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Recommendations > Fascinating YA villains

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message 1: by Stormraised (new)

Stormraised | 47 comments Hello,
Firstly I`ll try to apologise myself – English isn`t my first language, so, please, forgive me all my terrible mistakes (or let me know about them).
I`m fan of well-constructed villains. I think that there`s very few interesting for me evils, so I`m asking for help: do you know some others?

I`ll try to make a list with all interesting for me features. Sorry if I repeat something – I just feel my preferences are strange and I am not eloquent enough to give a nice description… I just try to make it as clear as it`s possible.

1. The character must be truly evil, not pretending to be so to trick somebody, not being forced to bad by bad father. He shouldn`t change magically for a great love, he shouldn`t only be described as “the villain” to create atmosphere, without any facts and scenes from books which validate such moral evaluation.
I hate when a villain immediately turns to be a nice guy or when the author starts to justify all previous actions of character. So: the Warner from “Shatter me” was perfect. The one in “Ignite me” was for me terrible to read about.

2. The character has to be fascinating (I know it`s not objective). Kind of person who comes to the room and everybody stop breathing.
Nice features are:
- intelligence (witty comebacks or planning perfect strategy)
- power and ambitions, obsession to control everyone
- selfishness
- ruthlessness, EITHER indifference to suffering OR having fun from it
- manipulating skills, treating others like a toys
- He can be EITHER almost crazy, unpredictable and therefore dangerous, with mood swings OR well-controlling himself, cold and seeming to be above everything.

3. I prefer to see the bad actions of villain on myself; I want the scenes of him doing wrong, not only other characters talking about how vicious he is.

4. The evil doesn`t have to be the main character, but he shouldn`t be the background character as well.

5. Villains, which can drew readers attention in YA, are very often bad boys in love with good girls. I`m very sceptical about such threads, but I don`t disapprove them at all.
So, if there`s a romance:
- it shouldn`t be too much sugar, or saying how love can change the character, and how it will be beautiful because of it
- the evil has to stay evil (as I wrote in 1.) eventually, he can try to change, but doesn`t manage to or finally decided he doesn`t want to
- the villain can treat the girl he fallen for better than the rest – that I can understand and forgive. But he shouldn`t change a lot his behaviour towards other people. He can obviously trick the girl that he is turning good, but it should be trick only. And it would be perfect if he, even trying to be good for the heroine, hurt her, control, force to something, try to change her so as she would be also bad, be nice one time and cruel other… weird, toxic relationships interest me most
- the heroine should remember, that the villain is her enemy, even if she feels somehow attracted to him. It shouldn`t be like “oh, he has slaughtered my village, I used to hate him, but he is so handsome that I love him now”)
- the same with the villain – if his for example a ruler, he shouldn`t forget about his duties only to spend long hours dating. Love shouldn`t disturb him in being evil. I love reading about people in power, but I hate when this fact is ignored by an author (Have you ever seen Warner doing something to rule the whole sector? Some strategy planning? Some negotiations? Some HR decisions?)
- romance shouldn`t concentrate on physical side of relationship. I don`t like long descriptions of kissing, of beauty of the hero and his muscles… ugh

Of course, if there`s no romance it is definitely fine. The same if the evil is girl (but I`m afraid that nowadays there`s no equality here)

I know I`m very demanding and grumbling, but you know… books can justify any crime :)
Please give me rather less good-suiting to my criteria recommendations, than more general ones based on broad connotation.
I`ll be very grateful for advices and willing to discuss as well :)


message 2: by Stormraised (last edited Jul 05, 2018 08:22AM) (new)

Stormraised | 47 comments And here some villains I love to read about:

Shatter Me: Warner – in book first he was perfect, unpredictable and intriguing, passionate and hurting – but I hate both the change that author planned for him and the way she excused it

The Darkest Minds: (view spoiler)

Falling Kingdoms: Magnus – I know he doesn`t meet my own criteria, being mostly controlled by his father but still – he has potential, he is an enemy of Cleo and Jonas, so he is considered, and he often did wrong (I`m after “Rebel Spring” now)

Prince of Thorns: Jorg – his narrative is mesmerising, he is perfectly cruel and I love his comparison between life and game

Red Queen: (view spoiler)

Stolen: A Letter to My Captor: Tyler – on the one hand – the bad guy whom you can understand and sympathise with even; but on the other – the villain so realistic, so convincingly written, that I didn`t support him, I found him irritating (I believe this is right attitude towards villains)

A Court of Thorns and Roses: Rhysand – controlling, dangerous and mysterious, looking like the evil even while helping the protagonist – do I need to mention, that I coudn`t stand him in book 2?


message 3: by Janett (last edited Jul 05, 2018 10:47AM) (new)

Janett (sweetwaterspice) | 6032 comments Although I can't say I agree with you 100% regarding villains because I believe every person has some redeeming qualities ( even Warner)... Nevertheless here are a few characters that come very close to your criteria!

