It has been a great year of books and I’m counting down the top 5 in 5 different categories from the list of books I’ve read this year leading up to my most anticipated reads of 2014 on New Year’s Day.
5. Eli/Victor/Serena (VICIOUS by V. E. SCHWAB)
They’ve all been antagonists in one or another in Vicious but what made them really stand out was the complexity behind the individuals that we normally see as “bad”. What Schwab does really well is given them motivations that we see in real life like warping religion to fit your needs and justifications. They’re not bad the entire time which makes them the baddies that you sometimes want to root for which is why Eli, Victor and Serena share the 5th spot on the list.
4. Billy Dent (GAME by BARRY LYGA)
I have never been so scared while reading a book and that was mostly due to Game’s resident psychopath, Billy Dent. When he’s not scarring his son for life by teaching him the ways of being a serial killer, he’s off freaking the crap out of readers doing what he does best *shivers*. I’m both terrified and excited to see more of Dent in the next book and secretly praying that there’s no way for literary characters to escape from the page…
3. Eleanor’s Step-Father: Richie (ELEANOR & PARK by RAINBOW ROWELL)
Nothing is scarier than real life monsters which the next three antagonists very much are. Eleanor & Park was such a beautiful story that dealt with a lot of real life issues including abuse and the star asshole is none other than Eleanor’s step-father, Richie. Without giving too much away, Richie makes home life for Eleanor, her siblings and mother really hard through abuse whether physical or psychological. Throw in poverty and it makes for a really difficult situation to get out of.
2. Josephine (Mother, Mother by Koren Kailckas)
Mothers are usually the most important figures in our lives and what they do often shapes who we are. That’s a scary thought if your mother is the most destructive person in your life. Josephine is a narcissist who does everything she can to have control and attention. This leads to a daughter who runs away, another daughter who lands in a psych ward, a 10 year old son who’s been psychologically warped and a husband who uses alcohol to drown it all. Josephine is the snake in the garden that you don’t know exists until it strikes.
1. Most of the Town of Pagford (THE CASUAL VACANCY by J. K. ROWLING)
Nothing pisses me off more than middle class ignorance in regards to those living in poverty or broken homes. The Town of Pagford is filled with people who want to get rid of the addiction clinic and have the Fields (a low income housing development next door) be dealt with financially by Yarvil (the big city nearby). Reasons such as “if you don’t want to continue doing drugs, just stop” or “you’re in your situation because you’re lazy” made me one to reach into there and shake some sense into these people. Unfortunately, this is thinking that we often see and why social programs get cut. It’s always easy to be judgemental of a situation you’ve never been in. Town of Pagford has the utmost honour of being the number antagonists I’ve read this year.
Who made your blood boil this year in books? Did they get in the heroes way or were they often not doing the right thing?
A. A. Omer