Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. I thought this would be a fun way to share a condensed version of potential rambles and thoughts that I have.
This Week’s Theme:
Top Ten Underrated Characters
I’d Share My Birthday Cake With
(Last weeks theme: book characters that’d sit at your lunch table) + (This weeks theme: underrated books/authors) + (day of birth [Sept 9]) = today’s theme. With cake.
I figured I’d try to incorporate them into one topic, sort of. I can’t say whether or not I identify with the underrated/underdog characters in novels but they’re definitely among my favourite characters even if they have less screen time (in terms of not being the main hero/heroine). Though it’s very possible that some of these characters aren’t underrated after all. Either way, I’d hand them a slice and tell them, “you done good.”
….I guess it’d also be awkward to cut the cake into 11 sections (though I will dismiss the fact that I would probably enjoy eating a larger slice) so it’d probably be cut into 12; and you, said reader, can enjoy a slice of celebration for these characters as well.
As per usual, images link back to their respective Goodreads.
Wyborn Lovat – (Neil Gaiman – Coraline)
Wybie isn’t in the book but he plays a key role in the movie (so viewers don’t have to rely on Coraline narrating). There are arguments that pump up his ethnic and eccentric appearance (in an otherwise very white-dominated environment) that opened up greater dialogue than if he wasn’t there. If you’re itching to watch a stop motion film and haven’t read this novel before, it’s pretty good.
Coraline’s often wondered what’s behind the locked door in the drawing room. It reveals only a brick wall when she finally opens it, but when she tries again later, a passageway mysteriously appears. Coraline is surprised to find a flat decorated exactly like her own, but strangely different. And when she finds her “other” parents in this alternate world, they are much more interesting despite their creepy black button eyes. When they make it clear, however, that they want to make her theirs forever, Coraline begins a nightmarish game to rescue her real parents and three children imprisoned in a mirror. With only a bored-through stone and an aloof cat to help, Coraline confronts this harrowing task of escaping these monstrous creatures.
David Pritchett (Andrew Critchley – Dublin in the Rain)
You know that friend you meet in school and you stay best buds forever? That’s him. It’s also a worthy mention that he goes through similar problems as the protagonist, J.P. but comes out of things differently. I think this is gem of an underrated novel.
Jonathan Melton had a traumatic childhood in which he ended up in foster care, but when he meets the wild, willful, sexually experienced and free spirited Sophia at university, everything changes. At first inept with women, Jonathan’s complex relationship with Sophia evolves from a one-way obsession into a genuine love and shared passion, as the relationship brings happiness, romance and joy to both their lives that neither thought was ever possible. The two marry, and Sophia gives birth to their first child; a beautiful baby daughter. Everything is seemingly perfect, until the evening that their tiny baby is found dead in her cot.
As his world falls apart around him, Jonathan slips into a dark depression and, increasingly haunted by his past, becomes distant and dysfunctional as he struggles to cope with the loss of his daughter. His marriage to Sophia disintegrates, and Jonathan along with it as he descends further into darkness after leaving Sophia. Although his close friend David succeeds to some extent in saving him from his demons, Jonathan remains a lost and lonely soul, until his apparent chance meeting with the enigmatic Maolíosa in a Dublin bar. Maolíosa and Jonathan form a unique bond, and she challenges his vision of life and the world around him. Fate intervenes, but it ultimately leads Jonathan to redemption, and a final resolution to the aftermath and consequences of the 1947 tragedy.
Tomasz (Patrick Ness – More Than This)
Tomasz is like a human version of what Manchee would have been had he’d been human. No? Regardless, Tomasz is simply a cool kid and his actions always seem shadowed by the nature of his character (or just possibly his peculiar knowledge of English).
Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive.
How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place? As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife?
Johnny Cade (S.E. Hinton – The Outsiders)
I’m sure you could pick and choose any of the greasers but Cade is my choice. Perhaps it’s how he acted—both shy and reserved as well as capable of becoming a martyr in the heat of the moment—something I really appreciated of a very nuanced character ringing true to so many individuals today.
According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for “social”) has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he’s always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers–until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy’s skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser.
Sydney (Alex London – Proxy)
Why haven’t I read Guardian yet?! Ughhhjsdhgaysudgas. Syd is an important character in a world of categorically defining checkboxes. To everyone around him: he’s A, B, and C (one of them being that he’s part of the LGBTQ2S statistic), but that doesn’t stop him from being who he is rather than what he ought to become. Put down that rat stew, Syd, and have a piece of humble pie—you’ve earned it.
Knox was born into one of the City’s wealthiest families. A Patron, he has everything a boy could possibly want—the latest tech, the coolest clothes, and a Proxy to take all his punishments. When Knox breaks a vase, Syd is beaten. When Knox plays a practical joke, Syd is forced to haul rocks. And when Knox crashes a car, killing one of his friends, Syd is branded and sentenced to death.
Syd is a Proxy. His life is not his own.
Then again, neither is Knox’s. Knox and Syd have more in common than either would guess. So when Knox and Syd realize that the only way to beat the system is to save each other, they flee. Yet Knox’s father is no ordinary Patron, and Syd is no ordinary Proxy. The ensuing cross-country chase will uncover a secret society of rebels, test both boys’ resolve, and shine a blinding light onto a world of those who owe and those who pay. Some debts, it turns out, cannot be repaid.
Zombie (Rick Yancey – The 5th Wave)
…those moments when he becomes the big brother Sammy Sullivan never had, yeah, that. Also: one week aaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.
Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.
Maya (Gabrielle Zevin – The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry)
The story is as much about the grumps himself, mister Fikry, as it is a story about Maya. Her life is often allegorical in ways that could be materialized as something that just gives redemptive hope in inspiring love and change; a scary endeavour for anyone to be challenged by. But it’s what moves the story along, and though Chief Lambiase is cool too, Maya takes the cake on this one.
A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island-from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.
And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, but large in weight. It’s that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world; or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming.
Prince Harming (David Lomax – Backward Glass)
I really enjoyed how things turned out but I have this feeling that I wish there was some side story or a novella for him since his side of things were pretty interesting and I felt like more could have been had! This is also an underrated book.
It’s 1977, and Kenny Maxwell is dreading the move away from his friends. But then, behind the walls of his family’s new falling-apart Victorian home, he finds something incredible–a mummified baby and a note: “Help me make it not happen, Kenny. Help me stop him.”
Shortly afterwards, a beautiful girl named Luka shows up. She introduces Kenny to the backward glass, a mirror that allows them to travel through time. Meeting other “mirror kids” in the past and future is exciting, but there’s also danger. The urban legend of Prince Harming, who kidnaps and kills children, is true–and he’s hunting them. When Kenny gets stranded in the past, he must find the courage to answer a call for help, change the fate of a baby–and confront his own destiny.
Davos Seaworth (GRRM – A Song of Fire and Ice)
…he gives me old people feels, and people around him don’t appreciate this man or just don’t care. Such noble, much honour, so sad.
As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.
The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.
Neville Longbottom (J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter)
All hail Neville for [insert reason here].
Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He’s never worn a Cloak of Invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry’s room is a tiny cupboard under the stairs, and he hasn’t had a birthday party in ten years.
But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that’s been waiting for him… if Harry can survive the encounter.
And now I will go eat all of my joyous feels that is my birthday—so thanks for reading and celebrating with me!
I also don’t feel any older derp.