Cast Of Characters: Villain Turned Love Interests In YA

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Belle-and-Adam-beauty-and-the-beast-34638217-1018-1500Adam from Beauty And The Beast

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Villain turned love interests are the so-called ‘bad boys’ to a greater, more palpable extent– that is to say, the heroine turns against him at one point in time, though most are adversaries to begin with, at least until she cuddles up to the irresistible charms,  and stays there, snug as a bug in a rug. In which case, she realizes that she can’t be with or without him (it’s an inevitable tragedy, but not really). These beautiful nightmares are usually widely misunderstood, where behind the evil veneer, lies a heart of pure gold.

example

cast2quotes

Try to match each quote to the corresponding VTLI who said it from the examples shown above! I may have removed some of the names so that it won’t be such a giveaway! Also to avoid spoilers 🙂

“I love you. I love you more than any other creature, because you are cruel, and kind, and alive.”

“Your soul sings to mine. My soul is yours, and it always will be, in any world. No matter what happens. I need you to remember that I love you.”

“I want to be the friend you fall hopelessly in love with. The one you take into your arms and into your bed and into the private world you keep trapped in your head.”

“I’ve been waiting for you for a long time. You and I going to change the world.”

verdict

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Kidding! (but goddamn I miss the innocent Stiles)

Okay, not gonna prevaricate, but I think the notion of a ‘bad boy’ is far too common these days, to the extent that the idea of them feels a little hackneyed, which, much to my detriment, subsequently relinquishes their X factor (you know, that one thing, haha. Mmkay I’ll stop with the One Direction references now). But this quandary applies to me (and/or you) especially, because they recur predominantly in Young Adult books, though the occasional author here or there can make them work with exceptional writing. Villains as love interests, however, are a discrepant matter altogether. For one, it could be that many authors are reluctant to turn the tables, because it’s hard to rationalize the actions of an outward rapscallion, and furthermore, give the heroine an upstanding reason to fall in love with him beyond his strange charms. And if the author lays low on his nefarious reputation, does that make him a believable character?

So there lies the dilemma. I, for one, have a hard time tolerating the fact that someone capable of murder and torment is also perfectly capable of love and kindness, although I’m not going to deny the fact that their frequently impervious, almost inconceivable beauty makes it hard for me to spite them wholly. And whenever the heroine speaks of unfurling an affection for such characters, it always makes me controvert her reason, and to an extent, her sanity, because I myself would never think to love someone who engenders an almost unbearable amount of pain and misery.

But guess what? It happens anyway, and sometimes it even works. I guess my sentiments on the matter depend on how the romance is written— I don’t favor unceremonious changes in character, or villains who cut the heroine slack and antagonize everyone else, or even the sympathetic villains, if they continue to walk the path of destruction. Redeeming value is a must, of course!

So I guess it all depends on the pretext. Sometimes, the heroines just happened to have judged them prematurely, such that they’re more decent and accommodating than what one would expect. But as long as they’re not full-blown, cold-hearted, and insensitive bastards who torture and kill with neither rhyme nor reason, I cling to the hope that they’ll make for befitting love interests, and hopefully spice up the lives of the heroines hopelessly in love with them, but who, in the end, can’t ever help it anyway.

What about you? Do you approve of villain turned love interests in YA? Who are other examples that you know of, and which are your favorites? Do tell me in the comments below 🙂

