Favorite Book Antiheroes (Part 1)
What is it about antiheroes that sucks us in and makes us fiercely loyal to our fictional baddies? They are often self-focused and only do the right thing when it suits them or when the few people they care about are in danger. Or they're heroic, but it's delivered in a blunt manner that keeps the most distance between themselves and others (hi, Batman).
In essence, they're so . . . human. And it's addicting to follow characters whose arcs grow to include the well-being of others when they initially only looked out for themselves.
Without further ado, here are some of my favorite antiheroes! (In no particular order >->).
Kaz Brekker - Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
“Greed is your god, Kaz."
He almost laughed at that. "No, Inej. Greed bows to me. It is my servant and my lever.” - Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows
Kaz of Six of Crows puts the anti in antihero. In fact, if the story wasn't told from his perspective, he'd probably be the villain. He's unabashedly greedy, ruthless, and full of so much hatred and vengeance. He's also admirably Machiavellian.
“You'll get what's coming to you some day, Brekker."
"I will," said Kaz, "if there's any justice in the world. And we all know how likely that is.” - Six of Crows
And yet, Kaz is fiercely loyal to his criminal crew The Crows, whom he considers family—even if he keeps them all at arm's length.
“Crows remember human faces. They remember the people who feed them, who are kind to them. And the people who wrong them too. They don’t forget. They tell each other who to look after and who to watch out for.” - Leigh Bardugo, Crooked Kingdom
Manon Blackbeak / Dorian Havilliard / Lorcan Salvaterre - Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
Manon is the leader of the Blackbeak witch coven and was raised as a villain, a heartless killer. Over the course of the series, she learns more about the corruption of the covens and the role she's been indoctrinated into.
Though she's still brutal, distrusting, and cold, Manon gradually comes to care about humans and a cause outside her coven that she would lay down her life for.
“Whatever doesn’t kill me better start running.” - Sarah J. Maas, Heir of Fire
Prince Dorian Havilliard starts out a hero and, through trauma, becomes harsher and more deadly until he's a bona-fide antihero. Though he's still determined to save his kingdom and friends, he's much less discerning about the methods used to achieve that goal.
I was not supposed to love you. The woman had said that—and then she died. She should not have loved him, and he should not have dared to love her. He deserved this darkness, and once the invisible boundary shattered and the waiting thing pounced, infiltrating and filling him . . . he’d have earned it. - Queen of Shadows
Lorcan can control darkness, which suits him, as he's eternally brooding and pissy. Without anything or anyone to live for, he became unsympathetic and difficult to reason with.
Fortunately, he meets someone who teaches him that there's plenty to strive for. He does end up on a heroic path, but if anything happened to the one person he cares about, he'd probably just throw his hands up and let the world burn.
Lorcan had been born from and gifted with darkness. Returning to it was not a difficult task.
But letting that glimmering, lovely light before him die out . . . In his ancient, bitter bones, he could not accept it.
She had been forgotten—by everyone and everything. And still she had hoped. And still she had been kind to him.
And still she had offered him a glimpse of peace in the time he'd known her. - Empire of Storms
Geralt of Rivia - The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski
As a fan of the books and video games before the Netflix series released, I am so happy to see so much Geralt love. The most painful thing about our favorite Witcher is how hard he tries to be your typical White Knight hero. He keeps his own code of honor and stops evil and injustice where he sees it.
But he also makes mistakes. The brutal world he lives in forces him to make horrible choices again and again, so that he's gruff and hard to get close to.
“Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.” - Andrzej Sapkowski, The Last Wish
Having grown up in the brutal Winter Court of the Unseelie, Ash is all too used to cutthroat behavior and sadistic deals. While he has a tragic backstory like all our lovely antiheroes, he's also done plenty of heartless things in his life that he feels he has to atone for when he starts opening up to people.
“He shook his head, examining the wound again. “It's not frostbitten,“ he muttered. “It'll blister, but you should be fine. You might only lose a couple fingers.“
I glanced at him sharply, but he was smirking. For a moment, I was speechless. Good God, the Ice Prince was making jokes now; the world must be ending.” - Julie Kagawa, The Iron King
Thanks for reading up on some of my darker character favorites! Are any of these on your list? If you haven't given these books a try, well *nudges them towards you*.