Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Best of 2010: Male Characters and Fantasy/Dystopian

Today's featured categories are Male Characters and The Not-Real, which is basically anything that isn't contemporary. It's no surprise I read mostly contemps, so I'm lumping the dystopians/paranormal/fantasy together into one judging category.

Male Character:

1. Seth (Freefall by Mindi Scott): Seth is one of the most real characters I've read, not to mention there definitely a swoonworthy element to him. He's a slacker in some ways, but does have the drive to want to do something. He's sensitive in some ways, and a jerk in others with the reputation of his mess and jerk of a best friend to proceed him. There is such a strong character development that goes on with Seth as the book progresses, though, and it is realistic and well done and makes for a very dimension, likeable character.

2. Aiden (The Naughty List by Suzanne Young): Attentive and loving but still with jock qualities, Aiden has more depth than immediately clear. He's strong willed when he needs to be, but makes some mistakes at other times that even if you want to kick him where the sun don't shine, you still want to just hug him. With some great lines that come from him and some seriously memorable scenes that this boy stars in, Aiden is most definitely a character to remember.

3. Colt (The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard): Colt gets my heart because he's got the broken boy syndrome going on. The girl he loved died, and he can't even mourn openly because their entire relationship was a secret. As he tries to cope, and move on, there are some very trying events he goes through, and watching his progression is gripping and emotional and beautiful. Colt is most definitely a character that will stick with me, and is one to think of that things can get better even when they seem horrible.

4. Jace (Split by Swati Avasthi): There are probably more bad things to say about Jace than good, which is exactly why he's on this list. He is a survivor of abuse, but a big question is at what cost? There is so much told in his story, both through his eyes and from those around him that he can't even see. Jace has some huge things to face, and some questionable reactions, but in the end, the character development and just... who he is... is astounding.

5. Logan (Shade by Jeri-Smith Ready): Maybe he isn't the brightest, and maybe he makes some pretty big mistakes (like getting himself killed and becoming a ghost), but Logan has a big heart, and some great humorous side. Not to mention, he's in a band which adds to the hotness factor and who doesn't like a ghost that can jam? What makes Logan stand out more, though, is the fact that in the world of Shade, he's still very much real and human, apart from the whole ethereal thing. I got a strong sense of him, even as a ghost, and still remember some of the witty quips he can make.

The Not-Real:

1. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White: Very distinct voice, sassy and fun protagonist, and a seriously unique world make this one just an all around original hit. It's clean, with no steam, but that just makes it better here. Kiersten didn't have to rely on sex and steam to make her book noticed. It's just her talent and everything she put into it, from the vampires to the hags to the completely new characters. Oh, and Tasey. Let's never forget Tasey, for only a character like Evie could even pull off Tasey. There are just too many good things to say about this book, so go out and get it and see for yourself.

2. Firelight by Sophie Jordan: Dragons that can shape shift into people for cover. Awesome in premise, and fantastic in execution. With just the right amount of romance mixed in (and oh, lord, can Sophie Jordan write steamy romance), Firelight definitely coins the term paranormal romance. Jacinda is well fleshed out, and Will, the love interest, is so perfectly tormented and angsty that it will make anyone's heart melt. Add in the stunning ending that sets things up perfectly for book two, and Firelight is most definitely one to grab.

3. Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien: Astounding world building and gorgeous writing, with a relatable protagonist that grows tremendously, Birthmarked strongly defines what dystopian is all about. Set in a world that is easy to imagine while still remaining clearly something not realistic (for now), there are some huge elements in this one that all tie together so well. I was truly dumbfounded with some of this, and enthralled the entire time I read it.

4. Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves: Slightly demented and making a new definition of crazy, Bleeding Violet is gritty in the best kind of ways. Hanna is crazy, but Portero (the town) is crazier. Sure, there's some gore and some very wtf scenes, but to me, it was all just so out there and put together so well it was usually comical. The worldbuilding is there and well done, but hidden underneath all the craziness going on which helps make it just that much better. Add in one very fantastic, visceral kiss and an awesome sense of humor throughout, and this is the one to grab if you want something different.

5. Everlasting by Angie Frazier: Female protagonist who is testing the limits for her time period, just the right amount of supernatural/magic, and an Irish sailor. Those are just some of the stand out things about Everlasting, but add in characters like the hilarious Ira or the questionable and intriguing Samuel, along with the way the writing fits with the time period while still holding enough of a modern note that it's easy to read, and this one has plenty of great elements that weave together perfectly.


  1. One of my favorite books of this year is Paranormalcy also.

  2. Hmm...The Naughty List and The Secret Year have me interested. I'm going to have to get these too! AGH! You and your list... making my list grow!!! =)