would live up to all the hype surrounding it, and it did! But while the main character Andrea was likable, it was her boss Miranda that stole the show. If you've seen the movie you've got a picture of Meryl Streep in your mind, and I will admit that Streep brought her A game when playing this character, but Weiseberger's words and creation had me drooling over the pages of this title.

Priestly is vicious but also multi layered. She's deep and yet so awful that it's easy to forget that most of the time. I know we've all been there, where there are characters in books so that are so awful it's amazing, but Priestly was one of those characters that's so fabulous regardless, you can't help but love to hate her! There are none like her.

Favorite Book Character #3: Kade

As another one of my favorite authors, Maria V. Snyder brings life to characters that become instant friends and readers will undoubtedly become invested right from the start. It's impossible to avoid. In her first installment in her Storm series, Storm Glass, her main character Opal meets many people along her journey, but it was the character Kade that really stuck with me throughout this book and the rest of the series. He was hard to resist for sure. While Opal had her work cut out for her in regards to solving the mystery behind Kade's stormy attitude, once she dug a little deeper, readers were introduced to a guy who had it all working for him.

He's often described as "mercurial" which is fitting, but it's his softer side that left me putty in Snyder's hands. I just loved watching his and Opal's interactions, and the lengths he was willing to go for her throughout the series. A true knight in shining armor.

Favorite Book Character #4: Valek

Keeping with Snyder's characters, I couldn't resist putting Valek on this list. Readers will first meet Valek in Poison Study and will be run through the gauntlet on what to make of him. I couldn't get enough of him. It was a constant challenge to try and figure him out, and I was always anxious for Snyder to reveal more of his background, what made him tick, why he did things the way he did. He was always calculating, constantly reading others, and it was just plain fun to watch. He was one of those characters that kept things interesting throughout the books he's featured in. Readers never knew what to expect next or what move he'd decide to make.

What didn't seem to make sense at the time, would later be revealed as a masterfully executed plan on his part, and readers could only bow down to his character and Snyder for thinking him up. I also must mention that he and Yelena's relationship and interaction made for quite the drama and ratcheted up the intensity level in each book without fail!

Favorite Book Character #5: Wayland North

I'm a sucker for the tall, dark, and mysterious guys...what can I say? Alexandra Bracken's Brightly Woven is one of my favorite debut YA novels out there. She kept me up late at night doing my best to fly through the pages of this title in the hopes that I could put myself out of my misery and find out what would happen to these characters I'd come to care about instantly. Wayland North was one of those characters. But he was also a puzzle, and I'm a girl that likes to work things out. I'm also a reader who enjoys a good teasing throughout the book, where readers aren't truly given a full picture until the bitter end. It makes things more exciting and keeps you on the edge of your seat, don't you think? It's no fun if you can figure everything out before you've even reached the half way mark, right?

Wayland North was so mysterious that along with Bracken's main character, I couldn't figure out if he was coming or going. Was he a guy that could be trusted, or yet another character just in it for himself? Bracken kept things extremely interesting and at time confusing (in a good way of course) so that by the end, I only wanted more. More of the dynamics going on between Wayland and Sydelle, and yes just more Wayland!

Favorite Book Character #6: Rose Hathaway

Richelle Mead took the YA genre by storm with her Vampire Academy series, and that was largely due to her character Rose Hathaway. I'm not sure what faults readers would be able to find with her? She's a kick butt kind of character that gets what she wants because she works her butt off in order to make it happen. She's a loyal friend and her heart and head are constantly in battle over how she should make her decisions. If you're looking for a friend, I would think you'd want someone like Rose that you could count on for a number of reasons, and who would come in handy in a number of situations.

Her romantic involvements throughout the series, left readers in a heated debate of who's "team" they were on. It was because Rose was different with each of her suitors. She was always able to be herself (and refused to be anything else) but it was the slight differences that made the world of a difference. She's a heroic characters who is easy to get behind and root for. Fans were often heard saying they were known to throw their books across the rooms at random moments because things weren't working out they way they wanted them to, when it came to Rose. She's a character readers get passionate about.

