Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Best of 2015 - Characters

Now that the year is coming to a close, I've decided to do a series of posts highlighting the many wonderful books I've read this year. It's my own personal Best of 2015. While I've read many recent books, my list isn't based on books published in 2015, but books I've read in 2015.

A few days ago I did a Best Overall, but there are so many great things about so many different books that I've decided to get a little more specific. In a sense, I'm making Oscar-esque categories. Today, I'm highlighting characters.

Note:  I will occasionally highlight a series rather than a single book.

Best Female Protagonist

Yael, Revka, Aziza, and Shirah

Shirah, Aziza, and Yael from the BBC Miniseries.
Unfortunately, Revka was cut from it.
The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

There is no single protagonist in The Dovekeepers (the runner-up for Best Overall - Adult); rather, the story follows four incredible women during the siege of Masada. There's Yael, an assassin's daughter, who has lived her life as an outcast; Revka, an elderly baker's wife who witnesses the brutal murder of her family; Aziza, a girl who disguises herself as a boy to join the warriors fighting the Romans; and Shirah, a witch whose magic infiltrates everyone's lives. Unique and courageous, these women rely on their friendship with each other as they confront one of the darkest moments in Jewish history.

Best Male Protagonist

Kaz Brekker

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

One of the greatest things about Kaz is that he earns the reader's trust. Just as he proves himself to his Crows (who give Team Raven a run for their money as far as best group dynamic goes), he convinces the reader that he'll lead them safely through this story. He's brilliant, brutal, and easy to root for.

Best Supporting Male

Prince Nikolai
Did I mention that his ship(s) can fly?
Image from
The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Nikolai is perfect, hence his nickname "Prince Perfect." When he isn't busy in his role as the dashing prince of Ravka, he's designing brilliant inventions or playing at being the Dread Pirate Roberts -- er, I mean, Captain Sturmhond. Sharp-tongued and witty, he knows how to make light of any situation.

Best Supporting Female


Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Nina is my favorite of the Crows. She's fun, loyal, and she kicks ass. She is a great female character involved in a strong romantic relationship, but she isn't defined by it at all. With her willingness to crush hearts (literally) pair with her appreciation for nice clothes, she proves that girls can be strong without having to sacrifice their femininity.

Best Ensemble

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

I love huge casts of characters, which is one of the many reasons I'm drawn to Stiefvater's delightful series. The number of main characters alone is large -- Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah -- especially considering that four-fifths of them get their own PoV. Then there's everyone else, but in this case, everyone else is like frosting on a cupcake. The psychics, for instance, are a pure delight, especially when trying to outwit the Grey Man -- who, for the record, is my favorite character in the series. A badass hit man with a soft spot for medieval poetry? Yes, please. Then there's Joseph Kavinsky, Greenmantle and Piper, the Lynch brothers, and a whole host of others who bring the story to life.

Best Friend Group

Blue & the Raven Boys
Adam, Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Noah
Image from
The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue meeting Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah is the best thing since Harry met Ron and Hermione. Seriously, they have a fantastic group dynamic -- one of the best I've seen in any book. They all have really strong personalities, but they balance each other out perfectly. In short, I want to hang out with them.

Best Villain

The Darkling

The quote at which point you realize that all hope is lost.
Image from
The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Swoon. Seriously, the Darkling is all kinds of sexy, especially when you imagine him cutting a nice figure in his flowing black kaftan. But that's not why he's a great villain. The embodiment of darkness, he is cunning and ruthless, but he shows enough weaknesses -- for Alina, for his mother -- that he remains human. The fact that he doubles as a love interest makes him especially wonderful. Even though the Darkling and Alina spend most of the series plotting to kill each other, they tend to end up doubting that aim -- usually while making out.

Best Comic Relief

Noah Czerny

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Even though he's the least important, Noah is my favorite of the Raven Boys. He doesn't crack jokes, but his very presence amuses me. SPOILER ALERT. He's a ghost, and he is incredibly sensitive about being a ghost, especially when the other boys pick on him (i.e. when Ronan pushes him out a window just because he can). He also enjoys bad Irish music.

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