How I love me some villains. If a book has a good villain, it likely wins an extra star from me. It's hard to do, and many authors don't do it successfully.
I've actually been pretty disappointed with villains recently. Take Gone by Michael Grant. The two villains (Caine and Drake) are very one sided-- the way their "evilness" is described is basic psychosis. They are just inherently evil. That's really boring in my opinion. That said, Diana, the other baddie, is really intriguing to me. She calls herself the "bad girl," but then she makes decisions that "helps" other people. Allegedly, she still does it for her own gain, but I have my suspicions. To me, she is the most interesting character in the book.
Even great authors such as Orson Scott Card, whose Ender books still remain on my top favorite books of all time, struggle with this issue. Take Achilles from the Shadow series. He was just born that evil. Again, very two dimensional.
I absolutely LOVE when we can't even figure out who the evil person is because they are so three dimensional. One of my new favorite books is Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. We are led to believe that Anna is an evil ghost that must be killed because she is inherently evil just by being paranormal. But is she? I love how Blake makes it so hard to dislike her, even though she is set up initially to be the Big Bad. To me, that is a huge triumph.
Another couple of recent reads come to mind. Neither of these books are perfect, but one thing they have going for them are their villains. Pale by Chris Wooding is a new novella that centers on an unpleasant boy who really is no more than a bully. To me, he is the evil character. But we see him develop throughout the story, and come to terms with what he has done and who he used to be, and to me, this is the true strength of the novella.
The second book that comes to mind, is Insignia, by SJ Kincaid. While I struggled with how it patterned other books (i.e. Harry Potter and Ender's Game), one of the coolest characters I've seen recently was the "villain," Medusa. Again, it's tough to say, is she really the villain? In some ways, I think the main character ends up being the real villain. But the fact that it's hard to say speaks volumes for how three dimensional these characters are.
Who are your favorite villains and why?
Don't forget to enter some great giveaways!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway