Saturday, December 1, 2012

Best of 2012 (1): Protagonists

Wow, how in the world is it December 1st already? The last few months have just flown by! (Probably because I've been insanely busy!) I've decided to do a week long "Best of" feature talking about my favorite books, covers, characters, etc. that I've read this year! Now, I know it's the beginning of December so there's still a month of reading left, but I wanted to do it before the craziness that is Christmastime! (I may add a little "December Best of" reads at the very end of the month, just to mention the awesome books I read this month). These lists are not solely going to be able 2012 books but about the books I READ in 2012! So, you may see some older books mixed in with the newer releases.

Today, I'm going to be naming my top ten favorite protagonists I read about this year! There have been some brilliant ones and it was tough to narrow it down to just ten (well...eleven cause I have an honorable mention)! I think protagonists often make or break a story and can define the line between a "good book" and a "spectacular book". I believe the protags on this list are brilliant, interesting characters that posses the qualities I want in a leading literary role and just in life in general.

Honorable Mention: Todd Hewitt
The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness (Read in 2012: Monsters of Men)
My dear, sweet Todd Hewitt! I think one of the things I love most about Todd is his constant want to do what's best. He wants to make the world a better place, and fight the evil out there. He tries to look for the best in people, even the villains. We get to watch Todd's innocence be question, ripped apart, and nearly destroyed throughout the series. It was a tradgic journey but I think, even at the very end, he managed to hold on to that true hope that there is good inside everyone. He started off as a very naive young boy and turned into a brilliant, passionate young man. His growth, his voice, his pure-soul and his courage make him a beautiful protagonist, and the kind of person I would want as a friend.

10. Jasper "Jazz" Dent
Jasper Dent Series by Barry Lyga (Read in 2012: I Hunt Killers) 
I think Jazz was one of the most unique characters I've read about this year. Heck, probably one of the most unique characters I've ever read about. A serial killer's son using the twisted knowledge his father gave him to solve murders? Yup, extremley unique. And disturbing. Jazz was a very charismatic, intriguing, and just a tad on the scary side. But, I couldn't help but intensely love him. His crusade was honorable, his wit made me smile, and he was just a simply fantastic character.
9. Cassel Sharpe
The Curseworkers Trilogy by Holly Black (Read in 2012: Black Heart)
In case you were not informed of this, Cassel Sharpe is my book husband. (I called dibs a long while ago, just so we're clear). He makes me laugh and smile, breaks my heart with his words and has generally won a permanent place in my heart. I was sad to see his story come to an end this year, but I think he was at his best in this last novel. His passion is inspiring, and his never-ending love was so sweet. He is a phenomenal protagonist, and a fantastic human being.
8. Sloane Price
This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers (Read in 2012)
Trying to describe my love for Sloane Price is difficult. She's one of those characters that has impacted me in ways that are hard to explain. She made this list both for that reason, and for her as a character. The girl in the middle of a zombie apocalypse that doesn't want to survive it. That's not a story I've read before, and Sloane wasn't something I'd read before either. She had the power to reach into my heart and make me feel how she was feeling. But she also made me hope. She was so completely broken, so utterly defeated it was almost hard to read. But she fought. She was slowly discovering what it truly means to live. And that was a beautiful thing to experience right with her.
7. Tris Prior
Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth (Read in 2012: Insurgent) 
Oh, what a fierce little spit fire you are, Tris Prior! Admittedly, I wasn't a huge Tris fan after reading Divergent. Now, that's not to say I wasn't a fan of what she was doing, but I wasn't all "Please be my best friend!" either. But in Insurgent, she completely won me over. Watching her battle a corrupt government while battling her own guilt added an extra element to the story. Tris is such a strong character, so seeing a slight crack in the armor was pretty interesting. Also, seeing her kick some series *beep* was also extremely awesome.
6. Emerson Cole
Hourglass Series by Myra McEntire (Read in 2012: Hourglass, Timepiece)
Emerson Cole, how did you get so awesome? This tiny little quick-witted time-traveling gal is one of my favorite people ever. I mean, she could attack you with her wit or with her fists! How epic is that? She's a girl that fought back from tragedy and didn't let it destroy her. Instead, she let it make her a better person. She's a strong, indepedent girl with a hilarious attitude and the ability to time-travel. I mean, what's not to love?
5. Mara Dyer
Mara Dyer Trilogy by Michelle Hodkin (Read in 2012: The Evolution of Mara Dyer) 
The thing about Mara Dyer that has everyone talking is that she is such an unreliable narrator. We never know what's going on with her. Everything she's telling us could be a lie. She could really be going insane and we would never know (well, maybe at the end). In this second installment, she has to face many obstacles (ones that made me shout out loud at points) but she always kept fighting. After everything that has happened to her, it would be understandable for her to just give up but she never did. And that's something I admire in her.
4. Gwen Frost 
The Mythos Academy Series by Jennifer Estep (Read in 2012: Touch of Frost, Kiss of Frost, Dark Frost, Crimson Frost)
So, Gwen Frost is kind of ridiculously awesome. Like, she should be my best friend because I want to learn how to be so awesome. She's sarcastic, witty, and so so realistic. I can picture her perfectly! It's been so great to watch her navigate her way through a school for "warrior whiz kids", this insane task she's been giving, and her feelings for the ever interesting Logan Quinn *cue the swooning*. She's a protagonist that makes me want to cheer for her and that keeps me glued to every page to see what she'll be up to next. She's a bit of an unwitting hero and I love her to bits.
3. Kaylee Cavannaugh
Soul Screamers Series by Rachel Vincent (Read in 2012: Before I Wake)
I've been reading about Kaylee Cavannaugh for the last three plus years and she has just gotten better and better. One of the things I love most about her is her constant growth. She isn't a flat, unchanging character but a complex and intriguing young gal that has to face down many obstacles. But she never, ever gives up and always strives to find the solution. And to save everyone. She's so loyal and will do absolutely anything to save the ones she loves. Before I Wake sees her battling inner demons, something we haven't seen from Kaylee before. And even when all seemed hopeless, she pulled herself up and was ready to fight anything that came in her way. She's one resilient girl, and a fantastic protagonist.

