Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. I changed this week’s topic a bit. We were supposed to talk about villains, but I wasn’t really feeling that for some reason. So I decided to talk about some of my favorite ambiguous characters. Where you’re left wondering whether they are one of the good or bad guys…
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Often in fantasy novels with heists/con artists/gangs and guilds, you find yourself wondering whether you’re rooting for a hero. I guess you could say that pretty much all of the members of The Dregs are anti-heroes. I love each and every one of them so much.
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Darrow could also be classified as an anti-hero. I guess that could be said for every person on this list. This is the story of a rebellion, and Darrow is at the front. He does some truly horrifying things during the course of this story and it makes you wonder whether the end justifies the means.
The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch
Like I said with Six of Crows, these heist/thief groups can most often be classified as anti-heroes. You root for them as if they were heroes, but they are quite questionable to be honest. Locke is most definitely not a good person, yet he does good things as well and he’s so loyal and protective of his friends.
The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) by Rin Chupeco
What’s interesting about this book is that it’s told in two timelines: one where Tea learns she is an asha, a bone witch in particular, and starts her training, and one where she has been exiled. She clearly did something to get exiled to this creepy island, but maybe she had good reasons?
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Every person in this book is a terrible person, to be honest. Yet they all did some really good things too, and protected each other from harm in every way they could. Still, they killed one of their friends (not a spoiler!) so they can’t truly be good. But they’re not truly bad either… It’s hard to make up your mind.
Dark Legion (Blood of Blood #1) by Paul Kleynhans
The main character in this novel is an assassin, which means he’s done some villainous things -like kill people. But he is also a prince-turned-slave who has been tortured his entire life and has now escaped. So is he really a villain? Or is he a hero who is escaping and trying to take his country back.
Vicious (Villains #1) by V.E. Schwab
I think this one is a fairly obvious choice. There’s really no telling who the hero and who the villain is in this story as it all depends on perspective. To Eli, Victor is the obvious villain and he is doing the world a favor. To Victor, Eli is a villainous monster who needs to be stopped.
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Another choice that may be obvious. In this graphic novel, Nimona is a shapeshifter who wants to become the sidekick of a villain. Their plans are constantly stopped by the hero, who is truly the stereotype of a hero. By the end of the story, you are once again left wondering who the actual villain is, and how everything depends on someone’s perspective.
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
Almost every single character in this book could count for this topic. There are very few characters who have the characteristics of a true hero -and most of them are in the Stark family. It’s interesting to develop characters with such a loose sense of morality and ethics, and to see them grow and change due to the situations they’ve been placed in. There are a few who are very clearly villains though -looking at you, Cersei, and your less than wonderful son, Joffrey.
The Kiss of Deception (Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson
At the start of this book, the question of whether someone is a villain or hero is taken quite literally. This book follows princess Lia, who escapes to a small village instead of going through with her arranged marriage. Two guys are sent after her; one is the prince she was meant to marry, the other an assassin sent to kill her. You don’t know who is the prince or who is the assassin, so you really don’t know who is the villain or hero. But even after figuring it out, both characters are still not easy to place in one of the boxes.
I think it’s great to have characters you can’t really place in the hero or in the villain box immediately. No one is that good, or that horrible. Most people are somewhere in the middle; a villain in someone’s eyes, but a hero in another’s. Have you read any of these books? Which characters would you add to my list?