Top Ten Tuesday – Ten Characters You Just Didn’t Click With

Top Ten Tuesday is an original meme from the awesome team at The Broke and The Bookish.


This week’s topic is a bit of a challenge – Ten Characters You Just Didn’t Click With.

I’m going to have to go outside of the children’s/YA world with this one. I’ve tried to avoid characters that I think were meant to be disagreeable, and have focused instead on protagonists, love interests, and supporting characters. Some of these I disliked, others I found bland and boring, and some I just couldn’t connect with. As always, these opinions are just my own and don’t count for anything more than that – we all like different things, that’s what makes the world such an interesting place, so please don’t be offended if your favourite character appears on my list! We can still be friends!

1. Margaret Beaufort – The Red Queen –  I appreciate that Margaret is ruthless and emotionally damaged, and that the reader is meant to respect her tenacity and determination, but I found nothing remotely compelling or engaging about this historical figure. Whiny, mean-spirited and repetitive, I couldn’t bring myself to care about her story.

2. Flavia de Luce – The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – You say precocious, I say creepy. This eleven-year-old chemistry prodigy brews up poisonous concoctions in her secret laboratory to exact revenge on her family members, which is more unsettling than endearing. The series is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but I found Flavia, and her freakish ability to stumble upon murder victims, not all that appealing.

3. Edward Cullen – Twilight –  A creepy, creepy romantic lead who confuses love-interest and stalker. *Shudder*

4 .Bella Swan – Twilight – ARGH. What is wrong with you, girl? He’s a creepy, controlling, undead stalker! Run away!

5 .Harry Hole – The Redeemer – An aloof, alcoholic, emotionally-scarred, romantically-challenged lone-wolf detective who clashes with authority, assembles a motley crew of subordinates, and gets results through unconventional means. *Yawn*. I didn’t hate Harry, but I found him just too predictable to really care about.

6. Anne Boleyn – The Other Boleyn Girl – I actually enjoyed this frothy, inaccurate period piece, but the portrayal of Anne bothered me. One-dimensional, over the top, and without redeeming qualities, Anne is a boring, unlikeable character who serves to make the protagonist, her sister Mary, appear even saintlier. A sad fate for a tragic historical figure.

7. Lady Julia Grey – Silent in The Grave – This heroine repeatedly confuses recklessness for independence. If an experienced professional detective (who you’ve employed) tells you, an untrained amateur, that something is too dangerous, heeding his advice makes you reasonable and intelligent, not weak. Similarly, if an experienced banker offers to manage your finances for you (keeping in mind that you have absolutely no experience in finance), accepting his offer is again not a sign of weakness. Intelligent men and women recognize the limits of their abilities and utilize the skills of their employees. This is yet another ostensibly “strong female character” who is more infuriating than inspiring.

8. Hazel and 9. Augustus – The Fault in Our Stars – Always ready with a witty response and an obscure reference, these Dawson’s Creek-esque teens just didn’t resonate with me. Maybe I was too old when I first read this book, or maybe I was just too dorky and awkward as a teen to be able to relate to these cool kids, but I just couldn’t think of Hazel and August as real people, and couldn’t connect with their stories.

10. Heathcliff and 11. Catherine – Wuthering Heights – ARGH. Two mean, nasty, selfish, petty, cruel, ruthless individuals who ruin the lives of everyone around them. I hated this supposed “romance” when I was in high school English class, and I still hate it!

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think of my Top Ten Tuesday list in the comments!

May Book Club – “Silent in the Grave”

I’m the first to admit that I don’t always finish every book I start. There are so many books on my to-read list, I simply don’t have time to waste on books that don’t engage me.

silentI started this month’s book club pick, the Victorian-era mystery “Silent in the Grave” by Deanna Raybourn, but it just didn’t do anything for me. The characters were pretty dull, I guessed the murder almost immediately, and the writer seemed to have confused “chemistry” and “creepy”, because the love interest showed his interest in the female lead by first threatening to hit her, and then by drugging her as part of an interrogation, without ever doing anything to change the reader’s creeped out opinion of him.

So, I read the beginning, I read the end, I skipped the middle, and I still had enough to talk about at book club.

I wouldn’t recommend “Silent in the Grave” simply because there are so many other awesome books out there that I would recommend!

For fans of female sleuths in historical settings:

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie / Alan Bradley


The first in a mystery series set in 1950s England, starring precocious 11-year-old chemistry prodigy Flavia de Luce.

Cocaine Blues / Kerry Greenwood


1920s Australia provides the backdrop for the first novel in the Phrynne Fisher series of historical mysteries.

Maisie Dobbs / Jacqueline Winspear

maisie dobbs

Maisie is a private detective solving crimes in inter-war years Great Britain.

Mistress of the Art of Death / Ariana Franklin


Adelia is a “mistress of death”, the medieval version of a medical examiner, who acts in the service of the king to solve mysteries in 12th century England.

Miss Marple / Agatha Christie


Though originally a contemporary series, Christie’s classic Miss Marple novels range in setting from the 1930s to the 1970s.