2. Cas Lowood & Anna Korlov
Anna Series by Kendare Blake (Read in 2012: Anna Dressed in Blood, Girl of Nightmares)
Okay, so this technically isn't ONE protagonist, and Anna doesn't actually narrate the story, but I couldn't put Cas without putting my dear Anna! Cas, the confident charismatic ghost hunter whose goal in life is to uphold his father's legacy was a brilliant character. I fell in love with him from page one and he only got better from there. I love his humor, his determination and his strength. He was such a beautiful character. And his love Anna, the murderous blood covered ghost was just as amazing! I mean, she was a blood-thirsty murdering ghost who made me cheer! That's pretty impressive in itself. She was so much more than that though, and she will be one of my favorite characters for a long time to come. The two of them together, the broken, mismatched couple, was everything I wanted and more. Perfect, in a very broken and messed up kind of way.
1. Richard Gansey
The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater (Read in 2012: The Raven Boys)
So, we've hit number one and I couldn't be happier with Gansey topping the list. You have to understand, Gansey is every single little thing in a character I've ever wanted. He's broken, he's funny, he's brilliant, he's searching and he wants to find more in the world than just this. When I first started reading about Gansey I was stunned. If you've read my uber-long review of The Raven Boys you'll get the full extent of my love for this book/this guy. His hopeful, boyish wonder at the world and his pure fascination with history and magic had me weeping with joy. This was a character I had been looking for. This is exactly how I think. And I loved being swept away in his stories and legends and awed by his journey. I love Gansey because he's doing things I've only dreamed of doing: looking for his meaning in the grand scheme of things. And looking for the magic hidden just beneath the surface. Fascinating. So utterly fascinating.

Well, that's all for now! Tune in tomorrow for my antagonists list!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)


  1. I like almost all of these (at least, from the books that I've read. I haven't read all of the books on this list). But there's one on there that I absolutely want to STAB.

    But I will not say which one. Tis the season to be jolly, etc., etc.

  2. Great list! I haven't read all of these but I definitely agree with Jasper Dent and Mara Dyer! Such great characters.

    Can't wait to see you antagonist list :)


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