It’s time to speak of my favourite topic of them all: VILLAINS.
Come settle down with a dark chocolate truffle cake and get comfy so we can have AN EXISTENTIAL CRISIS TOGETHER OVER HOW MUCH WE LOVE VILLAINS AND HOW MILDLY CONCERNING THAT IS. But before I launch into my list of books that are actually (sneakily) by the perspective of villains, I want to explain why villains are my favourite. Because you’re totally curious. *
* And even if you’re not curious, guess what? YOU GET TO KNOW ALL THE REASONS ANYWAY because my #2 life skill is talking about dark-hearted cinnamon rolls. (My #1 life skill, by the way, is cake. Cake is a complete life skill.)
- Their thought process is intensely intriguing. Like Tom Hiddleston said “Every villain is a hero in his own mind.” <– That right there? That is sucks me in. I love analysing how they think and their justification processes. Excuse me while I just flail over THE BRAIN.
- Villains have complex plots. Well, there should be complexity and if there’s not the following consequences are (A) I am an angry grape of strife over wasted potential, (B) the villain is just a sneezing joke because no one wants paper plate villains. THIS IS NOT A PICNIC. Now back on topic — I adore the complexity of villains’ plots. Because it shouldn’t be “I woke up this evil mwahhah”…there should be reasons. My very very favourite is: doing evil to do good. BECAUSE THAT TWISTS YOUR BRAIN AND LOVE THAT.
- Cookies from the dark side. Because dark chocolate is the best and OBVIOUSLY that’s what cookies from the dark side are made out of. I want.
- The tortured tragic villains are, ultimately, my favourite. Excuse me while I become a puddle of squish in the face of a villain who never MEANT TO BE BAD but life was cruel to them. They need love. They need warm pretzels. Everything will be okay, slightly-psychopathic smol child.
- And even if I hate the villain with the power of a thousand suns…I appreciate that. Like, make me feel things, mate. All the things. I want to rage against an unfair dark-souled-slightly-squinty Sauron too. Epic stories need epic villains.
- I just adore morally grey stabby complex characters. Heroes, villains, innocent bystanders, a local cat — I don’t care, if they’re morally-grey, I just love ’em. Who wouldn’t??
Today’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is, obviously, all about VILLAINS so let’s discuss evil that DOES NOT SLEEP. Also, I’m not going to sit here and call ALL VILLAINS adorable cinnamon rolls. Some I want to smack in the face. For instance: Voldemort is like the worst kind of burnt toast. * But I still have 938 questions about what made him like that and why. SEE? VILLAINS ARE INTRIGUING.
And things that make me curious = I love it.
Today’s post really focuses on the more anti-hero style villains, who are my favourites. I love tragic villains because they have elements of reedemableness ** in them. And that just makes them even more complex and interesting. And also just dark books are my favourite. #TrueStory
AND ALSO I JUST REALLY LIKE COOKIES, STABBINESS, AND THE DARK SIDE. ***
* Not true. UMBRIDGE IS THE WORST KIND OF BURNT TOAST.
** Apparently this isn’t a word? #rude
*** Oh, and also: yes I swear I’m a normal nice creature. I don’t get library fines. I wear matching socks. I clean my room and pet my dog. I mean, sometimes I talk about magnanimously taking over the world and reigning supreme as evil overlord dragon queen of all. But, you know. I can be whatever I want.
1. SIX OF CROWS DULOGY
Deja vu? Wasn’t I just flailing over these books YESTERDAY? TRUE. I WAS. BUT HERE I AM TO FLAIL AGAIN BECAUSE INFINITE FLAILING IS NEEDED. (Sorry my all caps key got stuck…hahhhahahah. It totally didn’t. I’m just that obsessed with this series.) This is my favourite band of villainous misfits of EVER. Kaz is terrifying and tragic and a genius. All synonyms for “Cait Will Like This Book”. Plus Kaz is my favourite of villain because he can (A) be evil as the dark side of the moon, but (B) also has panic attacks and cannot talk to his crush because #anxiety.
Be still my darkly beating heart.
2. PRINCE OF THORNS
This is actually an adult fantasy despite the protagonist being 14…because IT’S SERIOUSLY VERY DARK AND VIOLENT. And actually there is no way I like Jorg. He is evil. But the story is brilliant. So somehow that works?? But Jorg is Game of Thrones level despicable although he has occasional kind moments which are baffling to us all and his sass is on point.
