Today is day four of Top 10 of 2011.
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I was so excited to be invited by Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic and Lisa from A Life Bound By Books to co-host this event along with my very best blogger friends Jaime & Patricia from Two Chicks on Books.
This was probably the easiest of all the posts to create, as I don’t feel too bad about forgetting villains. But wow, I really wish I had created these much, much earlier so that instead of fretting over who to choose I could have spent my time stalking everyone else’s posts.
Today’s topic is “Top 10 Characters in 2011” and I chose VILLAINS. And why not? Villains are awesome. They’re what make us love the heroes and heroines even more. They’re the ones we love to hate.
Without a villain in any of our paranormal or urban fantasy stories they’d be pretty boring. What would Harry Potter be without “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”? A cute story about a boy who went to magic school. Fun for pre-schoolers maybe but not as enjoyable for readers of all ages.
We want someone to root against. We want someone for the hero or heroine to defeat in the end. We want someone to create that drama that we love, the tension and angst we feel as we read our favorite stories. Without the villain we’d have none of that.
Now, not all villains are created the same. There are some that are the baddest of the bad, with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. But there are also those that may have a chance at redemption. And still others who may not be quite good enough to be redeemed, but have brief flashes of goodness which make them sympathetic characters.
These are the villains, the ones who shine brightly if only for just a moment, that I tend to love just a little bit more. Okay, well, maybe not “love” exactly, but definitely find more interesting.
I always enjoy a devious, sexy, evil – but not so evil – villain. And if he happens to be a demon, well that’s even better.
Top 10 Villains in 2011
I don’t know anyone more evil than the Warden in the Escape from Furnace series by Alexander Gordon Smith. I’ve read three of the books in this series this year and, by far, the Warden is the most villainous. Though I haven’t really had a chance to meet Alfred Furnace. I know he’d be way more evil. But I really, really don’t want to meet him.
One look from the Warden and prisoners get lost in the soulless depths of his eyes. He instills fear in all who hear his voice. And he sends in monsters to kill without mercy. His cruelty is unfathomable. Yeah, he’s definitely villain number one.
Avari is a hellion. He’s power hungry. He’s greedy. He’s fixated on Kaylee. He loves to savor the memories he strips from those he controls. He takes pleasure in people’s pain. So, yes, Avari is no doubt a villain.
There are no particularly redeeming qualities in Avari. But he is definitely charming. And interesting. And the fact that he sees Kaylee as being quite worthy of his attention shows that he has good taste.
So, while I never could imagine being BFF’s with Avari, he’s definitely a villain I’d love to see more of in this series. And he’s definitely a villain I love to hate.
You may have seen Lucifer on my list of Book Boyfriends yesterday. Well, he’s also one of my very favorite villains. He’s both. He is a master manipulator. He is devious. He is spiteful. He is vengeful. He is cruel.
But he is incredibly sexy and charming and dangerous. And while redemption is probably the farthest thing from what he’d want or what he’d be entitled to, he is capable of doing good and being good, even if it’s only to further his evil motives.
Luke is a villain I love to love. And no matter what he does in this series, I can’t imagine ever hating him. He can’t help who he is after all.
There’s just something about the evil tinkering men in these steampunk novels that give me the heebie-jeebies. Well, the Magister is one of these characters – a twisted, sick-minded, creeptacular villain. The kind of villain that gives me the chills, makes me want to take a boiling-hot, industrial-strength shower just to rid myself of the ick.
I can’t imagine anything good about the Magister. I don’t claim to understand his motives. I don’t know that even if I did, I’d sympathize. His creations, this clockwork army he’s building, are twisted and so incredibly wrong. And his strange fascination with Tessa makes me want to protect her.
Yeah, the Magister totally belongs here in the top half of my list of villains. And no, I do not think he’s sexy or mysterious. Ewwww. No.
There are a couple characters I have consider villains in this series – Catherine Lansing and Jason Thorpe – but I ultimately decided that while they aren’t model citizens, they haven’t crossed the line to being full-fledged villains. Yet…. I’m sure that will change as the series progresses.
But Lucien Fallon is a whole other matter. He’s dangerous. He’s evil. He’s dead-set on getting what he wants no matter what the cost.
While it’s in his nature to be a villain, to do all the things that he does, I don’t allow him the same leniency I might for a much hotter, sexier villain. Lucien is just bad news and a little smarmy. He’s an attorney after all.
Which makes Lucien a villain that I absolutely love to hate.