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Review: Shatter Me

 Shatter MeTitle: Shatter Me

 Author: Tahereh Mafi

 Release Date: November 15th, 2011

 Publisher: Harper

 Description: 338 pages, Young Adult Fiction

synopsis

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

my thoughts

A Touch Of Death Power

I’ll admit that for the longest time I’ve felt a lingering partiality to books like this one. Last week I picked it up, and am genuinely tentative in terms of my sentiments. Shatter Me could easily have been one of the most love it-hate it types of novels, because Mafi’s style of prose was unwonted in that it could have been spectacular to some and ludicrous to others. Disconcertingly enough, I sat simultaneously on both ends of the spectrum. At first, I had a tough time adjusting to the fact that she used a ridiculous amount of strikethroughs, although she seemed to have toned down through the end. I was also a little agitated by the fact that she seemed to have a peculiar aversion to commas, and tended to repeat the same words thrice in succession. And yet, this wasn’t even what bothered me the most– I found it laborious and annoying to try and figure out which statements were metaphors, and which ones were the real deal. There were shitloads in the book, especially when it came to describing anything even remotely related to Adam, which was romantic one second and cheesy the next. Aside from the prose, however, the book was enjoyable, and I found myself increasingly attached to Juliette, exponentially attracted to the male leads. The plot itself was deep and meaningful, and I completely understood the way Juliette behaved, though I could never, for the life of me, have survived even a fraction of what she had to go through. In that way, its safe to say that the book was still worth the time. And for that I am with no doubt beholden.
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Kindled With Fire

Juliette Ferrars was out of the ordinary inasmuch as the rest of us are human. If not for the way Mafi mapped out her thoughts, I would have considered her the purest and most sublime character, a heroine beyond compare. Her whole life, she had been kicked into the dust and abandoned, bullied and laughed at, mocked, threatened, and fed the lie that she was a monster. Yet, despite all of the drudgery and destitution, she remained compassionate and hopeful. She never fought back, knowing people would accept her less that way. On the flip side, Juliette was a biting and irascible person in the face of her foes, and I admired her her strength, her sheer force of will, and the way she handled Warner’s disillusioned antics. I did, however, come to wish that she keep her mouth shut at times, because her spunky attitude helped her none, and sometimes seemed less brave than stupid. But despite what seemed like martyrdom on her part, she still felt inner turmoil and struggled to identify with people she couldn’t even come in contact with, and in that way, she was made real and conceivable. Her chemistry with Adam wasn’t too bad either– despite the “sugar and honey” that exploded in her mouth whenever she kissed him, or the fact that she “melted into butter” in his presence or found her “jaw dropping to the floor” whenever she eyed him half naked, I still found myself enjoying some of the romantic scenes between them, and felt the need they had for each other. I just wished they would’ve minimized the number of times they made out (believe me, it could easily have consumed half the pages).

 “All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart.”  

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A Soldier And A King

Adam Kent was drop dead gorgeous to me. Though it seemed awfully convenient that every single person Juliette seemed to meet was uncannily good looking, and looked herself like some sort of goddess in everything she wore, I didn’t mind that Adam himself was foxy. As a matter of fact, none of that mattered so much as the way he treated Juliette and the other people dear to his heart. Adam was brave, not rash, gentle, not passive. Though he seemed faultless in ways unrealistic, I found it hard to begrudge him any of that. Warner, on the other hand, was a control freak who was given everything, except, it seemed, a sense of love. I don’t remember feeling particularly annoyed at him outside of his constant persistence to get Juliette to join him, though it was difficult to feel disgusted by his behavior, as opposed to sorry for what led to such miserable demeanor. It was to my biggest surprise however, to realize that Kenji was probably my favorite character in this book. Apart from being the only person with any sense of humor in the midst of troubled times, he was also a quick witted and savvy crackerjack who made me laugh when I felt like crying– I loved the way his character seemed to make me smile every time his mouth fell open. Despite lackluster world-building and grotesque speech, Mafi’s characters were undeniably incredible. 

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Paramount Resistance

Though Shatter Me was a book that could easily have been disproportionately saccharine and over-sentimental, I thought that the book was quite the exhilarant and electrifying read otherwise. I found myself completely engrossed with the tale Mafi so craftily told, and was impressed with the way she molded her characters. Though it was reminiscent of The Selection in that the book was far more enjoyable than technically unsullied, lacking somewhat in action, I was smoothly able to move past that and appreciate many of the gripping scenes unfolding before me. Though I could definitely have done with a little less imagery and a little more explication, I believe that this book did enough justice to the dystopian genre (likely temporarily, since I wasn’t too enthusiastic), despite the fact that the world transitioned into chaos too abruptly.

Henceforth, if you are looking for a romantic page-turner and don’t mind a little creativity in terms of text, I do heartily suggest you try this one out 🙂 Here’s to hoping Unravel Me exceeds expectations.

 

“I spent my life folded between the pages of books. In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.” 

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my rating

4hearts

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