10 for 2010: Favorite Male Characters

Favorite Male Characters

We kick-off the 10 for 2010 series with my Favorite Male Characters in 2010. I like strong, male characters in books, but by strong, I don’t mean macho or all gung-ho and just masculine. I like guys that leave an impact — guys who are not afraid to admit their weaknesses, guys who aren’t afraid to cry, guys who know how to respect the people around them and still stand up for themselves or their family when needed. In short, I like my male characters real, as real as they can be in fiction.

Not all of these characters listed below are the main heroes. Some of them are sidekicks or supporting characters, and they deserve as much credit as the heroes do. The heroes won’t be heroes without them!

And now my 10 Favorite Male Characters from 2010 — these came from books I read this year, and in no particular order.

1. Happyface (Happyface by Stephen Emond) – He has no face except for a happy face. He’s probably one of the most real characters I’ve read this year, and I cannot stop expressing my love for this guy. He’s just…aww. To quote my review:

Happyface is the dorky boy in school who you would never have a crush on, but would be really good friends with. He’s the guy who’d draw stuff for you, join you in shopping and hand you a Christmas gift that he made himself, looking all awkward and blushing. He’s the guy you will call when you’re dating someone and you need someone to encourage you or tell you that everything will work out — heck, he may even help you work things out with the guy. Happyface is the guy who is secretly in love with you, and you may never ever know because he’s too shy to tell you about it.

2. Radar (Paper Towns by John Green) – one of my favorite John Green sidekicks. I love that he’s black, and I love that he’s the ultimate geek in their little trio. I also love that Radar’s parents have the biggest collection of black Santas in the world. Radar is the type of friend who you’d normally forget, and he knows it, but when you need him, he will be there. Q is lucky to have him as a friend.

3. Jinn (As You Wish by Jackson Pearce) – for a paranormal creature, Jinn is not perfect. I really liked how the author wrote him, and how I was given an opportunity to see his side of the romance in the story, instead of just seeing everything from the girl’s side. Jinn is snarky, sarcastic and vulnerable at the same time. I rooted for him from the start all the way to the end. :)

4. Curran (Kate Andrews series by Ilona Andrews) – Ah Curran. I wouldn’t have discovered him if it weren’t for Chachic and Michelle pushing me to get the books. And I am very, very thankful for giving in because Curran is awesome. How do I describe the Beast Lord more accurately? I don’t have the words. Let’s just say he’s the guy who’d go through hell just to save his Mate. Who would not like that? I cannot wait for Magic Slays.

5. Bennett (Tweet Heart by Elizabeth Rudnick) – Another sidekick that won my heart. Bennett is your standard sci-fi geek who has a blog, a Twitter and is normally there to annoy the heck out of other people. However, he’s also the guy who you can count on to be there when things get ugly. I liked how complex his character was in Tweet Heart, and that’s saying a lot because that’s a book written in tweets and emails. :P

6. Shaun Mason (Feed by Mira Grant) – I love Shaun because I love brothers. And I like that while he can be reckless, he’s also very loyal to his sister, Georgia. This is a guy character who supports the female character and he still shines with his own wit and personality. I cannot wait to read more about him in the next book, Deadline.

7. Arnold Spirit / Junior (The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexey) – As I mentioned in the review, Arnold reminds me of Happyface and that was already an ultimate plus for me. I liked that he fought for what he wanted even if he knew no one really believed in him. I liked how he let things roll off his back and he keeps on standing up again. We could all learn a lot from Arnold Spirit. :)

8. Hassan (An Abundance of Katherines by John Green) – I am conflicted between Hassan and Radar as the best John Green sidekick, but who says I cannot love both. Just like Radar, Hassan is funny and loyal. I love that he’s Lebanese and even if Colin has been ditching him for all the Katherines, he stuck by him and he’s always there to pick him up after a break up.

9. Brigan (Fire by Kristin Cashore) – I loved Brigan the moment he first showed up in Fire. He’s the kind of guy that you’d initially be intimidated with, but you’ll also find him quite attractive. He’s the kind of man you know you could trust with your life, and would do everything in his power to keep his loved ones safe.