3. ROCKS FALL EVERYONE DIES
Okay but firstly: DARN YOU LIBRARY BOOKS AND YOUR SHINY WRAPPERS.
And now that that’s out of the way — I liked this one! I enjoyed it more in retrospect than while reading because Aspen is an A+ jerk. He has the magical ability to steal from people. Thoughts, ideas, feelings, motivations etc etc. And he manipulates a girl into being with him and he’s horrible to his friends and — oh wait. HE’S A VILLAIN. Technically his whole family is kind of villainous. So A++ for making me hate you and also be intrigued by the entire story, Aspen.
Because apparently all my lists must have SCHWAB ON THEM THESE DAYS. Vicious is a super-villain origin story and it’s so freaking brilliant I CANNOT EVEN. It features two villains and you’ll honestly not know who is the “right” side. They’re both awful. Everything is awful. Except for (A) the adorable little mostly dead girl, and (B) the huge brutish tech guy who likes chocolate milk.
I love this book. I LOVE THIS BOOK. I lost my sense somewhere along the line because one shouldn’t probably love villains as much as I do for this book. I’d be sorry? But I’m not.
5. CURSEWORKER TRILOGY
CRIME !! FAMILIES !! That’s all I can say.
No wait. I can say more. Because this is magical realism with MAFIA and people who’s touch can curse you and a simply delightfully sassy sociopath protagonist whom I basically adore over all things. Cassel is actually downright scary at the end, but hey, he tries to be good and can honestly be a real sweetie. And then con you so bad. Lovely.
Did I mention CRIME FAMILIES?!?!?!
6. V IS FOR VILLAIN
Surprise! This is a super-villain origin story. YOU DIDN’ SEE THAT COMING, HUH, HUH?? Anyway, despite it’s alternative title being C is for Cliche * I still think this is a fun story! I mean, I think I do??? It’s been 39 years since I read it. And I don’t even know what I ate for lunch yesterday, let alone what I read back in 2014. **
* SORRY I COULDN’T EVEN RESIST MAKING A BAD PUN HERE.
** 2014 was 2 years ago, not 39 years ago. But it’s only a slight difference and don’t get so hung up on the details omg.
7. HOW TO LEAD A LIFE OF CRIME
I sooo need to re-read this because I remember LIKE NEXT TO NOTHING except for the fact it’s one of my favourite books ever. A school to turn you into a psychopath/sociopath??! With the protagonist being a tragic little cinnamon roll that is equal parts scary and adorable?? I CAN’T EVEN WITH THE LEVELS OF APPRECIATION HERE. *
* Fun Story: I bought my copy at a library sale and TORE THE COVER trying to get the stickers off. So you will only ever see the spine to hide my shame. Also this is not a fun story. Who said it was??? Who is writing this post because they are fired.
8. MY SISTER ROSA
This is technically cheating because the story is from Chee’s perspective, but his little sister Rosa is the psychopath. BUT STILL. Chee does some thing that made me go “Um, but wait dude, you are eating cookies from the dark side yourself there” so onto the list it goes!
Plus I just needed a chance to flail because this book is downright brilliant. It’s diverse, it’s an Aussie author, it’s gloriously written, it’s kind of terrifying.
I am pleased.
9. AND I DARKEN
Because the world needs a Vlad the Impaler retelling…GENDER BENT. Woooo for actually scary YA females! Lada will actually stab you in the face and was yelling “SMITE INFIDELS” from the age of, like, 2. You know she’s going to be fun at parties in the future.
By the way: I started off rating this book 3-stars, but now it’s like one of my top-read books of the year??! I just love it so much in retrospect that I WANT TO RE-READ. What is this dark wizardry.
10. HALF BAD TRILOGY
And lastly WELCOME TO MY FAVOURITE TRAGIC WITCH STORY. This is fully a villain origin story, but it’s the “let’s do evil to do good” tale which melts me every time. Everyone is horrible to Nathan. He’s so abused and yet so precious and — fair warning — this series will STAB YOU IN THE FACE WITH FEELINGS. But it’s so so good. Plus it contains a fair amount of sass. Hey I’m sensing a pattern here…so many sassy villains??? *
* You know what this means, right?! I have my moments of glorious wit = ergo I’m obviously in the prime position to take over the world and eat it maliciously mwhaahhahh. Ahem.