Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is Character Freebie. I decided to talk about Non-PoV Characters that I remember just as vividly as (if not more than, in some cases) the PoV ones; some of them might be popular, but far too many don’t get enough appreciation.
Technically, we see his PoV in The Demon in the Wood, but back then he was a preteen, so to me it doesn’t count. Anyway: he is a powerful magician from Shadow and Bone; you probably have already heard of him, but if that’s not the case, the explicit spoilers are blacked out.
- sometimes, between rereads, I forget just how dramatic he can be
the obvious solution would have been (spoiler-y)
Trying to seduce Mal too, and yet
- I’m not saying it would have worked but I am saying that it would have been far more entertaining to read and far harder for everyone to disentangle themselves from! I’m disappointed that he didn’t even try
- But I mean, what can we expect from someone who goes around the country in a Dark™ carriage with Dark™ horses and calls himself the Darkling™ and can cut people in two with his Magical Darkness™ and then acts surprised when people living in a world where darkness can spawn man-eating monsters assume him to be evil
also I’ve met characters who made one of his ideas sound more rational than he did. 5/10 try harder (spoiler-y)
said idea is “let’s save the world with mass murder“
- 10/10 for the aesthetic, however
- I love him, and I will never not love characters who are competent manipulators but have one (1) functional brain cell when it comes to certain topics [Alina. Alina is the topic, especially the more you go on with the series]
A major side character from A Memory Called Empire, and probably my favorite I’ve met so far this year. I still remember that, when I was trying to write my review, I was trying to say at least a few things about all relevant characters, but for her at the time my brain was still going “!!!!!!!!!!!” and I couldn’t come up with anything coherent for a while.
- “she could stab me and I’d thank her” was the first vaguely coherent description of her I put together
- in my defense, Mahit’s reaction to her isn’t too different
- will this ever not be me with competent and powerful morally gray women who know what they’re doing when it comes to political intrigue?
- it’s not like I got to see them often and it’s not like I get so see them often today too
- why is this kind of character literally always a man
- now I really want to reread this book just because of her
I usually don’t get that obsessed with side characters. But there are exceptions, and she is probably the main one.
Raven Stratagem: *is about machinations and mind games during a space war, there’s a known murderous traitor on the loose and a foreign invasion and the big bad is basically doing the space version of watching the whole thing go down while eating popcorn, just with a side of worrying about when it will catch up to him*
Acqua, every time she reads this book: …marry me Tseya
So, who is Tseya? Here’s a few non-spoilery facts about her to introduce the character:
- she’s an assassin, and, like most people in this book, also a liar
- while meeting her, you’d probably think that she’s intimidatingly beautiful but really nice
- (she might or might not be trying to make you lower your guard to kill you later)
- How could anyone not love Andan “slept with the villain out of spite” Tseya
- actually cares about interior decor! Her spaceship has plants in it! Yes this is relevant to me
- find yourself a girlfriend who will gift you passive-aggressive aquariums
- Also her dynamic with Brezan is everything to me
- Brezan: I am not going to fall for this
- Brezan: *falls for it, and for her*
- In case that wasn’t already clear, I am Brezan
- she’s a trans woman [and Brezan is a trans man]
- was this post just an excuse to talk about how much I love Tseya? yes
- I am not sorry
A major character in this Sherlock Holmes retelling set in space. She’s the Sherlock Holmes figure; the narrator and main character is the “Watson” of the story, the sentient spaceship The Shadow’s Child.
- abrasive, competent women who come off as cold: literary equivalent of catnip
- especially if they don’t get romantic subplots to make them less cold or something like that
- yes, narratives about “letting down inner walls” are important, but… sometimes you can also just let the character be like that
- again, she falls in the “why is this archetype literally always a man” category, but in a different way
- the “unintentionally rude” way, and I loved that about her
- I really hope Aliette de Bodard will write another novella about her and The Shadow’s Child
She’s the main character’s adopted sister in the Monsters of Verity duology, and like him, she is a powerful monster – a Sunai, which means that she feeds on souls.
