Top Ten Tuesday #392

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these. I went to a jobs fair on Saturday, so I’m hoping I might have some more success on the jobs front come out of that, though I would be lying if I said the highlight of my afternoon there wasn’t getting to meet Ted the police dog, who was absolutely delightful!

Anyway, it’s Tuesday, so time for another Top Ten Tuesday from Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Today’s topic is Unlikeable Characters You Can’t Help But Love and I have to admit, I thought this one would be easier than it was because I love villains…..but then I hit upon a bit of a catch-22 of this topic, which was that if I like these characters then I clearly don’t think they’re totally unlikeable do I? Maybe I was really overthinking it, but once I got into that spiral it was hard to get out of! Anyway, I decided to approach it from the angle of characters who are villains or morally questionable in some way but I love anyway, which was probably more what the topic suggestion was going for anyway, I just found the unlikeable part threw me off a bit. So here we go:

  1. Victor Vale-Villains duology-VE Schwab

I couldn’t do a list like this without including at least one VE Schwab character (and there will be a couple here!) because she is the Queen of villains, anti-heroes and generally morally questionable characters. Victor Vale is quite obviously a terrible person, as is basically everyone in this series, but you can’t help but love him anyway: he’s very upfront and doesn’t apologise for who he is and there’s something very refreshing about the kind of person who knows that they’re a villain but doesn’t feel like they have to feel guilty about it. I also love the dysfunctional little family he inherits and the way that he quite clearly doesn’t really want to have attachments to people, but as soon as Sydney and Mitch come into his lives, he would die to protect them.

2. Nita-Market of Monsters Trilogy-Rebecca Schaeffer

I definitely have a “type” when it comes to female characters I love, those who are morally questionable, are confident in who they are and don’t care about being liked and are generally quite fierce. That’s not to say I don’t love other kinds of female characters too, it’s just a trend I’ve noticed. Nita definitely falls into that type, and I loved her because I so enjoy it when female characters are allowed to be as morally questionable as men and don’t have to apologise for it. I also found Nita really easy to root for because with the position she’s in in the book, it makes complete sense that she would be selfish and just looking out for her own survival: her life is on the line!

3. Lila Bard-Shades of Magic Trilogy-VE Schwab

I honestly tussled with whether to put Lila on here because I love her so much that I don’t really consider here an unlikeable character (this is where I went into the spiral I mentioned in the intro) but she’s definitely a morally questionable one, so she fits this topic on that account. I think there’s definitely an element of “I wish I could have her confidence” as Lila has a level of confidence I think many of us probably wish we did: but she also just fits the type of female characters I’ve always loved: fierce, slightly reckless, funny and does whatever the hell she wants to. I can’t wait to see her back again in the new Threads of Power books!

4. Lira-To Kill A Kingdom-Alexandra Christo

Lira is quite similar to Lila in a number of ways (aside from the names!), she has that same fierce confidence, but I think Lira is even more brutal than Lila to be honest (I mean the first line of this book is her telling you that she keeps the hearts of the men she’s killed!). I loved that though this story does see Lira develop compassion and humanity, she doesn’t lose that fierce, brutal streak that made me initially fall in love with her, as happens in so many stories where the villain becomes the hero (or at least anti-hero!).

5. Vianca Augustine-The Shadow Game Trilogy-Amanda Foody

Vianca Augustine is plain terrible. With nearly all the other characters on this list, I would say they at least have some redeeming qualities, but I honestly don’t think I could tell you any of Vianca’s. And yet I love her anyway, probably because of that, to be honest. It’s so rare that female villains are allowed to be just plain awful without any particularly redeeming qualities, and Vianca 100% fits that. Her power of being able to control people is one of my favourites in the book, and I loved the way Amanda Foody contrasted her with the main female protagonist Enne and how they both approach power differently: the way Vianca makes herself more masculine to get ahead in a male dominated world, whereas Enne uses her femininity to her advantage. It’s one of the most interesting parallels between women in the book and I just loved that so much.

6. Henry “Monty” Montague-The Montague Siblings Trilogy-Mackenzi Lee

Ah Monty. Monty is to put it quite simply an absolute dickhead. Why then do I love him so much? Honestly he’s the kind of guy that I would probably hate if I knew him in real life, but love as a fictional character and I think it’s because Mackenzi Lee really nails the balance between his less appealing qualities, and the vulnerabilities beneath the surface. I also think I like that he owns the fact that he can be a bit of a jerk, and that he has quite the sense of humour, it does iron out some of his rough edges!

7. Felicity Montague-The Montague Siblings-Mackenzi Lee

All of the Montague siblings are in some way or another an acquired taste (even Adrian, who is probably the most likeable of the three personality-wise!). Felicity is a very prickly sort of character, she can be quite harsh and quite selfish so she won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I loved her. It made complete sense to me that a woman in the 18th century who is constantly having to prove herself would become a little standoffish and would need to be selfish about going after the things she wanted because no one else is going to get them for her. I also loved her sense of humour, she has the kind of dry, sarcastic sense of humour that matches quite well with my own!

8. Marcella Riggins-Vengeful-VE Schwab

Is Marcella Riggins a mass murderer? Yes. Do I love her anyway? Absolutely yes. Marcella is just so done with being underestimated by all the men around her, and when she develops these superpowers, uses them to take the power she feels has always been denied her. That kind of confidence and ambition to take what you want is something I’ve definitely always admired in female characters (though I’d obviously never condone murder in real life!) and I thoroughly enjoyed Marcella’s badass antics throughout Vengeful (and felt kind of bitter about the way her story ended, but that would be going into spoiler territory).

