Top 5 Wednesdays: Best Villains

I don’t know why I always struggle with villains prompts, since I love a good villain story! I especially love to read about morally grey characters or antiheroes, but I find villains so fascinating. It may be because I studied psychology, but I tend to find it so interesting to really delve into the villain’s story and figure out why they behave the way they do. I love reading about villains’ motivations, especially when there is some complexity to them. I find villains a lot more compelling when there are layers to their actions or choices, even when I don’t like or agree with what they are doing. As much as I love reading about villains, I always seem to struggle to remember them after I finish reading the book or series. Aside from particularly memorable characters like Professor Umbridge, I don’t often remember too much detail about the character or their actions. Even looking back on the books and series I read this year, it was a bit of a struggle to find villains that really jumped out at me (or that wouldn’t be a spoiler to reveal). I’m pretty sure none of my choices below are spoilers, but some are series that I read much earlier in the year so I can’t remember for sure.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) Scythe Goddard from the Scythe series by Neal Shusterman – This is the series I read most recently of everything listed here, and Goddard immediately jumped out as a very interesting character. From the moment he was first introduced, I found so many of his scenes very chilling to read (especially the plane, for example). Aside from his penchant for violence, I was especially intrigued by Goddard’s intelligence and manipulative nature, but also the contrast with his temper. He was definitely one of the most memorable villains I read this year.

2) President Snow from The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins – To be honest, I didn’t have particularly strong memories of President Snow as a villain, but that may have been because I’d read the series so long ago. This year, I reread the series and also the new prequel, and it definitely reinforced him as an interesting villain. I know a lot of people didn’t love Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes but I found it so interesting to see the development of the Hunger Games over time and all the suggestions Snow put forward over time to “improve” them.

3) Nova from the Renegades series by Marissa Meyer – Nova definitely is not the same kind of villain as the others on this list, but Renegades has exactly the kind of morally grey characters that I love! Nova is not the “main” villain of the series, but I think it would be too spoiler-y to reveal who it was. Nova is technically a villain because she is part of the Anarchists, a group that is challenging the authority of the heroes who have taken over the city to “fix” things. One of the things I love most about this series is that it plays around with the idea of what it means to be a hero or a villain.

4) Athos and Astrid Dane from the Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab – I was a bit surprised to find that these two characters were not quite as prominent in the series as I originally expected, but they were very interesting villains from White London. These two were ruthless twin rulers and one of my favourite parts of the first book in this series. These two were by far some of the cruelest villains I remember reading in a long time. You could also make a strong case for Holland as an interesting villain or at least anti-hero.

5) Madoc from The Folk of the Air series by Holly Black – This was another series that I picked up this year, mostly because of the hype, and I’m so glad I did. It’s another series that I think really plays on the idea of heroes vs. villains, and I absolutely loved all the characters. Madoc was a very interesting character, and I loved the way he used the politics of the world to his advantage. I love books that involve characters who try to work within the system to gain power, and this one was so well-done.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s