- it’s been two years since I read these novels and yet I remember her so clearly
- star-patterned girl with red hair, quietly beautiful
- star-patterned monster born of a massacre
- when August described her as “scattered”, I instantly knew I was going to love her
- she stands out so much from all the other characters in Schwab’s novels
- Schwab’s female characters are usually cold, sharp, and always ready to fight; Ilsa… she’s dangerous, really dangerous, but in a different way
Things I wish Schwab hadn’t done (spoiler-y)
I wish Schwab would stop killing off her female characters so often. And in Our Dark Duet she did it twice. Ilsa and Kate deserved better than being fuel for August’s pain. (I think it was her who once tweeted about male authors constantly fridging women and in my head I was like “yes but you do that all the time” and that’s part of the reason I don’t read her new books anymore)
- anyway Ilsa deserves the world
He is the love interest’s demon servant in the fantasy novel Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson.
- Shapeshifting demon! The scenes in which he is a cat are the best scenes
- MR FLUFFINGTON
- you know the kind of distant & distinguished character who is collectively dragged into the hellish pit called “caring about humans” by the rest of the cast?
- he is that character
- and yet, he is still a demon, so he will care in his very demonic way
- I’ve never read about anyone quite like him
- and since he is a very developed and nuanced character, he ended up outshining everyone else, main characters included, even though they were well-written too
The Vathek princess from Mirage, a book I loved mostly because of her, the discussion of colonialism and the effect it has on people, and the aesthetic (space fantasy in which the space aspect is basically just there for the aesthetic? I support it.)
- another example of “completely outshining the other characters in the book”
- part of the reason I didn’t love this book was that I felt like she was the only interesting character
- she has a lot of internalized self-hatred and goes from vulnerable to cruel in the span of a few seconds, but knowing her background, you understand her
- the main character does too (and kind of wishes she didn’t)
- it’s an interesting twist on the “spoiled princess who is cruel just to be an obstacle for the protagonist” trope
- her PoV would be really painful to read from, but so was Amani’s
- she’s so well-written and I will always be there for books that let women be angry and hurt and… just far from perfect or even good or reasonable
- I almost feel like female main characters are almost never allowed to be like that (can you imagine how many reviews complaining about unlikability), especially if the story it’s not a straightforward villain origin story, so I get really attached to side characters who are like that
The 17-year-old heiress the main characters kidnap at the beginning of book one. I think this is maybe cheating because I don’t remember if we got her PoV for a few chapters in Ruse, but I started loving her in Want, and I’m sure that in that one we didn’t get her PoV.
- she does kind of feel like a teenage and less morally gray version of Tseya to me
- rich and beautiful and also always scheming under a façade of innocence? I love this kind of characters
- (it’s not a coincidence that in 2017 my pre-review of Want was something like “can I marry Daiyu”: 17-year-old me was also really predictable)
- sadly, I can’t be specific at all because of spoilers
- she’s awesome and the best character in the series
Unnamed Character from The Fever King
Said character has a name, and if you’ve read the book you know who I’m talking about. I just don’t want to spoil the book for those who haven’t read it yet, even though it is the most predictable revelation ever (and still amazing to read. Which takes skill. Please read it.)
- me, for half of the scenes about said character: this is so fascinating, I want to know more!
- me, for the other half: please die. right now.
- half of the annotations on my eARC are some version of “shut up and leave [various character names] alone, what’s wrong with you”
- the more I think about this character, the more I’m horrified
- is there anyone who is even remotely emotionally healthy in this book?
- the answer is no
- and the relationships are worse!
Margot and Angie
Major side characters from A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo, a contemporary novel which is half slice-of-life and half mystery, featuring a toxic f/f/f love triangle.
- terrible girls! always there for terrible girls!
- especially terrible lesbians
- and when I read it, I found Margot really fascinating, because again, she has a role in which you usually don’t see queer women, and she’s… kind of evil
- seeing how Angie gets caught up in Margot’s clique and drags Jess (the main character) in it? Great content
- and the way the main character was kind of hate-attracted to Margot and obsessed with Angie? Even better content
- “no one is even only remotely healthy and the relationships are worse” is a perfect description of this book too
- (I’d like to be more specific but… too many spoilers, I don’t feel like writing three paragraphs to black out right now, but maybe when I reread the book I will do something like that)
Who are your favorite non-PoV characters? Have you read any of these?