1o. Etienne St. Clair (Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins) – Etienne St. Clair is probably the most popular guy character in the contemporary world now, ever since Stephanie Perkins’ debut novel came out. And who wouldn’t like him? He’s funny, he’s witty, and he’s wonderfully imperfect. His British accent really helps up the hotness factor, too. :P


Oh, and you do know I’m giving away some of my favorite books in 2010 in my Anniversary Giveaway, right? Win awesome books such as Stephen Emond’s Happyface — this happy/sad graphic novel like book has one of the most real heroes I’ve ever read, and it deserves more attention! Every comment you leave is one entry — the more comments you leave, the more entries you get! :) Click the image for the mechanics and the list of prizes!

Winter’s Passage

Winter’s Passage by Julie Kagawa
Iron Fey # 1.5
Publisher: Harlequin
Number of pages: 59
My copy: free ebook from Kindle store

Meghan Chase used to be an ordinary girl…until she discovered that she is really a faery princess. After escaping from the clutches of the deadly Iron fey, Meghan must follow through on her promise to return to the equally dangerous Winter Court with her forbidden love, Prince Ash. But first, Meghan has one request: that they visit Puck–Meghan’s best friend and servant of her father, King Oberon–who was gravely injured defending Meghan from the Iron Fey.

Yet Meghan and Ash’s detour does not go unnoticed. They have caught the attention of an ancient, powerful hunter–a foe that even Ash may not be able to defeat…

* * *

Winter’s Passage is a novella released for The Iron King fans to satiate their hunger for more Iron Fey goodness until the second book, The Iron Daughter, comes out. I’ve had this ebook in my e-reader for ages, because I was never one to say no to getting free ebooks, but I never read it because obviously, I never read The Iron King until now.

If you haven’t read The Iron King yet, spoiler warning for that book starts here.

The novella starts immediately where The Iron King left off, where Ash picks up Meghan from her house to fulfill her promise to him after helping her bring back her brother Ethan to the mortal world. Meghan knew she had to fulfill her promise, so she joins Ash, but asks for a favor to go see her best friend Puck, who was sleeping under the dryad’s care after he was wounded in the first book. As they traveled through wyldwood, they felt someone was following them, which made Ash, the dryads, and a returning Grimalkin (heeee!) very worried.

This is a very short novella that’s pretty easy and quick to read, especially if you’re already familiar with the faery world that Julie Kagawa created. It’s action-packed and mysterious, with just the right amounts of romance to tickle the fancy of Iron Fey fans. The action was my favorite part in this ebook. I liked how there was this big pressing sense of urgency for Ash and Meghan to get to Tir Na Nog before the hunter finds them — the fear was very palpable, and the chase scene was believable. I liked that there were new characters introduced in the novella, and although they were just minor ones, it goes to show how much world building has been made for this series. The fight scenes against the hunter was well-written too, consistent with how The Iron King‘s actions scenes were done.

However, I felt that the reveal was a teensy bit anticlimactic and almost…well, cheesy. Like I said, the action scenes and the chase was very satisfying, but the reason why the hunter was hunting them felt like a downer especially with how the hunter was described in the book’s blurb.

I honestly think that all the dystopian and other fantasy books I have read has made my expectations for mysteries, hunters, mysterious hunters and anything similar to that a little bit higher than it used to be. Based from most of the reviews I have read for this novella, everyone loved this book. I still liked it, but I just felt underwhelmed by the reveal. Perhaps if I read this earlier while waiting for The Iron Daughter, I would feel different, but now that I have the next book and the third book in my TBR, it did not have the same effect on me.

But again, that’s just me. *shrug* Winter’s Passage is a good addition to the Iron Fey series and read it if you just want to have a quick dose of Meghan and Ash (and Grimalkin!). And the cover is gorgeous too — too bad it’s not available in print. I will still read the rest of the Iron Fey novels, because I still want to know what happens next (and Puck, I want to see you back!).