"Vicious"
Both main characters Victor and Eli are among two of the worst I've ever read! They give new meaning to the word evil!

"The Assassin's Blade"
Arobynn Hamel is a character with absolutely no conscience! You can also read more about him throughout the "Throne of Glass" series!

"Shadow and Bone"
The Darkling - the only villain I think I've ever loved!

"An Ember in the Ashes"
Keris Veturia - the woman is just plain EVIL!!!
Series is not complete so for now she is the embodiment of villainy!

Hope you find enough evil here to float your boat!


Frank-Intergalactic Bookdragon (intergalacticbookdragon) Shadow and Bone (Grisha Verse, #1) by Leigh Bardugo the villain is so bad but he does it so well
An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1) by Sabaa Tahir the villain is pure evil
Legend (Legend, #1) by Marie Lu goes from a calm collective villain to a psycho
Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer an interesting take on the Evil Queen
A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews not all villains are in fantasy
The Maze Runner (The Maze Runner, #1) by James Dashner why have one villain when you can have an entire organization


message 5: by Stormraised (new)

Stormraised | 47 comments Thank you for your responses :)

It isn`t so that I don`t believe in one`s ability to change a character, I just don`t like such threads in books. The same I generally wish the world to be nice place though I admire reading about wicked, grungy worlds. And there`s also a big difference between redeeming, even when it is sudden and incredible for me, and just authors change of mind. Not only says Taherah Mafi immediately “since now he is good”, but also “and previous he was to” - that was extremely far-fetched in my opinion.

“Vicious” interested me most, especially because I like reading about difficult relationships between siblings. I don`t think I go for Maas` book as I didn`t manage to finish “Throne of Glass” and also in ACoTaR there was nothing for me apart from one character.
And I`ve already red “Shadow and Bone” and “An Ember in the Ashes”, and I don`t remember them very well but consider rather average. Darkling is definitely that kind of villain I`m looking for… but there was lacking sth, some magic ingredient to make me fascinated. Maybe just Nikolai steals the show :)
And the villain from “An Ember…” was for me an example of typical voldemort-style villain which is rather to push the plot forward than to be character himself. The same with the one from Legend (btw, I really enjoyed that series) – because you mean commander Jameson, don`t you? And the queen from “Cinder” appears in very few scenes.

“Why have one villain when you can have an entire organization?” – that`s the point. I don`t want organisation, even if it is perfectly evil, I want character. (as in “A single death is tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic”, if I can use Stalin here ;) ) It isn`t the bad itself which interests me, it`s a man, someone with compelling, well-developed personality, whom we can observe in many different situations, whose motives/way of thinking aren`t obvious and make beautiful topic to puzzle over, who has some contradiction, some charisma/intelligence/brilliant way of speaking, who has his own aims and they logically come from something (it`s not like author needs an obstacle for protagonist, so here it comes the villain), who can be understood somehow, even if can`t obtain forgiveness. The character whom the author give a lot of attention.
To put it simply: someone fascinating. And I was fascinated with Warner or Clancy or Jorg… but I don`t see anything special in Keris Veturia or commander Jameson. This isn`t objective, of course, so if you don`t agree I`m ready to discuss. The beautiful think about books is that everyone can read them on his or her own way and everyone is right.
Thank you again for your messages, in case first “thank you” get lost in my grumbling :)


message 6: by Lady Willpower (new)

Lady Willpower (lady_willpower) The most interesting villain I've read about recently was Twice Killed Katherine from Melissa Albert's The Hazel Wood. She's like a classic film noir femme fatale with a dark back story. She's been the victim of a crime herself, but she has no problem committing crimes against others (like (view spoiler)).


message 7: by Zara (new)

Zara (zara124) | 245 comments 'Sophie' from The School Of Good and Evil. The book is probably more for younger readers but Sophie was a pretty fascinating villain mainly because she never saw herself as such. She's self- entitled, vain, selfish and puts her needs above anyone else's.


message 8: by Bridgett (new)

Bridgett Murphy | 137 comments Mason from Shanna Lauffey's The Time Shifters Chronicles volume 1: Episodes One through Five of the Chronicles of the Harekaiian fits this. He's not involved in the primary romance but he does have an off and on romance of his own where he's a total jerk. He's definitely been consistently evil through the series and it was really heating up in book 8.


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