Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Characters You’d Like To Check In With

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s prompt is Top Ten Characters You’d Like to Check In With and is described as being characters in books/series that are over “and you so just wish you could peek in on the “life” you imagine they are leading years down the line after the story ends”.

I can’t talk about them without spoiling the last book in the series, so here’s a list in no particular order:

1) Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire (and Beatrice Snicket!)

From Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (13 books)

2) Artemis Fowl (and Butler and Holly, obviously)

From Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series (8 books)

3) Charlie Bone and friends

From Jenny Nimmo’s under-rated Children of the Red King series (8 books)

4) Aislinn, Seth, Donia, Keenan, Niall, and the other faeries

From Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series (5 – technically 6 – books)

5) The Vampirates crew

From Justin Somper’s Vampirates series (6 books)

6) Gemma, Felicity, Ann, and (maybe) Pippa

From Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle trilogy (3 books)

7) Bartimaeus the demon

From Jonathan Stroud’s Bartemaeus Sequence (4 books)

8) Lydia, Emily and Cassie (and their respective boyfriends)

From Jaclyn Moriarty’s The Year of Secret Assignments (standalone, but technically part of the Ashbury/Brookfield books)

Sidenote: I love that it’s called Finding Cassie Crazy in the UK.

Fun fact: I have an ARC of it, and it was the first time I learned that there was such as thing as advanced copies (I was 14 and my sister had got it from work).

9) Audrey/James, Victoria/Jonah

From Robin Benway’s Audrey, Wait! (standalone)

10) ALL THE WITCHES AND WIZARDS FROM Harry Potter

Do I even need to tell you who wrote this series?

Sidenote: Yeah, there’s all the extra content on Pottermore, so maybe I’d get my fix if I actually logged in once in a while, but I’m sure most HP fans will agree: sometimes I just want random details about their day-to-day lives. In book form. So that I can read it forever.

BONUS:

Rachel Watts and James Mycroft

From Ellie Marney’s Every series

Technically the last book has not been released in North America, but I’ve read it and it was wonderful, and I just want 5346984 more stories about Rachel and James. Wattscroft forever!

Desert Tales – Melissa Marr

New year, updated look for Fiction Friday! Man, it’s been a while since I read a not-work-related book.

Desert Tales – Melissa Marr

The Mojave Desert was a million miles away from the plots and schemes of the Faerie Courts—and that’s exactly why Rika chose it as her home. The once-mortal faery retreated to the desert’s isolation after decades of carrying winter’s curse inside her body. But her seclusion—and the freedom of the desert fey—is threatened by the Summer King’s newfound strength. And when the manipulations of her trickster friend, Sionnach, thrust Rika into a new romance, she finds new power within herself—and a new desire to help Sionnach protect the desert fey and mortals alike. The time for hiding is over.

I knew that there had been a manga version of Desert Tales but I didn’t know it had been turned into a novel until late last year. Since I’m a huge Wicked Lovely fan and generally enjoy Melissa Marr (with one exception), I had to check it out.

It was good. It wasn’t stellar, but it wasn’t horrible either. I think my main problem was that I didn’t love any of the characters.

Rika had a pretty good character arc as she slowly embraces her powers, but it just takes forever. I’m not sure how long she had been the Winter Girl and I’ve never been clear on when Donia took over, but she (Rika) wallowed in self-pity for a really long time before she decided to take charge. She came across as quite wishy-washy, and, while I understand why (Keenan totally screwed her over), I just feel like she didn’t bother making an effort to get past it until Sionnach literally dragged her out of her (literal) cave.

I wasn’t completely sold on her relationship with Jayce, he was sort of bland (maybe because I just compare all of Marr’s heroes to Seth from Wicked Lovely who I hardcore love…) and I couldn’t figure out how I felt about Sionnach. At first, I thought he would be “bad” i.e. that he was Rika’s friend who would end up betraying her for his own selfish reasons. I was fully prepared to like him as a Dark Court-esque faery, but he wasn’t as brooding as Niall or as charismatic as Irial.  Sure, he was occasionally endearing, but he was so manipulative. I don’t care if he’s a fox faery and that’s just what they’re like, he came perilously close to crossing the boundary between “I do this because I love you” and “I do this because I’m controlling”. Once a male character gets too controlling, I lose interest.

Also Malli reminded me of Bananach (who shows up in later Wicked Lovely books), except less cuckoo-for-cocoa-puffs (and, by extension, less interesting to read about). Bananach had such a fantastic personality – like a faery-version of Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange – and her threats were actually backed by power, whereas Malli was all “I could challenge you for Alpha status, but I won’t. But I could, you know.” Not quite the same effect as Bananach letting loose and trying to kill everyone.

I wonder how the story plays out in the mangas. When it was turned into a novel, she obviously had to flesh the story out a little more, and her descriptions are still as evocative as always. There are some really well written moments, but I just couldn’t connect with her characters this time around.

