Lots of books have unlikeable characters. But, what happens when those unlikeable characters are supposed to be your protagonists? Most of the time, its disastrous.
This week on Top Five Wednesday, Chelsey and I talk about our top five unlikeable main characters. These are the characters that we found boring or were unable to relate too. Our choices are based on our personal preferences. If you’re looking for morally ambiguous characters who you love to hate check out our Top Five Villains List or our Top Five Unreliable Narrators Lists.
Top Five Wednesday is a book tag started by GingerReadsLainey. Join the goodreads group to get each week’s topic and participate yourselves!
5. Eragon from The Inheritance Cycle – Christopher Paolini
Eragon came to mind instantly when we were trying to come up with characters for this list. I do not like the Inheritance Cycle, I have ranted on and on about the Inheritance Cycle (Check them out here). Eragon is the perfect example of character who is a vehicle that you can hop in and drive around. He has a few emotions, he can get whiny, he can get self entitled. He gets possessive and creepy towards the elf princess who he has decided he will eventually marry.
There is nothing special that draws you to him. Eragon is the chosen one because the book needs a chosen one. Show me why I should side with you. Give me a reason to care about you and your adventure. Eragon does neither of these. Instead it just feels like we’re checking off a list of fantasy novel tropes.
4. Payton from Burned – Ellen Hopkins
When we are introduced to Payton she wants to get out from under her family and her Church’s oppressive thumb. When she finally escapes and goes to live with her aunt she automatically meets a boy and that defines her life. Ethan is her forever love, they were meant to be together, if they were separated she would die….
The book ends with her getting pregnant and losing Ethan and the baby in a car crash. The novel is a melodramatic mess of a soap opera complete with cow tipping.
Then there is the sequel Smoke where the story somehow manages to get weirder. There are terrorists and a new forever love named Angel. Because remember kids, FOREVER LOVE MUST CONSUME YOU!
3. Everyone from The Internet Girls – Lauren Myracle
When I remember my high school experience, I don’t think we were ever this catty.
The characters in this novel try to be “modern sassy” and it doesn’t work out. Their dialogue feels fake, not something you would hear from a teenager (even a 90s teenager which aka was us). These three characters are in a toxic three way relationship where they all bring out the worst in each other and they don’t listen to one another or value each other’s opinions or problems. They’re not supportive of one another and we can’t find anything to relate to them about.
2. Mare from The Glass Sword – Victoria Aveyard
This might be a controversial opinion. We didn’t mind Mare in the first book of the trilogy but in the second book she face planted. Over the course of the second book Mare becomes self obsessed and in a book that’s 95% internal monologues it grows tiring very quickly. Mare is in a position of power in the rebellion and a lot of others are looking to her for strength and instead she’s more focused on how her life is worse than everyone else’s.
Understand, a character who is in this situation and dealing with the fall out of the previous book, having self pity and questioning themselves is normal and understandable. But when 95% of the book is just her whining at you, when you know there are interesting things happening elsewhere it gets tiring to read.
1. Jeff from project Cain – Geoffery Girard
Jeff is very similar to Mare where he finds himself in an awful situation (he’s a clone of Jeffery Dahlmer and his Dad is a crazy mad scientist, a bunch of serial killer clones are murdering their way down the interstate, I could go on..) and instead of doing anything he refuses to acknowledge the plot of his own book. Instead of exploring this really interesting and creepy concept you spend the majority of the novel sitting in a motel room watching Jeff reread Pillars of the Earth over and over again.
There is the companion novel Cain’s Blood where you do learn a little bit more about the plot because you’re following the other character, but at the end of the day you’re both still just sitting in that motel room.
The premise is interesting but execution is terrible.
Check out our review of Project Cain here.
This was a really easy list to come up with. it started out difficult but once we started talking about it, the list practically wrote itself.
Do you agree with our list? Who are the characters you don’t like? Tell us about them in the comments below.
And until next week and next Wednesday, HAPPY READING!