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Hiya! This month in Top 5 Wednesday it is rewind month, where participants can revisit old topics they missed in the past. Today I am covering my favourite unlikable characters!
I LOVE A GOOD UNLIKABLE CHARACTERS! Extra points if they’re a woman! Usually, they are! Listen, I just want the same allowance of being horrible for woman characters and male ones. Is that too much to ask for?
Here’s an excerpt from a review of Genuine Fraud I wrote, where I explain my love for these kinds of characters perfectly;
I fucking love unlikable female characters, especially when they’re the protagonist. Not the ones who you’re meant to like but rub you the wrong way. No.
I want the female characters who are literally built for us to despise, who are terrible people, who are selfish and nasty. I want female protagonists who are morally black, not grey (though I do love those too), but with souls as black as that shade that absorbs all but 0.035% of visual light. I want female protagonists who are rotted to the core and yet you still feel empathy for them, you still see where they’re coming from and wish things could have gone differently for them.
Wanna know why?
How many male protagonists are given that freedom? Loads. They’re all over the place. Somehow men who own their sexuality, are blunt and bossy, and do fucking awful things to people, are the heroes in many stories. While women with the same characteristics are almost always the antagonist, she’s the villain planning for world domination because god forbid a woman behaves like a man. Can you tell this is a touchy subject for me?
One of my top 5 is from Genuine Fraud!
Seriously, give me a leading lady who makes you hate her and I will love her, probably. Other than the feminist reasons, I am drawn to these characters because I see myself in them.
I am the first one to say I can be a fucking asshole. But I mostly do that because I know someone is gonna call me that anyway because I don’t fit into the ‘nice girl‘ box. It gives people a warning.
I’m abrasive, I refuse to bend to gender or societal expectations. I’m a proud introvert who really couldn’t give a rats ass about politeness and thinks small talk is a waste of time. I am extremely, and sometimes brutally, honest by nature and I avoid people I feel like I can’t be honest around. I naturally challenge people, which means I’m often shunned by management in any place I work. I call people on their shit and boy, do they not like that.
By nature, I am the exact opposite of what people want in their lives, I make them uncomfortable, make them question how they see the world, make them question themselves and I am proud that I have the power to do that!
I make a lot of enemies, I see through people’s shit, and I don’t tolerate people who are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic. Generally, as a rule, I don’t tolerate anyone who can’t respect people as human beings, and would rather hate them over something they can’t change. Turns out, that’s A LOT of people.
I know that if I was a character in a book, most people probably wouldn’t like me. So that is probably why I am drawn to those kinds of characters. Also, I am just petty and dramatic enough to like a character out of spite because I know I shouldn’t or I am told not to. Unless it’s Snape. I won’t ever like Snape.
So now that I have offended all of the Potterheads and probably scared away everyone else, let’s begin!
│Lila Bard│Shades of Magic Trilogy│V.E. Schwab│★★★★★│
“I apologize for anything I might have done. I was not myself.”
“I apologize for shooting you in the leg.” said Lila. “I was myself entirely.”
Is anyone really surprised??? As soon as I read the first chapter about Lila in A Darker Shade of Magic, I knew it was love at first read.
Hello??? She’s a cross-dressing, pirate-wannabe thief who just wants an adventure. She wants an adventure so bad that she knowingly puts her life at risk for one!
She created a magical clone of a guy who she had just met and made it strip dance in front of him! Iconic.
I know that a lot of people can’t stand her but she will always be my favourite.
│Laney Keating│Black Iris│Elliot Wake│★★★★★│
Maybe I wanted to be a monster on my own terms. If the world was going to constantly knock me down, I could at least choose the way I fell. Controlled descent.
I don’t even know where to begin…
Laney is fucked up. There’s no point n denying that. She’s a monster.
But this is why I love Wake’s writing, he can create the ultimate monster, and then have you love her, and want to protect her.
Black Iris is basically just following Laney on her mission to destroy the people who destroyed her and it is addictive.
She tells you who she is right from the start, you know she’s terrible. And yet you grow to love her, not just in spite of her being terrible, but always because she’s terrible.
│Jule│Genuine Fraud│E. Lockhart│★★★★★│
When that boy bent over, coughing, Jule turned and hit the first one in the face with the heel of her hand. His head flew back and she grabbed him by the front of his T-shirt and yelled into his greasy ear, “I’m not yours to touch.” She realized she had built armor for herself. Perhaps that was what she’d been intending to do.
Jules is fucking terrible, but yes, big surprise, I still love her.
Give me ladies who don’t like to be touched.
Give me women who have body types that are deemed undesirable, who are strong starting at their core and can kick your fucking ass without also being dainty and delicate at the same time.
Give me girls who are just as capable of being monsters as men are.
You will get all of these things from Genuine Fraud.
E. Lockhart is serving up complex women and I am here for it.
│Jack Adams│Wayward Children Series│Seanan McGuire│★★★★★│
“Why does Eleanor let you have that much acid?” he asked. “Why would you want that much acid? You don’t need that much acid.”
“Except that it appears I do, since I have just enough to dissolve a human body, and we have a human body in need of dissolving,” said Jack. “Everything happens for a reason. And Eleanor didn’t ‘let’ me have this much acid. I sort of collected it on my own. For a rainy day.”
“What were you expecting it to rain?” said Christopher. “Bears?”
I just finished this book and I honestly love all the characters it shares, but I especially loved Jack.
Jack is all logic and not much else! She’s a scientist, she has little interest in small talk, or how other’s see her. All she wants is to look after her twin sister, learn as much as possible, and find her door back home.
She’s also hilarious! I love characters who are so logical it’s funny because they can be such smart asses and I just really love it. Jack is like a female Sherlock or Jackaby.
Give me characters who will tell you to your face the honest truth, no matter how brutal, and then wonder why you’re upset.
Is that weird? Is that a sign for some underlining psychological issue I am unaware of? Probably, but that’s a question for my therapist to answer.
│Nesta Archeron│ACOTAR Series│Sarah J. Maas│3.5★ average│
She didn’t know what to do with it, that rage. It still burned and hunted her, still made her want to rip and roar and rend the world into pieces. She felt it all—too keenly, too sharply.
When I first met Nesta in ACOTAR I did not like her at all, she reminded me a little too much of my sister and not the good side of her!
But she had such a great character arc and I was so glad that we got to see more of her.
Nesta is filled with anger. She is angry at the world, at those around her, and at herself.
Nesta is who you turn to when you’ve got a body to hide.
I am beyond excited to see what is next for Nesta!
│Andrew Minyard│All for the Game Trilogy│Nora Sakavic│4.5★ average│
“Would it kill you to let something in?”
“It almost did last time,” Andrew said.
He said it so matter-of-factly, but Neil still winced when he realized his misstep.
I wanted to make my top 5 exclusively women because I like nothing more than to make a political point. However, how can I talk about unlikable characters without talking about the king himself, Andrew Minyard? I know Kaz Brekker also deserves a place here as well but adding two honourable mentions might be pushing it.
Andrew Minyard is a fucking cunt. Like, there’s no denying that. He’s an absolute monster, but he’s our monster.
This kid does a number of things I would never forgive if I saw a person in real life commit them, and yet I love him and want to protect him.
I fucking hate violence. But I love my violent smol bean okay????
So that’s my top 5 unlikable characters!
This wasn’t an easy list to make! Too many of my faves live the grey-black areas… or maybe not enough of them do???
What are your fave unlikable characters?
Do we have any of the same ones?
What characters do love but would probably hate if they were a real person you knew?