10 Books That Have Never Left You

There’s a “thing” (a Facebook note or something) that’s been going around asking a variation of the question: what ten books have stayed with you (in some way) after reading them?

I found out about this from a Writer’s Digest post, and decided to try it myself. The point is that you’re not supposed to think too hard, but I over-think everything, so this took me longer than it should have.

Sidenote: these aren’t in order and they’re not necessarily my favourite books (not all of them, anyway). They’re just books that stand out for me.

Also: SPOILERS ABOUND. You’ve been warned.

1) Ella Enchanted – Gail Carson Levine

I’ve read this book so many times, my 16 year old copy is falling apart and there’s tape on one page from when I accidentally ripped it (and cried), but it’s one of my absolute favourites. Don’t talk to me about the movie, though.

Favourite chapter: Hard to choose, but I’d have to say the letters between Ella and Char. No matter how many times I read it, I still feel all warm and fuzzy the first time Char tells her he loves her.

2) Audrey, Wait! – Robin Benway

The characters are so real, I want to be friends with them. Plus so many music references – as Audrey said, “You’re finally speaking my language!”

Favourite quote: “If you really want to know something about me, you should know this: I like my music loud. I mean loud. I’m not talking the kind of loud where your parents knock on your bedroom door and ask you to turn it down. Please. That’s amateur hour. When I say loud, I mean you-can’t-even-hear-your-parents-knocking-and-the-neighbors-are-putting-a-FOR-SALE-sign-on-their-house-and-moving-to-another-block-because-they-can’t-handle-the-constant-noise-anymore loud. You have to turn it up so that your chest shakes and the drums get in between your ribs like a heartbeat and the bass goes up your spine and fizzles your brain and all you can do is dance or spin in a circle or just scream along because you know that however this music makes you feel, it’s exactly right.”

3) Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling

Do I even need to say anything?

Best back story: Prisoner of Azkaban (it was my favourite for the longest time) – the Marauders were amazing; and

Best series ending: Deathly Hallows – I love how she tied everything together.

4) Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White

Probably my earliest experience with death in a book. I remember being devastated when Charlotte died (I was about 7. This was also the one and only time I was sad about a spider’s death). My oldest sister (Vanessa) read it to me around the same time we read Anne of Green Gables together and it was an emotional year (Matthew’s death traumatized me for life).

Tearjerking moment: when three of Charlotte’s children decide to stay with Wilbur…even though the idea of a sack of spider eggs freaks me out.

5) Coraline – Neil Gaiman

Ask me again in a couple of years, and I’ll likely have replaced Coraline with Neverwhere (heck, half this list will probably be Gaiman-ized by then). A lot of Coraline’s story stayed with me in the 10+ years between my first and second reading of it: the dismembered hand, the button eyes…Scary but oh so good.

Creepiest scene in a children’s book: the three ghost children behind the mirror, especially when they explain that the Other Mother has their souls.

6) The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton

We read it in grade seven and it was my favourite book we were ever required to read. Plus Hinton was only in her teens when she wrote it, which makes it even more impressive. My dad read it relatively recently and I kept flipping through it whenever he put it down. The ending made (makes) me cry.

Memorable quote: “Stay gold, Ponyboy.”

7) Wicked Lovely series – Melissa Marr

Easily one of the best YA fairy series I’ve read (sounds specific but you’d be surprised at how many YA fairy series there actually are). Extremely well written and fascinating. Also had one of the best series’ ending.

Best bromance despite being from separate courts: Seth, the Summer Queen’s beloved/the High Queen’s adopted son, and Niall, the Dark King – especially in my favourite book, Fragile Eternity (#3). They’ve always been my favourite characters, and I loved that they both had bigger roles in the second half of the series.

8) Gemma Doyle trilogy – Libba Bray

Admittedly, I don’t remember many of the details from this trilogy, but Libba Bray is one of my favourite authors and I’ve always loved her writing style. On my “to re-read” list.

Memorable scene: That time when Kartik turned into a tree and fans had a collective heart attack. I was distraught, at the time, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Plus The Sweet Far Thing was the first book to set me on the “endings don’t always have to be happy” route, which has definitely influenced me as a reader and a writer.

9) Archer’s Goon – Diana Wynne Jones

It took two readings before I fully figured out what happened. She took a basic idea (boy who doesn’t know he has powers) and exploded it into something completely new. You think you know what’s going on but then there’s the bombshell at the end and you’re all “WHAAAAAT the heck just happened?” Extremely well done.

Best set of siblings: Torquil and Hathaway. And Awful gets a shout out because, despite what her nickname suggests, she was hilarious.

10) Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen

A bookworm who has trouble separating fiction from reality – I relate to Catherine Morland on so many levels. (Sidenote: the “retelling” by Val McDermid is only good if you like stupidly stereotypical teen protagonists).

Best (Austen) hero (in my opinion): Henry Tilney. Mr. Darcy’s great and all, but you have to give Mr. Tilney props: he knows full well how naive and silly Catherine can be and yet still puts up with her. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.