I just got through beta reading C. Elizabeth Vescio's Uncontrollably Wasted, book two in The Wasted Series. (If you even slightly look through my posts you'll see that I am a big fan of this new adult, gritty, murderous, hilarious, and sexy series.) It, without a doubt, was everything I wanted plus more. Reading it only solidified my appreciation for C. Elizabeth Vescio's writing style as well as my love for Frankie Fairholm, the flawed leading lady.
One I finished the book and started the crappy reading withdrawal stages, I really started to think about Frankie and why I loved her. That made me think about what other protagonists I loved. So, since I'm a fan of Top 5 lists, I decided to peg my Top 5 Protagonist down!
Margaret "Meg" Murry - The Time Quartet/Quintet Series (A Wrinkle in Time; A Wind in the Door; A Swiftly Tilting Planet; Many Waters; An Acceptable Time) by Madeline L'Engle
The Time Quartet series is my favorite series of all time. While other kids were reading about ponies and dragons, I was back and forth to the library reading this series like it was the Jewel of the freaking Nile. The reason I love it so much? Meg. She is awkward, odd, and unpopular. She's also defensive, self conscious, and thinks she's a monster in comparison to her mother. Yet, she mathematically brilliant and fiercely loyal. She cares for Charles Wallace (her even more odd little brother) arguably more than her parents. She doesn't let obstacles throw her and, again, she'd do anything for that brother of hers.
The first book goes by quick but it's enough to show you all the best qualities.
As the series progressed I also fell in love with her relationship with Calvin O'Keefe. He comes from a broken, abusive, dysfunctional family and Meg helps him see that love doesn't always have to be that way. They, as a couple, made me want to have a large family of my own one day. Their love was just contagious.
The series has five books in it and I love them all so much.
Book Two (A Wind in the Door) follows Meg when she is still in school. Book Three (A Swiftly Tilting Planet) follows Meg (pregnant and married) and Charles Wallace. Book Four (Many Waters) follows Meg's younger twin brothers. Book Five (An Acceptable Time) follows Meg and Calvin's oldest daughter, Polly O'Keefe.
One fun fact about Madeline L'Engle is she connects various series off of Meg and Calvin's family. Even though Meg herself isn't the star of those books, you can't help but see some of her in her children.
Goodness, I'm going to go read that series again after this post.
Matt Cruse - Matt Cruse series (Airborn; Skybreaker; Starclimber) by Kenneth Oppel
First of all, go visit Kenneth Oppel's site. It's so much fun!
I normally read books with a strong female lead but after I started Airborn, I fell in love with Matt Cruse and his series. The first book starts him out as a 15-year-old cabin boy aboard the Aurora, a luxury airship. He is so passionate about flying and must work hard to achieve his dream of piloting one some day. Even though he's 15/16, he isn't mentally an adolescent. I read this series for a second time in college and didn't for one moment stop and think about his young age. Matt is also loyal, a trait I just can't help but love in a character.
The story, of course, starts getting crazy. Especially when Kate de Vries, a very wealthy, very stubborn, very curious girl shows up. She spends the book (and the series) getting under poor Matt's skin. She aggravates him to no end which makes for some funny moments. She also gets him to loosen up a bit and that just makes him more endearing as they both get older.
All three books follow Matt as the main character.
Myfanwy Thomas - The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
If you've ever asked me to suggest a book for you, I've most likely said to read The Rook. It is probably one of the best books I've ever read. Its characters, story, and writing style blew my mind and kept me glued to its pages.
This book goes between Myfanwy Thomas and Myfanwy Thomas. Wait, what? Exactly.
The two main characters in this book are, in fact, the same person yet... not. Myfanwy Thomas knew she was going to lose her memory permanently so she left a series of letters for when it happened. You start the book with the no memories Thomas and a lot of confusion. Throughout the book you go between the letters written by the old Thomas to the new Thomas while also following the new Thomas. It may seem confusing but it's brilliant and well executed.
The original Myfanwy is passive, shy, but brilliant and powerful. However, she was kind of a mouse. She got stepped on and undervalued. The new Thomas, in a mission to figure out who wiped her memories, is supposed to mimic her old self but she ends up changing a few things about herself.
What I loved so much about this character is that even though you are reading about one woman, you really have two completely different characters. I found myself loving the original Thomas just as much as I loved the new one.
I really want you all to read it and realize that it is a brilliant book. Both Myfanwys made the book fun, deep, hilarious, exciting, and intriguing.
Book Two is in the works! Woot, woot!
Francesca "Frankie" Fairholm - Elegantly Wasted by C. Elizabeth Vescio
It's crazy how easy it is for me to relate to Frankie, the sociopath contract killer of The Wasted Series. But, I totally get her. She's in her 20s, flawed, annoyed, with a dysfunctional family and emotional issues she gets pissed at. However, she isn't a whiney little girl. She's sarcastic and doesn't take shit from anyone, even though her cousins send a lot her way.
Her job demands her to be strong and, for the most part she is, but there's the whole human mental and emotional baggage that comes with normal life issues like romantic relationships, family relationships, and work as well as the not so normal issues of killing people. Even though she literally kills people for a living, I found myself rooting for her from page one.
Frankie's voice is one of the most enjoyable ones I've followed in a series. She's a deeply flawed individual who knows it but keeps on with determination.
Aurora "Roe" Teagarden - Aurora Teagarden Series (Real Murders; A Bone to Pick; Three Bedrooms, One Corpse; The Julius House; Dead Over Heels; A Fool and His Honey; Last Scene Alive; Poppy Done to Death) by Charlaine Harris
I'm not going to lie, this chick snuck up on me. I was in a lull between series when I decided to give this Harris mystery series a chance. By the way, there is nothing supernatural about this series, which was a big jump for me. However, before I knew it, I was devouring each book.
Protagonist Aurora Teagarden (and yes, she knows it's a wild name) starts off the series as a 28-year-old librarian who is a part of a Real Murders club where 12 members meet up every month to study famous unsolved crimes. She is short (4'11"), not as beautiful as her mother, and really into baffling crimes.
What I love about this series is that you actually follow her as she grows as a person and, quite honestly, as she goes through a lot of shit. Each book presents new problems, some that last, some that end with the last page of that book. One of the reasons I'm so fond of Roe is because she takes everything thrown at her and deals with them. She's a practical protagonist with emotional hiccups, dysfunctional family/relationship issues, and has relatable fight or flight responses.
She's just so addicting to read and the series has become one of my favorites because of her. You want a strong protagonist? Roe Teagarden is your woman.
Those are my Top 5 Protagonists!
Who is in YOUR Top 5?
-Tyler Anne (aka Chick Tyler)