Tuesday, August 22, 2017

My Top Ten YA Heroes / Love Interests

My Top Ten YA Heroes / Love Interests

As our theme this month is heroes, I thought I’d indulge in one of my favourite past times – thinking about fictional men. So, here’s my top ten heroes/love interests from YA. You might notice most of these are from SFF novels, so I apologise for the lack of genre diversity, but it’s the genre of which I read the most. Also, anyone who knows me knows that Snape will forever be my favourite male character invented, so for purposes of giving other characters a chance, I’ve left him off this list.  (Snape, my love – “Always.”)
Let me know if you agree with my list or not in the comments below, and add your own favourites!

10. Raffe - Angelfall - Susan Ee
A personal favourite, Raffe is on his own mission in Angelfall and doesn’t become so completely eclipsed by his love for the main character that he forgets his own agenda. He’s strong but not invincible, and has no objections to Penryn saving him once in a while. Go get them wings, Raffe!

9. Jack – Blood Red Road – Moira Young
Although at first introduction it may seem at first that Jack has popped up to provide the romance element of Blood Red Road, by the end of the novel Moira Young has made it clear Jack has his own path, which doesn’t necessarily follow the same of that of our main character. He resists a system which very possibly could treat him well because of his morals, which is a great hero quality.

8. Peeta – The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
Ah Peeta, I still remember falling in love with him for the first time during Hunger Games, and somehow even the thought of him covered in cake icing hiding in a ravine was cute (not so much in the film though eh?) His thoughtful, caring nature was so out of place in that cruel world that he became an unlikely hero. His love for Katniss is a quiet, unassuming love, and doesn’t try to dominate to book. Ten out of ten points for Peeta the perseverer.

7. Jace - The Mortal Instruments - Cassandra Clare
OK, so Jace is typically good looking and with sculpted cheekbones and great mouth, but everyone knows it’s not physical looks which make a hero. Jace has a troubled past and a hard relationship with his father, making him more than just a 2D love interest. He’s powerful, strategic and his wit is as sharp as dem face bones.

6. Simon – Carry On - Rainbow Rowell
Simon is the perfect way to invert the Chosen One trope. All his life he’s been hailed as the hero to save all others, but Simon feels like a failure most of the time. Despite that, and all this unsolicited responsibility heaped at his feet, he keeps going - that makes a true hero to me. Add to that a killer sense of humour and a riveting romance, and Simon more than deserves his place on this list.

5.  Micah – Pantomime – Laura Lam
I don’t want to say too much about Micah in case I give away any spoilers, but they are talented, clever and totally motivated by clear goals. The character development in Pantomime is sublime and really takes the reader alongside the hero’s journey.

4. Otieno – Shadows on the Moon - Zoe Marriott
Shadows on the Moon is one of my favourite books. It shows that heroes and heroines come via all personality types, and don’t have to be unflinchingly brave or with all the right answers and actions. Otieno is not just a loyal, long-lasting love interest, he has also had to deal with his own tumultuous past and an uncertain future. He supports the main character but doesn’t try to take over her story or alter her quest. I’d love to read a book just about him!

3. Valek - Poison Study – Maria V. Snyder
First of all – Valek has a beard! Yey for love interests with beards! Secondly, Valek again has his own agenda and moral compass that exists outside of his love for Yelena (can you notice the common theme here?). The fact that Yelena knows his loyalty to the Commander will always come first makes him more than your standard do-anything-for-my-love love interest. He also can climb down buildings like a spider in a black catsuit – awesome.

2. Jaz – Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo
Cunning. Clever. Deadly. This is one guy you don’t want to be on the wrong side off, and that makes me want to be on the right side of him. (Minds out of the gutter, please.) His backstory is poignant and you can realistically see why he is the way he is today. He also cares about those who are in his inner circle, despite not trusting anyone. Jaz is a brilliant example of a complex character who can want and chase after conflicting ideals.

1. Akiva – Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor
Akiva has all the assets I would list as a MUST HAVE if I were to place an ad in the lonely-hearts column.
a)       A killer backstory
b)      Undying, loyal love
c)       Complicated familial relationships
d)      Can fly
e)      Made mistakes but wants to rectify them
Seriously, Akiva makes a brilliant hero. As lots of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series is from his POV, he is as important as the main character to bring us through the action, and subsequently we really get into his head. His story is mesmerizing, and I love a character who has their own family and friends to deal with, instead of living in isolation as a love interest to the main character.

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