Monday, December 19, 2016

TOP TEN TUESDAY | Favorite Characters of 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme for bloggers who like books and lists. It's awesome and is graciously hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I'm going off script this week. The assigned topic was books (or other things) that we're hoping Santa brings but that's not how my reading works.  I'm a whim reader-buyer.  

Instead I am going to do one of my favorite end of the year lists (which isn't one that The Broke and the Bookish does) which is the characters that I encountered this year that really made an impression.  These aren't necessarily characters from books published in 2016 just books I read this year, most of which are backlist. Here goes...


Laura Elliston 
From Sawbones by Melissa Lenhardt

I've mentioned Sawbones a few times now as a favorite read this year and much of that was because of its prickly, arrogant, smart, funny and compassionate heroine.  Laura Elliston (aka Dr. Catherine Bennett) felt very real, both admirable and flawed.  

Minerva Dobbs and Calvin Morrissey 
From Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

It is hard not to love both of the protagonists in this romantic comedy.  Min is such a practical soul who expresses her more creative side in her footwear and razor sharp wit.  Beside some commitment issues, Cal is pretty hard to beat - he's charming, funny, romantic, kind and more interested in the substance of a woman's character than her looks.  Dreamy!

Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes 
From A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

I loved this YA modern-day take on Holmes and Watson and I think Cavallaro hit a home run writing her two protagonists.  Charlotte really feels like a teenage, female version of Sherlock Holmes and Jamie while being the perfect sidekick and friend is developed more deeply than the original Watson.

Lord Peter Wimsey 
From The Peter Wimsey series by Dorothy L. Sayers

Lord Peter Wimsey is an iconic character at this point - the foolish-seeming aristocrat in 1920s London who uses this good-nature to hide his very keen intellect.  His turn of phrase and wit is to die for as well!

Jessica Trent 
From Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

This is a classic in the Regency Romance sub - genre and for good reason  - It's brilliant, particularly in its capable, intelligent, take-no-crap, I'll-shoot-you-don't-think-I-won't heroine.  Jessica is amazing and has such a great head on her shoulders which she needs to be able to reform the disaster which is the Marquess of Dain.

Ronan Lynch 
From The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Technically, I met Ronan in 2015 when I started reading the Raven Cycle but it wasn't until reading The Raven King - finishing his arc - that I really grew to love his poor, tortured, dear, romantic soul.  Maggie Stiefvater is so good at writing interesting characters I'd love to know!

Joe and Bazil Coutts 
From The Round House by Louise Erdrich

Initially, I wanted to just include Bazil, Joe's father, who is a quiet but poignant part of the story but I realized that the narrator Joe was also very special to me.  It feels a bit traitorous to pick the two men in a story about a woman's sexual assault but I found their story, their anger, despair, feelings of helplessness and their relationship with each other to be really compelling.
Kell Maresh 
From A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Kell is an enigmatic young man who is highly valued for his special talent but who feels like he is maybe not valued for himself.  He's a fascinating character and just so cool.

From Longbourn by Jo Baker

Sarah is a servant of the Bennett family at Longbourn and she's such a lovely subtle character.  She's smart and is just reaching an age where she is questioning her lot in life.  We meet her at such a perfect moment in her life and get to see her escape a life of servitude - it's lovely!

Mrs. Pollifax 
From The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman

Mrs. Pollifax is a very proper middle-aged widow whose children have left home and she's bored.  What's there to do?  Why barge into CIA headquarters and offer your services as a spy, of course.  Mrs. Pollifax is utterly charming and clever while also practical and a surprisingly good...and tough...spy!

Grandfather Zook 
From Appleseed Creek Series by Amanda Flower

Finally, Grandfather Zook.  He's a cheeky old Amish fellow who comes from a liberal Amish community into the more conservative Appleseed Creek Community to live with his daughter.  He's mischeivous and fun, likes to annoy his conservative and serious son-in-law by being a champion for his grandchildren who have decided to leave the Amish and takes a special delight in Englischer cop slang.  He's adorable.

This year was actually not a great year for characters, at least not compared to the last two years.  I mean last year I met Gus MacCrae (from Lonesome Dove) who quickly earned a spot on my top ten favorite characters of all time and 2014 had both Peter Grant (from Ben Aaronovitch's Peter Grant series) AND Mark Watney ( The Martian) who both top my list of fictional book characters I'd date in a heartbeat. This year was more of a grab bag, with many characters I liked but none that I was truly gaga over.  Still not a bad year!

How about you?  Do any of these lovely fictional folks have a place in your heart?  What were the characters you met this year that stole your heart? 

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