Five Books With… Morally Grey Main Characters

I am a total sucker for a morally grey character. The imperfections of being human – or immortal, or whatever they may be – are the things that make them seem most real and lifelike. I really enjoy moments where characters are faced with decisions that might change or form them, and the consequences of the decisions they make. I genuinely prefer imperfect characters to the perfect ones. Perfect characters have their place in literature, and I do love them too (let’s face it, I just love books), but an imperfect character is my friend.

My Five Books With… series of posts gives me a lot of freedom to explore different ideas about books, and this time is no exception. In the comments I’d love to hear any character choices you might have, or your opinions on my own choices.

Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games series
Katniss has a strong sense of right and wrong, but this in itself can lead her to make some somewhat questionable choices, especially as the series progresses. Right at the end of the series is the biggest example, where she decides, without consulting anyone else, to execute someone else and then commit suicide, which she is prevented from doing by Peeta. While it’s easy to see why she made that decision (see my Characters I Love To Hate for my thoughts on Coin!), it still takes a somewhat tortured soul to get to that place. You can read my review of the series from when I read them early in 2020 here.

Jace – The Shadowhunters series
Where do I even start with Jace? I think anyone who has read The Mortal Instruments will just nod seeing his name. He has so many good qualities, but many flaws too, and they certainly combine to make a character who is loveable, albeit it sometimes questionably so. The bits and pieces (and then bombshell) we gather about his childhood give us the understanding for why he is the way he is, and I think he’s a great example of a realistically constructed character, especially teenager. We first meet Jace in City of Bones which I reviewed here. The second book, City of Ashes, you can read about here, and book three, City of Glass, here.

Rhysand – A Court of Thorns and Roses series
Like I say, I love a morally grey character, and while Rhysand is very much a good man, he has had to make some decisions over the years that put him into the morally grey category quite easily. He’s another character I feel is very cleverly written, and introduced at a point that is perfect to create mayhem. When we meet him again Under The Mountain, it all escalates, both the book, and the character. And from then? Well. I love Rhysand. We see more of him in ACOMAF, ACOWAR and ACOFAS.

Paige Mahoney – The Bone Season series
I love Paige, she is one of the most dynamic characters I’ve ever encountered. She is functioning under the radar from when we meet her, and only becomes more intriguing as the series develops. She is faced with problem after problem from the first chapters of The Bone Season onwards, and it’s quite amazing how she handles everything, but it does leave her faced with some positions that she has to spin on the spot with, often making decisions that she would rather not make. She’s a fabulous, detailed character.

Jude Duarte – The Folk of the Air series
When the other Hot Key Ambassadors and I had one of our chats in the build up to the release of How The King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories, one of the things we kept coming back to the most was how refreshing it was to have a character like Jude. If you Google her name, the first quote that comes up associated with her is, “if you hurt me, I wouldn’t cry. I would hurt you back”, and that just about sums her up. With a difficult upbringing and a controversial rise in glory, you can read more of my thoughts about the character in my review of The Cruel Prince.

Thanks for stopping by! Don’t forget to let me know anything you might want to share below.

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