Favorite Book Character #7: Fire

I think since Kristin Cashore's Bitterblue will finally be released in only a few short weeks I've got her books on the brain. But no matter how much I enjoyed Graceling, it was her second series installment, Fire that really turned me into a HUGE fan. I couldn't get enough of her book's namesake, Fire. Her character was so unique and different and not just because of her abilities, although that whole idea and creation was genius on Cashore's part, but it was everything about her. Her powers over others was interesting and entertaining to watch, he history and involvement with her good friends was hard to resist. Readers were constantly wanting to know more, with no details left out.

Her new relationships and interactions with the royal family in the novel were thrilling. I couldn't wait to see what fight or intense situation her and they would find themselves in. When Cashore gives readers flashbacks of her and her father it's hard not to instantly respect Fire as a character. Each and every turn of the page had me wishing in the end that Cashore would add another book to her repertoire involving Fire and her friends so that readers would get the chance to see what was in store for them next.

Favorite Book Character #8: Ares Lupine

Catherine Banks is another of my favorite authors, and one of the main reasons is that I couldn't get enough of her characters. Her main werewolf, Ares is intense, endearing, lovable, and unpredictable at times. He's a lot of fun to watch. He's got that alpha male, predatory, protection thing going for him. After readers begin falling in love with Artemis, it's hard to not love Ares and how great he is with her. He's everything she needs. When thrown into an unexpected and scary supernatural world, he's patient with her and understands her needs.

While at times he keeps more information from her than absolutely necessary, it's hard to fault him when you learn that he only does it because he thinks it's what's best for her at the time. He's willing to fight for her at every turn, and what girl doesn't want a guy who will defend her, and protect her with their last breath, am I right? Banks weaves an incredible world together with her scenes, characters and circumstances, but it's her main characters like Artemis and Ares, that have readers reserving a special place in their hearts just for them.

Favorite Book Character #9: Penny Lane

Who didn't love Elizabeth Eulberg's The Lonely Hearts Club? I've read it a couple times myself (I know!) and can't seem to stop myself from liking it more and more each and every time I start it up again. Penny Lane grew up with parents obsessed with The Beatles (who isn't right?) and all things Lennon and McCartney related. She's put through the ringer when it comes to the boy department and makes every girl stand up and cheer when she decides to do something about it. While she may have at times (a lot) been misguided or ignorant of what was going on around her, it added to her endearing qualities in a way. She was lost and confused, but rather than standing around or curling up into a ball and crying about it, she decides to take a stand and fix the problem. Or at least she tries to.

And in the midst of it all, she learns a few lessons and changes her mind and the way she sees things in the process. Eulberg leaves readers demanding more! But as wonderful at this story is, it wouldn't be half as good without Penny Lane. Her friends might be entertaining and hilarious, but she's the glue that holds everyone and everything together.

Favorite Book Character #10: Hannah Baker

Jay Asher's book Thirteen Reasons Why is one that has received mixed reviews and feelings surrounding it's content and release. I myself, will admit that while reading it and long after I was finished I was unsure how I felt about it overall. I know my choice of Hannah Baker is strange when compared with my nine other favorite characters, but I couldn't leave her out. While she's already gone when the book starts, it's her voice that carries readers and Asher's characters throughout it's entirety.

Her voice is one that stays with you, and has stayed with me long after finishing this novel. It's a heart wrenching journey that she takes her fellow classmates on, and it makes for a chilling and eye opening read without a doubt. Asher's book is a tough one for me to recommend to friends and family, but at the same time, it's almost impossible for me to not recommend it at the same time. It's too moving and terribly moving to pass up. She turned out to be a character that refused to leave this world without at least making an attempt to right the wrongs she'd witnessed and at the same time trying to not only make a difference, but encourage realizations that not only the other characters needed to experience but readers as well.

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