I have been asked before why I rated a book so high when I had nothing nice to say about any of the characters. In essence, how can you love a book if you hate the characters?
I will be one of the first to say that characters are one of the most important components to a good novel. BUT, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be good people. Take your favorite villain for example – I am going to use Regina because she spent quite a bit of time at the top of my villains list. And, for good reason. Regina is an integral part of the Once Upon a Time story because, what is the story of Snow White without the Evil Queen? Just a happily every after. BO-RING. Of course, I want my protagonists to succeed . . . in the END. Without the conflict that villains (characters we love to hate) provide, we have no story. Or at least, not a very good one.
But Megan, those books all have heroes and likeable characters, too. What about a book where you don’t like ANY of the characters?
That’s when you have characters like Becca and her “friends” in 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough. This is a prime example of a book that I enjoyed but could not stand the characters. Becca, the main protagonist, was an extremely insecure girl who got dumped by her “best friend” years ago. Now the “best friend” decides she needs Becca’s help and that they can be friends again. The rest of the characters really weren’t much better. The thing about this book, though, is that the plot was really well done and it kept me wondering what was going to happen. And these very unlikable characters moved the story forward perfectly.
Let me add a little disclaimer here . . . a character still needs to be well-written for the book to be enjoyable. I’m not talking about characters you feel nothing for. This is all about those characters you love to hate because they elicit that STRONG EMOTIONAL RESPONSE.
What was the last book you read where you wanted to wring the characters’ necks but the book itself made it onto your Top Reads? Let us know in the comments below and if you have a discussion topic you’d like us to tackle, shout that out, as well 🙂 And, as always, thanks for reading!