This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is about amazing book villains. While there is no shortage of memorable villainish characters out there, I wanted to go a little bit of a different direction with my post and focus on stories that repaint a well-known villain or villain archetype as the story’s protagonist. So here we go.
Elphaba in Wicked: the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
I feel like this list kind of had to include Elphaba, even though it’s not really a YA book (which is what I normally read and review). It’s a pretty dark book, but I was really fascinated with how Maguire incorporated the plot of the original Wizard of Oz story into this book and twisted things around to make a completely different story.
Raven Queen (daughter of the Evil Queen) in Ever After High books
This series was really fun and fast to read. My daughter and I read them together when she was in maybe third grade, and it was a blast.
Agnes in the School for Good and Evil series
School for Good and Evil is a little more serious (classical?) in its fairytale-ish-ness than Ever After High, which really just made me love it even more.
Kara in the In the Thickety books
I guess it’s not new for a witch to be the hero of the story, but I love the writing in this book and the creepy forest. Also, plot twists! I seriously need to finish reading this series.
Mal, Evie, Jay and Carlos in The Descendants
Carlos DeVille pretty much stole the show for me in this book. I didn’t expect to be such a huge fan of a fairytale mash-up type cast, but now that I’m looking at my list, there are a bunch of those types of stories on here. And I really enjoyed them all. I could probably just do a top ten list of those.
Levana in Fairest by Marissa Meyer
Fairest was not my favorite book in the Lunar Chronicles, but it was cool to see a Levana origin story, and Marissa Meyer always does cool Easter egg type elements to her stories, so I enjoyed that aspect of it for sure.
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Heartless is still on my to-be-read list. The Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland is one of those characters I can’t imagine being actually sympathetic, so I’m super interested to see what Meyer did with this one.
Xifeng in Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie Dao
Somehow I didn’t realize this was an evil queen origin story when I picked it up, so I was super confused by how dark it was. I kept wanting Xifeng to resist or thwart her dark destiny, and kept being disappointed when she didn’t. Then about halfway through the book I read somewhere that it was supposed to be a retelling of how Snow White’s stepmother came to be who she was, and I was like, ohhhhhhh. Suddenly it all made sense. After that, I got into the story a lot more.
Evie in Sea Witch by Sarah Henning
This one is still on my to-be-read list. I love the idea, though – an outcast witch girl who’s trying desperately to help someone only she ends up creating a big mess.
Vanessa in Rise of the Sea Witch by Stacey Rourke
Another from my to-be-read list. In this one, the Sea Witch and Triton are brother and sister, and it’s his treachery which provokes her to witch-y-ness. Yeah, I really have to read this.
Who are your favorite novel villains?
Leave me a comment with your top favorites or a link to your list!
This is a great idea for a book list. Gillian origin stories can be really interesting to read! Espechially if they are done so well you start rethinking your stance about them haha
Thanks! Yes! They can really make you rethink a story. 🙂
Great idea for a blog post! I’ll admit I haven’t read or heard of a few of these but I do love a good book with a great villain!
Thanks, Chloe. 🙂 I hope you enjoy them if you end up reading any of them!