Rating: [rating=3]

2010 Challenge Status:
* Book # 101 out of 100 for 2010

Other Reviews:
Blogcritics Books
Escape Through the Pages
Amaterasu Reads

The Iron King

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Iron Fey # 1
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Number of pages: 363
My copy: ebook

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined…

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

* * *

I never read any YA fiction that had faeries in it because I never found them interesting. Just like my avoidance for paranormal romance in YA, I felt like faery fiction was just the same as the others. No offense to any Twilight fans, but I don’t really want to read another variation of a Bella Swan head over heels on a variation of an Edward Cullen who isn’t a vampire. I thought: vampires = angels = fairies = meh. So I avoided them.

However, after reading Paranormalcy, I got curious about the faerie folklore after reading about Reth and the Seelie and the Unseelie Courts, and how there are true names and such. I wanted to read more, so I finally decided to get The Iron King by Julie Kagawa. It seemed like the most popular in the recent releases, so I thought, “Why not?”

Truth be told, I was wary at first. I don’t really give up on the books I read, and I try as much as I can to finish them out of respect. I was more than ready to just finish this book and not pick up the next books in the series, if only to satiate my curiosity for faeries.

Fortunately, The Iron King proved me wrong. :) The Iron King is the first book in the Iron Fey series, and it tells the story of Meghan Chase, who never quite fit in at school or at home, but it could be any kind of teenage thing. But on her sixteenth birthday, things get stranger: her best friend is extra protective, some weird things happen at school, and her brother gets kidnapped by a mysterious creatures and replaced by a changeling. As her eyes are opened to the other world that exists with hers and the true personality of her best friend, she enters the faery world to rescue her brother only to find out that she’s actually the daughter of a faery king, and that she is wanted by different faery courts for reasons yet to be revealed to her.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed The Iron King. I’m not knowledgeable with faery stories (I have never read Midsummer Night’s Dream) so I was impressed with the world building that the author put in the story. I liked how the faery world had an ethereal and magical feel to it but without losing the dangerous edge that reminds not only Meghan but the readers that faeries are not just pretty creatures but wily, cunning ones too. It was like imagination overdrive as I was introduced to the Summer Court — I can imagine all the bright colors and different creatures and personalities introduced but it wasn’t very overwhelming that I miss the story altogether. There was little about the Winter Court here (but I think that’s the focus of The Iron Daughter), but I really liked the concept of the Iron Court.

The characters in The Iron King all had their different voices so it’s easy get the hang of them after they were introduced. I like that Meghan grew into a stronger heroine, from being helpless at the start to someone who can play the games that the fey do. I liked most of the characters in The Iron King but I think my favorite of all is Grimalkin the cat! I love books with talking animals, and Grimalkin is just so much fun to read about! I love the way he talks to Meghan, and how he helped her, and his expression, “I am a cat.” :)

The romance in the story is already given in the blurb, so it wasn’t really a surprise for me. I wasn’t floored by it either, but maybe it’s because I have insanely high standards for romance in a book. While I saw the development between Meghan and Ash from a mile away, I kind of felt that their first romantic encounter was too abrupt. But then again, that may be my insanely high romantic standards speaking. I liked the Ash and Meghan love team…but I can’t help but feel sorry for Puck, too (enter Best Friend vs. Other Guy theory).  I hope there would be more Puck in the next book?

The overall message of the book is a bit off-putting, though, much thanks to The Book Smugglers for pointing it out. It seems like the real enemy that everyone seems to be pointing to in the book is technology, but I’m sure we all agree that not all technology (computers, system memory, etc) is bad. Perhaps the need for more is, but not just technology. I sure hope this would be tackled further in the next books because I’m curious to how this will be addressed. Regardless, though, I really enjoyed The Iron King, and I think it is a good start to a series. I look forward to reading The Iron Daughter and The Iron Queen.

Rating: [rating=4]

2010 Challenge Status:
* Book # 100 out of 100 for 2010 (!!!)

Cover image & Blurb: Goodreads

Other Reviews:
Chachic’s Book Nook
The Book Smugglers
Steph Su Reads