Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I Wish Existed

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

I rarely if ever meet characters like the ones I’m about to describe to you, but I dream about reading about them someday. If you know of books in any genre featuring characters who match these descriptions, please do speak up!

A Hero Who Doesn’t Succeed

No, I’m not saying the antagonist absolutely must win. Maybe he or she could win! Or maybe someone else in the storyline defeats them instead. Either way, I’d be quite interested in meeting the Chosen One, investing in their journey, and then seeing what happens after their best shot at winning doesn’t work.

A Genuinely Unlikeable Protagonist

Think of someone who is not only an antihero but who just doesn’t seem like they’d be a pleasant person to spend time with in general. Perhaps they regularly meddle in other people’s affairs, have low emotional intelligence, or regularly offend people by never thinking before they speak. I don’t know why I’m so interested in reading about such unpleasant characters at the moment, but I am.

A Non-Canine Animal Protagonist

I’ve read several amazing books like The Art of Racing in the Rain that show the world through a dog’s eyes so convincingly that it almost felt as though actual dogs had been consulted during the writing of it. I wonder if there are any books out there written as though a cat or some other creature was telling the story?

A Magical World Based on Science

Okay, so obviously there is no scientific basis for magic in our world. I’d still love to read a fantasy, sci-fi, or similar book about a world where magic has a scientific explanation that is explained to the audience and that logically works with the particular physics/chemistry/biology of whatever planet it is set on.

Magic is an incredible thing to read about….I just wish the mechanics of it were explained better. To tie this better into this week’s prompt, maybe the main character could be a scientist who also performed magic?

Ideas, anyone?


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28 Responses to Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I Wish Existed

  1. Great list, Lydia! I’d love to see more chosen one stories where the chosen one doesn’t succeed, too. I believe Gideon the Ninth, out this autumn, is a science fantasy, so that one might have more of a science-based explanation for magic? I’d recommend N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy, too, if you haven’t read it – I love the way she plays around with magic and science.

  2. I think you’d really enjoy Wildspark by Vashti Hardy when it comes over to you!! A science-engineering meets Hogwarts meets souls captured in robot creatures – sounds like it might go towards your magical science point!!

  3. This is a very creative take on the topic! I agree about the non-canine MC — the books with dogs as MCs completely break my heart, and I want to see if it’s the same with any other animal too. I keep thinking about lions — mostly bc I keep seeing the trailer for The Lion King and I cannot wait to see that movie!

  4. I have recommendations for a few of these!

    1. Unlikeable protagonists: MARK LAWRENCE- either Prince of Thorns or Prince of Fools. Prince of Thorns is super dark and the MC is also a bad guy (just a heads up).

    Baby of the Family- I saw this author speak once and she mentioned that her GRs reviews were really poor because none of her characters are likeable.

    2: Science Fantasy- I believe, A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe has magic! I haven’t read this yet- but I know it also has science (I think). I know the magic through a lot of group readers off.

    Also- I would also like to know what happens when a Chosen One fails miserably.

    • Yay! Thank you for all of these recommendations. They sound right up my alley.

      (And sorry for the delay in response. I was travelling and didn’t have a lot of Internet time/access).

  5. Sorry for all the typos: threw* not through.

  6. Ove is a pretty unlikeable character. Have you read A Man Called Ove?

  7. I totally understand what you are saying about a book from a feline prospective. Racing in the Rain is so good. However, I read a lot of cozies and it seems like cats are ALWAYS represented. If you want something lighter, and sometimes from a cat’s perspective, check out cozies. They are EVERYWHERE!

    • I didn’t know cozy mysteries featured so many cats. That’s really interesting. Thanks. I’ll have to check some out. Do you have any specific recommendations?

  8. A magical world based on science…hmm. Have you ever read Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality? In it, Harry is raised by scientists, and when he is invited to Hogwarts he starts trying to figure out the rules. That’s not the only appeal, though. The author also revisits Snape, Squirril, and Draco. TERRIFIC.

  9. If you want a book with an unlikable protagonist, there’s always A Clockwork Orange. Also, I tried to read Lord Foul’s Bane, but couldn’t take the main character (Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever) because I disliked him so much. I never finished the book — but if you’re looking for an unlikable fantasy protagonist, he may be it.

    And for non-canine animal protagonists… I just read Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and while I didn’t enjoy it much, it’s told from the seagull’s POV which fits your request.

  10. What a true list of character traits we rarely see, though I think there are plenty of dog protagonists. My TTT Characters list

  11. I’d love to read a tale from the perspective of a cat! Tailchaser’s Song by Tad Williams comes to mind, although I read it years ago and don’t remember a lot- but it might be worth a look if you’re interested? I agree about magic based on science too.

  12. I keep hearing that Gunnar in Storytellers is unlikeable, yet the readers end up rooting for him. I never realised he was so unlikeable, maybe because I’ve spent too much time writing him? 🙂

    Deb mentions ‘A Man Called Ove’ ab-ove. (I’ll see myself out in a moment.) This one, for me, was less unlikeable and more second-hand embarrassing. I gave up around page 50.

    And ‘The Art of Dancing in the Rain’ goes on my TBR pile – I have to read a book written from the POV of a dog, regardless of what the book is about.

    • I think you’ll love “The Art of Dancing in the Rain.”

      It’s interesting to see how people’s opinions of your characters can differ from your own!

      And good to know about “A Man Called Ove.”

  13. I thought of more non-canine animal protagonists!

    Diane Duane’s Feline Wizards series (The Book of Night With Moon, To Visit The Queen, and The Big Meow)

    Kij Johnson’s The Cat Who Walked a Thousand Miles (just found out about this one so I haven’t read it yet)

  14. I don’t have recs for scientific-driven magic per se, but I remember thinking The Paper Magician series was a cool concept–the magician can only manipulate the element that he/she has been bonded to and it can only be man-made, ex. paper, metal, etc. There were some interesting applications as a result, including a paper dog companion:) Have you ever read Midnight Children by Salman Rushdie? For some reason, it came to mind.
    As far as unlikable protaganists, they’re tough and debatable but I know people hate Holden Caufield (me not included). I’ll put my thinking cap on for that one…

    • That does sound interesting. I haven’t read The Paper Magicina or Midnight Children, but now I’d like to check out both of them.

      Yeah, I wasn’t a fan of Holden Caufield. What did you like most about him?

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