I think most bookworms agree that a character can make or break a story. I can forgive a bad plot, or the lack of thereof, if I fall in love with the protagonist and their entourage. Suspenseful and action packed books can work with flat characters, but for me it’s always more important to feel like I’m reading about real people with interesting thoughts or personalities.
I particularly love it when authors break the rules. A police procedural for example is supposed to focus on the who, the how and the why, but I love it when the detectives are actual people and we get to know them outside their work too. Mons Kallentoft is absolutely a master at that and his Malin Fors series is one of my favourite reads.
Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah @Bionic Bookworm, and this time we’ll be looking at our favourite character driven stories.
There are plenty of books with character driven stories I love, but the first five that come to mind are…
The Woman In the Window by A.J. Finn
The story follows Anna Fox, a woman who is housebound due to her agoraphobia. She spends her time watching black & white movies, drinking wine, talking to fellow agoraphobics online and spying on her neighbours.
One day she hears a blood curdling scream and what she witnesses drives her into utter despair.
Her character is drawn so brilliantly that although nothing really happens for a log time, the story is absolutely fascinating.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
A sweet story of the blossoming love between the 16-year-old Eleanor and the not-so-popular Park who first develop a cute but careful friendship on the school bus.
Eleanor who is introverted, wears the “wrong clothes” and doesn’t have many friends has to battle with her own insecurities to even wrap her head around the idea that someone actually finds her interesting at all.
Both of these teens are totally adorable and I had a lot of fun following them around as they navigated the rocky steps of friendship turning into something more meaningful.
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
Alice loses a chunk of her memory after an accident and now she has to come to terms with the fact that she’s not a 29 year old newly married woman madly in love, but in fact she’s 39, a mum of three, and the on the brink of divorce.
How is that possible that the man she devoted her life to can’t stand her anymore? One of my favourite stories about relationships, how love changes, and what family means.
There’s just so much going on and Alice’s feelings are so relatable.
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
On the surface Beartown is about is about ice hockey. When we go deeper however, it’s about the people of a small town, about mothers, fathers, community and how they react when something terrible happens.
Guilt, pride and ambition are threatening to ruin friendships and alliances in this story, and the community as a whole has to decide what’s more important: winning a game that would put them back on the map of Sweden, reviving their dying town, or to be decent people and maybe fade into nothing.
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
The series follows Kvothe, a smart and witty (a.k.a. wiseass) young man on his way of becoming the stuff of legends, someone whose magical abilities fill many stories and whose adventures fascinate everyone. Orphaned at age 12 Kvothe did not have an easy life, but thanks to his determination and wit, paired with his theatrical skills put him on the way of success. The story unfolds as Kvothe recounts his amazing adventures and epic journey (both internal and actual travelling) from being a piss poor street rat to becoming a student of the prestigious University where magic is taught like science, at the age of 14.
The third book is yet to be released, and I’m eager to see just what crazy shit this guy will pull, because I have no doubt it will be awesome.