There was much shock and dismay by most of those who saw Warner on my list of Top 10 Book Boyfriends. He’s not exactly great book boyfriend material. The whole imprisoning, torturing and forcing a girl in the hopes that she’ll grow to like him are probably not what most people consider lovable qualities.
They’re not. They’re his villainous qualities. The qualities that make me love to hate him. But it’s Warner’s vulnerable side, the side that made me see just how much like Juliette he really is, just without that inner strength that makes her good, that makes him a possibly redeemable villain.
And while he became more cruel, more evil, as the story went on, I still hold out hope for him. I have a love/hate relationship with Warner and until the author does something to completely change his character, he will always be one of my favorite villains and book boyfriends.
I would have loved to say that Jack Dandy was the villain in this story, but he really wasn’t. He was just an awesome bad boy.
But the Machinist, who is hellbent on creating a clockwork army is seriously bad news. He’s one of my favorite villains that I’ve met this year because he’s one of the few that are just bad. Not sexy. Not redeemable. Simply diabolical.
His clockwork contraptions are super creepy and extremely dangerous. And his motives, while not completely apparent, are definitely not pure of heart. No, the Machinst isn’t a villain that you love to hate, he’s just a villain you hate. And I really, really hate him.
There is another villain in this story that I wanted to include here. But as revealing who they are would be a huge spoiler for those who haven’t read the book, I chose to add them anonymously to my dishonorable mentions list.
But Wildefire didn’t have just one villain. There’s Eveline Wilde. And she is definitely a villain. And the one and only female on my top ten list.
Eve is powerful and violent, power hungry and cruel. She’s manipulative and deceitful and ungrateful and willing to do whatever it takes to win – even if it means taking down others who stand in her way.
Where her sister Ashline has a heart, Eve has none. Where Ash shows compassion, Eve only shows contempt. In my book that makes her a villain. And I love, love, love to hate her.
Ahhh Cole. Cole is one of my very favorite book boyfriends. He’s got the whole sexy and charming thing going on. He’s a musician. He’s gorgeous. He’s immortal. But he is also a villain.
He is manipulative. He drains the life force from others just to sustain and extend his own. He is secretive. And he would do almost anything to get what he wants. Especially when it comes to Nikki.
But he isn’t creepy. He isn’t the darkest of evil. And he is definitely a villain that I love to love and hope I never, ever grow to hate him.
Arawn, the Erlking, is another quasi villain. He’s the leader of the Wild Hunt and is controlled by the hunt. He’s power hungry. And he, too, is manipulative.
He’s motivated by his need to be free from those who order him around. He’s violent. He’s dangerous. He will let nothing get in the way of what he wants.
But he is also so incredibly sexy and smart, and not inherently evil. He manipulates, but not always in ways that will harm others, even if it is almost always for his own gain.
While I see Arawn for the villain he is, I have never once hated him. And I do think he can be redeemed if he ever thought he might want to be.
I wish I could have said Morganstern, though I haven’t read a TMI book this year, or a Harry Potter, so I can’t say Snape.
There are a few other villains that I’d have loved to have included on my top ten list, but unless you’ve read the books you won’t know they’re villains. And I’m all about not spoiling things.
So, I thought I’d give an anonymous shout out to those, plus a couple others that I think are bad news and deserve to be on the list, here.
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Unnamed – Soul Thief by Jana Oliver – If you’ve read it you’ll know! Were you shocked?
Unnamed – Wildefire by Karsten Knight – Did you even guess? I had my suspicions.
Unnamed – Supernaturally by Kiersten White – Knew it all along. But oooh. Unbelievable.
Vivian – Hushed by Kelley York – for being all sorts of crazy bad.
The Red King – Smokeless Fireby Samantha Young – for being evil and not at all sexy.
This event ends tomorrow. Each day I have been posting a different list of top ten favorites. Tomorrow’s topic will be Top 10 Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2012, which I already know will be my worst nightmare. It’s not even 2012 and I know of at least fifty so far, so there’s no way I’ll be able to narrow that list to ten. NO. WAY.
I’m also supposed to be coming up with year-end stats, but as I read only ARCs and eBooks I have no idea what page counts I have. However, I will have a very different number of books read in 2011 than the ones I have listed on Goodreads or on my 2011 Reads widget, because I don’t count books I haven’t also reviewed or books I’ve re-read in either of those places.
NOTE: this is the SAME Linky on each of the Co-hosts Blogs, so please only enter your Name, Blog Name and the URL for YOUR Top 10 post of the day on one blog. Thanks!