This week’s topic:
It’s been a while since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday post, but I didn’t want to past up the opportunity to make this one fantasy related in honor of Wyrd & Wonder, a monthlong celebration of all things fantasy.
So here are 10 bookish characters from fantasy books.
Eladora from The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan
The Gutter Prayer is basically about a country at war against it gods and how the protagonist — a young woman named Carillion — and her friends get caught up in the conflict between those who want the gods to return and those who want to get rid of them permanently. Eladora is Carillion’s cousin and a scholar. She knows much about Guerdon, the story’s setting, and its gods. In part of the story, she spends the entire day at the library researching the gods. I don’t think she noticed how much time had passed until the library started to close. (Review of the Gutter Prayer)
Sheska from Fullmetal Alchemist series by Hiromu Arakawa (illus.)
Fullmetal Alchemist is a manga and anime series about two brothers — Edward and Alphonse Elric — trying to regain their original bodies. Edward lost an arm and leg and Alphonse his entire body after the two attempted a forbidden alchemical ritual to bring back their mother from the dead. Despite the sad summary, the story is often fun and light-hearted, so if you enjoyed Avatar: the Last Airbender, you’ll certainly enjoy Fullmetal Alchemist as well.
As for Sheska, she’s a minor character who worked at the National Central Library. But she was fired because she spent too much time reading instead of working, lol. She’s one of my favorite characters and was very helpful to the protagonists (Ed and Al) because of she has an eidetic memory. (Review of first three Fullmetal Alchemist books)
Alise Kincarron from the Rain Wild Chronicles by Robin Hobb
I’m slowly becoming convinced that it’s probably impossible for me to make a list of fantasy books without including something by Robin Hobb, lol. The Rain Wild Chronicles comprises four books. They are the fourth set of books in the larger Realm of the Elderlings series and focus on characters who either live in the Rain Wilds, a jungle-like setting with enormous trees that people live and build cities around/in, or are travelling up the Rain Wild River.
Alise is one of the POV characters from this set of books and is one of my favorite characters as well. She’s from the bustling tradetown, Bingtown, from a merchant family and is expected to get married, have kids, and give up her eccentric nature — hunting down scrolls about dragons, dreaming about studying dragons, calling herself a dragon scholar/expert. She partly does this, but when the chance to finally study dragons comes her way, she grabs at the chance despite her horrible husband’s attempts to dissuade her. I enjoyed seeing how she develops throughout the story. (Review of the first book, Dragon Keeper)
Verin Mathwin from the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan
Being a fantasy reader who has read some of the Wheel of Times books, I simply must include an Aes Sedai from the Brown Ajah on this list — specifically, Verin Mathwin. The Wheel of Time is a very long fantasy series about some sheepherders who must save the world. In this world, those who can do magic are called Aes Sedai. The Aes Sedais who are part of the White Tower are divided into Ajahs (departments, I guess) and the Browns are book nerds. All of them have a dreamy look (probably thinking about something they read) when their nose isn’t in a book and an ink smudge somewhere on their face that no one tells them about.
Verin is one of the prominent Browns and seems to know more than she shares. She sometimes travels with and advises the main characters. She’s one of my favorite characters, and I’d love to make it to the book where the “big reveal” about Verin happens, but ugh!! I’ve been struggling to get through Lord of Chaos for the past couple years. (Review of the first book, the Eye of the World)
Phèdre from Phèdre’s trilogy by Jacqueline Carey
Phèdre is the protagonist from a trilogy that begins with Kushiel’s Dart. It’s a fantasy story with some erotic bits in it about a courtesan who’s trained as a spy and who has been marked by her god with a scarlet mote in her eye. The mote marks her as one capable of great compassion and able to bear great pain.
Phèdre is book nerd. I think it becomes more apparent in the last book of the trilogy, Kushiel’s Avatar, because it’s obvious she enjoys learning and having to research and read many texts to find the name of God. However, it also distresses her since she’s doing so to save a friend from a lonely existence. (Review of the first book, Kushiel’s Dart)
Nealan “Neal” of Queenscove from the Protector of the Small series by Tamora Pierce
I’m currently rereading Pierce’s Protector of the Small series and am enjoying it. The series focuses on Keladry of Mindelan, a girl who wants to become a knight like her heroine, Alanna of Trebond and Olau. The series begins with First Test, in which Kel must prove that she can keep up with the training required of a page before she can begin her first year as a page. Neal is Kel’s best friend. He’s a tall, smart-mouthed boy who dropped out of university to become a knight, so at 15 years old (something like that), he’s a bit old to be a page. However, Neal enjoys books and reading, so on this list he came.
Limbeck from Dragon Wing by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
Dragon Wing is the first book in the Death Gate Cycle series, which is set in a world divided into three realms where the land float in the air and people get around either on dragons or in dragonships made from dragon skins. Water is scarce because when it rains, the peculiar stone the lands are made up of soaks in all the water. The wizards live in the high realm, which is thought of as some sort of perfect, heavenly place. The mid realm belongs to humans and elves, and the Gegs (dwarves) live in the lower realm, where they manage a huge, noisy machine called the Kicksey-winsey.
Limbeck is a near-sighted Geg who lives in the lower realm and loves to write speeches to incite his fellow Gegs to question their norms and routines and existence. With his wife’s hard work, Limbeck manages to inspire the Gegs to revolution. (Review of Dragon Wing)
Tyrion Lannister from the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin
As a fan of the Song of Ice and Fire books, I simply must include Tyrion on here. These books and the Game of Thrones TV show are so popular that I’ll keep this one short. Tyrion is one of my favorite characters and I like that he relies on his intelligence and cunning to get out of tough situations. (Review of the first book, A Game of Thrones)
Onna from Unnatural Magic by C.M. Waggoner
Unnatural Magic is a gaslamp fantasy novel that focuses on a young woman who wants to advance her magic abilities but is prevented from doing so because of her culture, and a human man and a troll who enter into a romantic relationship and end up trying to figure out who is murdering trolls… Basically, it’s hard for me to quickly state what this story is about, but I enjoyed it immensely, liked the characters, and hope the author will write another book with them. The companion novel, The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry, is set in the same world but focuses on different characters.
Anyway, Onna is the young woman who wants to advance her magic. Unable to do so in her country, she leaves home for the first time to travel far away to Hexos, another country, to attain her goal. Onna is committed to her studies, but she also gets caught up in the murder mystery regarding the trolls. (Review of Unnatural Magic)
Nina from The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The magic in this one is kind of minor. People have special abilities, like Nina, who has telekinesis and is considered eccentric because of it and because she’s headstrong and has a curious mind. Nina is sent to the city to enter society. There, she meets the famous magician, Hector Auvray, who seems interested in her. But what Nina does not know is that Hector is drawn to her sister-in-law, Valérie, who’s Hector’s lost love.
Nina is fascinated by magic, often reads about it, and would like to improve her telekinesis. However, she’s told that fiddling with her telekinesis is not becoming of a young woman and is often told to stop her eccentric ways. I didn’t like the book much; Nina was the only interesting thing about it. (Review of the Beautiful Ones)
What bookish characters do you remember?