Characters vs the World
Ideally, we all want every book to possess and develop great characters, plot, and setting. That’s a given. However, I’ve found I have a preference, and I suspect others do as well.
I read and laugh at the lists of ‘mistakes’ for books and movies. For some reason, it’s the cracked/ not cracked windshield on the movie Twister that comes to mind. The Starbucks cup on Game of Thrones is a much more recent example though. There are endless articles and websites that painstakingly list every error. No book, TV show, or movie is safe from such critiques.
There are also lists for plot holes and inconsistencies. To be honest, as a writer myself, it makes me feel better to see those as it reminds me that no one is perfect. I loved the original series Charmed, am a huge Harry Potter fan, and got my writing starting in fanfiction for CW’s Arrow. There are endless lists of plot problems for all of these. Such things do mean we get great some great memes!
Why then are they so successful and loved by fans?
The quickest answer for me is the characters! When I’ve fallen in love with characters and am fully invested in their lives, I don’t mind such inconsistencies. I don’t worry about how long it takes a character to get across town when they are trying to save a life. I don’t stress over memories that may contradict each other. I can overlook timeline inconsistencies with time travel. I see such things as very human flaws and ignore them.
What about if it’s the reverse? Perhaps, a fantasy world is beautifully revealed with the tiniest of details? Maybe there’s an incredible twist in the plot that makes sense when you look back? I’m not saying I don’t enjoy these things – I do. However, I don’t re-watch/ re-read such stories. It is the characters and their relationships that create the foundation of my love. And yes, I’ve blogged about character relationships too – I love a good bromance like Nick and Monroe on Grimm!
I remember some article quoting Stephen Amell that he didn’t mind when fans got mad at his character, Oliver Queen. To him, it meant the fans cared.
There have certainly been characters I have loved and some I’ve loved to hate. There have even been a few who transitioned from one side to another.
Regardless, whenever I’m asked to name favorite books/ TV/ movies, it isn’t the plot or setting I think of immediately. I picture my beloved characters! Strong warriors, nerdy bookworms, best friends, arch enemies, heroes, villains – the details don’t matter as much when the love is there. I may forget plot points, but I know character histories and quirks. They are my book friends, and I love them!
Below, you’ll find a recent review I did that touches upon this. It was a fun YA fantasy read so if that’s your thing, you’ll want to check it out. I note in the review that it was the character connection that did it for me. The book was well written, but I have read other first in series books that were well done too. The authors often did everything technically right (grammer, plot develop, flow, etc); however, I didn’t connect to their characters so I didn’t read further. I gave the books nice reviews and moved on.
For me, characters are always the most important aspect in any story!
Now, it’s your turn! What drives your love of your favorite books/ shows/ movies? How do you feel about plot holes? What drives you crazy? Feel free to comment below to keep the conversation going!
Happy reading and watching, my friends!
Supernatural Reform School (Blakemore Paranormal Academy Book 1)
Overall 4 stars for this YA fantasy!
The book title caught my attention and set the stage for my expectations. TBH, I only found the cover so-so, but the blurb worked for me too so I snapped it up. I read YA even though I find myself getting annoyed with angsty teen characters and dramatic love triangles. This book handles the first well with even the MC noting she’s a typical narcissistic teen. Fortunately, there are no love triangles (I’m now into Book 2 and that’s still the case).
The good: fun storyline, good pacing, likable characters, well written (very few typos). The bottom line for me is that I was caught up enough to want to continue reading. There are times I enjoy book 1 in a series and leave a nice review, but I’m just not invested enough to continue. That was not the case here as I definitely wanted more!
The not as good: first-person and world-building. I don’t enjoy first-person POV as much as third. The reason is that we often get long internal monologues and have the MC tell us what happened. I prefer action and dialogue! As the MC is fun, I only skipped parts of the internal stuff. Slight spoiler – we get a new POV at the end that I thoroughly enjoyed! As for world-building, there’s not a lot of it here. Yes, the supernaturals have lost their powers, but we don’t get a lot on the spell casting or research they are doing either. I still place fun characters above this though so it wasn’t a deciding factor for me.
If you enjoy the YA/ academy fantasy genre, I would certainly give this series a try!