9. Ronan Lynch-The Raven Cycle and The Dreamer Trilogy-Maggie Stiefvater

Ronan is definitely a jerk and I didn’t really like him initially in The Raven Boys, but he grew on me over the course of the series as we got to know him more as a character, and you get to see why he is the way he is. I also loved how loyal he was to his friends, it was obvious how much they mean to him and seeing that definitely endeared him to me more and more over the course of the books.

10. Artemis Fowl-Artemis Fowl series-Eoin Colfer

Artemis is pretty awful when we first meet him, a twelve year old millionaire criminal mastermind who will use anything and anyone to get what he wants. Doesn’t sound like the kind of character you’d end up rooting for does he? Except I did, because the journey he goes on throughout the books is brilliant and it’s great to see his criminal genius being used for ever more ambitious schemes through the series, and his slow transformation from outright villain to something a little closer to anti-hero (hero would be a strong word!).

So there we have it, those are some morally grey/questionable/villainous characters that I can’t help but love. Have you read any of these books? Do you like any of these characters? What characters did you have on your list this week? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back next week for another Top Ten Tuesday, this time we’re talking Series I’d Like To Start/Catch Up On/Finish and I will definitely be going for Series I’d Like To Catch Up On/Finish as I have SO MANY OF THESE.

44 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday #392

  1. anovelglimpse 01/11/2022 / 3:19 pm

    It’s funny. I completely forgot how unlikeable Ronan was at first.

    • iloveheartlandx 08/11/2022 / 6:48 pm

      Right? I almost did too because he ended up being one of my favourites!

  2. Mareli Thalwitzer 01/11/2022 / 4:55 pm

    VE Schwab and Maggie Stiefvater truly creates the BEST villains ever. Glad to see so many of them on your list!

    Elza Reads

  3. Louise 01/11/2022 / 5:11 pm

    How could I forget Artemis Fowl!

    • iloveheartlandx 08/11/2022 / 6:47 pm

      To be fair, those books are quite old, I can understand why he might not be everyone’s first thought!

  4. bookbabenails 01/11/2022 / 5:25 pm

    I have a lot of V.E. Schwab’s books on my TBR. Good to hear that there are some fun villains! 💜

    • iloveheartlandx 08/11/2022 / 6:46 pm

      If there’s one thing she does incredibly well, it’s fun villains!

  5. Carla 01/11/2022 / 5:26 pm

    I read the first Artemis Fowl book years ago. I should read the series. I haven’t read any of the others on your list, but I do like your explanations.

  6. FangirlFlax 01/11/2022 / 7:00 pm

    I’ve not read any of these, but I’ve heard this area is something V. E. Schwab does a lot!

  7. masterspj 01/11/2022 / 8:06 pm

    How could anyone not love the terrible Artemis Fowl? He was only doing those things to reunite his family. As you can tell, I loved the series, though it should have ended a bit sooner than it did.

    Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!

    • iloveheartlandx 08/11/2022 / 6:42 pm

      He definitely had a secretly sweet heart underneath the criminal mastermind! I would probably agree with you there, I definitely felt like the front half of the series was better than back half.

  8. Cindy Davis 01/11/2022 / 11:11 pm

    It was a kind of hard prompt. You did a great job.

    • iloveheartlandx 08/11/2022 / 6:40 pm

      She definitely was! I’m so excited to see her and the rest of the Shades of Magic gang back in the new Threads of Power books.

  9. Terrie Purkey 02/11/2022 / 1:31 am

    All of these books sound so good! I’ve only read the first Villains by Schwab but I enjoy her books SO much. I have to delve deeper into the backlist. I recently added the Raven series to my TBR (maybe on your referral?) and the Shadow Game series sounds amazing. thanks for stopping by my blog.
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys

    • iloveheartlandx 08/11/2022 / 6:39 pm

      They are all great! Ah I highly recommend Vengeful, I loved it even more than Vicious (and I really enjoyed that book!). Well if it was me, I’m always glad when people find books because of my recommendations!

  10. Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies 02/11/2022 / 2:13 am

    How fun to see Monty and Felicity on your list! I hadn’t thought about them, but I agree, it took some time for them to grow on me. Great list!

    • iloveheartlandx 08/11/2022 / 6:32 pm

      Thank you! To be honest, I loved both pretty early on but I could see why they would grate on people so that’s why I included them on this list.

  11. WendyW 02/11/2022 / 3:41 am

    I was all in my head about this topic as well. Wonderful list!

  12. The theme this week was hard, which was why I switched it up. I’ve only read To Kill A Kingdom of these and I definitely liked the character Lira.

  13. lindseyhabets 02/11/2022 / 6:28 pm

    Victor made my list too and I also absolutely agree with Marcella! Even if she’s a villain, it was hard not to root for her anyway 🙂

    • iloveheartlandx 08/11/2022 / 5:57 pm

      I feel like most women at some points in our life have felt like Marcella, even if we haven’t taken quite such…..drastic actions to deal with it!

  14. Susan 02/11/2022 / 7:05 pm

    Huh, I never thought of that. If I like a character than they’re not “unlikable” anymore, are they? Hmmm…

    Happy TTT (on a Wednesday)!


    • iloveheartlandx 08/11/2022 / 5:56 pm

      And now you see the wormhole I went down on this topic!

  15. Aj @ Read All The Things! 04/11/2022 / 11:54 am

    My list would probably be all VE Schwab characters. She’s so good at writing people you love to hate!

  16. Rissi 07/11/2022 / 11:18 pm

    VE Schwab writes some really good ones I see! Haven’t ever read anything by the author, but I know so many readers use Schwab’s books on various lists. 🙂 Thanks so much for visiting my website on this week. Grateful as always.

    • iloveheartlandx 08/11/2022 / 5:54 pm

      She is the master of the morally grey character! Her books are so good, I definitely highly recommend them. No problem 🙂

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