Top Ten Tuesday 38 - Character driven novels

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
  This week's theme: Top Ten Character-driven books

1. What would a list of character-driven novels be without the charismatic con artists, Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen? If you haven't read Lies of Locke Lamora, you really should. It's witty, intelligent, very emotional (heartbreaking at times, in fact), and tons of fun. Honestly, I would read anything with these two characters in them because no matter how crappy the other aspects of the books are (the third book was definitely lacking in a few ways...), Locke and Jean make it worthwhile.

2. Just because a novel is character driven doesn't mean you actually have to like them, right? Gone Girl has two complete wrecks as main characters and narrators, and no matter how ugly it gets, you just can't look away...

It's scary how charismatic Amy and Nick are. No matter how twisted they are, you still want to know their story. This book is intense!

3. I cannot say enough good things about Maddie and "Verity". These two have the type of friendship you only dream about, and manage to be incredible and brave but also intensely human and realistic. This book is really only a little about WWII; it's mostly a love letter to friendship.

4. Every Melina Marchetta book ever. Every last one of them. Creating heartbreakingly real characters who are equal parts flawed and strong is Marchetta's trademark, and I constantly have to remind myself that these people I'm reading about aren't real and that I have no reason to be soaking up my surroundings with tears (of the sad, joyful, and bittersweet variety).

5. The Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French is great. I love these novels because they can be read as stand-alones, but there are still subtle threads connecting them or minor characters that come to the forefront in different books. Each book focuses on a different detective, and the detective's past and personal struggles are always just as important as the murder they're trying to solve. These are some of my favorite mystery novels and I highly recommend them!

6. Who doesn't love a snarky Jinni? Bartimaeus is clever and humorous, but his relationship with humans and the things they accomplish are incredible. There is a real push and pull relationship between Bartimaeus and Nathaniel throughout this series, and the ending always has me clutching my heart. I loved this series as a child, and I still do!

7. Chava and Ahmed are the title characters of The Golem and the Jinni. Not only are these characters incredibly realistic (oh the irony), the minor characters are as well. You really get to see the immigrant experience of turn-of-the-century New York, and the book is slow, but gorgeously written and emotional.


8. Bruiser by Neal Shusterman is very unexpected. It's told from three perspectives, all written in distinct styles (it's very clever when you compare the narrative style to the characters' personalities!). The title character is a bit of an outcast who doesn't let people get too close to him. When you finally see the truth from his eyes, you just want to envelope him in a bear hug. This book is nothing without its characters, and I thought it was brilliant.


9. This book is fascinating because you get to see things from the perspective of not one but two antiheroes. Well, maybe a villain and a hero? Or two misguided, twisted people? The greatest thing about this book is that you are constantly revising your perception and judgments about the two main characters. It's great!

10. This series never ceases to surprise me. Each book centers around one new character, but all the old ones don't just fade into the background. If anything, all the characters grow and become far more complex and dynamic with each passing book. Despite all the technology and evil manipulation happening, this is still a very character-centric series.

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  1. YES! I completely agree with Locke Lamora, Lunar Chronicles, and Vicious! Such great books!

  2. They are! Honestly I would read cereal boxes if they had Locke and Jean on them - they're the greatest!

  3. Gone Girl is on my list too! I really need to get to reading the Lunar Chronicles soon!!

    Here's my list -

  4. Jolien De LandsheerOctober 7, 2014 at 5:04 AM

    I am reading the Lies of Locke Lamora right now; I like it so far but I've been in a reading slump so it's going quite slow... There are so many books on your list that have been on my to-read shelf for so long (like Gone Girl, Finnikin of the Rock, Code Name Verity). And I love the Lunar Chronicles so much -I need Winter right now. Great list!:)

    My list:

  5. Jessica @ a GREAT readOctober 7, 2014 at 6:02 AM

    Wow! These are pretty much new to me except for the Lunar Chronicles! Great picks!

    Here's my Tuesday Post

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower :)

  6. 1. Yes to every Marchatta book ever. She is brilliant. 2. LOVED Vicious, The Lunar Chronicles and Code Name Verity SO MUCH and could not agree more with you (although I picked Rose Under Fire for my list). 3. I am about to start The Lies of Lock Lamora so it makes me so happy/excited to see this on your list!

    Nicole @ The Quiet Concert

  7. Excellent picks! I can't wait to read the Tana French series. Typically I find that thrillers/mysteries are much more plot driven but I love that with a series the author has a chance to balance it out and spread the character development over multiple books.

  8. The Golem and the Jinni made my list too! Such a fantastic book! I loved the Lunar Chronicles too! Thanks for sharing :)

    Here are my Top Ten!

  9. Heh, as I was reading your list all I could think was, "NOOOOO, I haven't read anything on your list!!", but the I came across the "ALL THE MELINA MARCHETTA BOOKS IN THE GALEXY", so I have read TWO books on your list, which is quite dismal and should be fixed immediately x)
    My TTT!

  10. The Lunar Chronicles made my list too. Well I just put Cinder on there, but I was including the whole series in my head. I can't believe I didn't think about Code Name Verity! Great choices!

    Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know

  11. Locke and Jean were definitely the main (only?) things I liked about book three, sigh, but of course I will read book four the second I can get my hands on it because I have such hope that now that Lynch is over his divorce we can get back to witty shenanigans or at least epic world-building!

  12. I really need to read the rest of Marchetta's books. And you have now completely convinced me to read Bruiser. Shusterman's Unwind series is fantabulous, so I'm sure I'll love that one too.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  13. Nick and Amy are so bizarrely charismatic, aren't they? And yes, you do!

  14. Lies of Locke Lamora was the book that sucked me in after the first page. I love the characters, and it's just so much fun to read! I hope you get out of that slump soon because this book is worth finishing!

    That to-read list of yours shows that you have excellent taste ;)

  15. You have some books to add to your to-read list then! :)

  16. YES. To everything. I haven't read Rose Under Fire yet, which is why it wasn't on my list, but it's very high on my TBR pile!

    I'm so excited for you to start Lies! That book sucked me in so fast and I've been making everyone I know read it :)

  17. Yes, that's exactly why I love Tana French so much. She makes it more about the characters than the plot, although both are full of surprises!

  18. It was my favorite book of 2013. I cried of happiness at the end, and that has never happened before (or since)! I'm glad you enjoyed the Lunar chronicles too :)

  19. yes, that is quite dismal, which means you're going to fix that ASAP, right? :)
    I highly recommend all of these so let me know if you ever end up reading one!

  20. Thanks! Both of those series are so character driven - it was a no brainer for me :)

  21. I know, right? Book 3 was disappointing but I did enjoy the flashbacks. I was so annoyed with Sabetha being annoying (THAT WOMAN. UGH.) I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Thorn of Emberlain. It looks pretty epic!

  22. Yaaaaaaay! Yes go read all of those!

  23. Jolien De LandsheerOctober 9, 2014 at 2:02 AM

    Thank you! :D

    I think the slump is wearing off now, after rereading some of my favorite books and reading The Blood of Olympus. I think I'm going to pick up The Lies of Locke Lamora again.


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