Blogger Panel: What Do You Think of Anti-Heroes?

blogger panel

Welcome to this week’s Blogger Panel, everyone! I wanted to have one last month, but time constraints and some other problems prevented me from hosting one. Pushing those aside, though, joining me today are…

Kelley from Oh, the Books!

Asti from Oh, the Books!

Sophia from Ravens and Writing Desks

Katie from Doing Dewey

Thank you so much for signing up, you guys! (And thanks to Asti and Kelley for filling in at such short notice! <3)

“What do you think of anti-heroes?”

- Lesley from Books and Beautiful World

Kelley says…

I think antiheroes are often more interesting than traditional heroes, because they’re obviously much more flawed. I used to date a guy who loved to draw ugly creatures and thought pretty was boring; he said the ugly things were so much more interesting to look at. That thought has stayed with me ever since, and it’s helped me find a lot more imagination and interest and depth in things I may have shied away from otherwise. So, obviously, this goes for antiheroes — characters who are probably unlikeable because of a weak personality or a despicable attitude. There are some I’ll probably never appreciate (like Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye), but then there are others that hold a special place in my heart (like Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series), and still others I just find fascinating (like the two main characters in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead).

Asti says…

What do I think of anti-heroes? Well, they’re a step up above regular heroes but… I just don’t love them. Now don’t get me wrong. I love that they have flaws and are a little messed up, not all self-righteous and holy like some heroes. Katniss Everdeen? Calaena Sardothien? Okay, if I’m going to have anti-heroes then give me ones like those. I’ll learn to love them. 
 
But no, when it comes to me, I want more villains. I want more messed up characters who have totally lost their way. They’re priorities are messed up, they’ve lost their sense of humanity, they do unthinkable things – give me the evil. Why? Because I feel like they’re perspective is missing. There are bad people in the world and while I don’t approve of them or their actions, I can’t help but sometimes want to know what the heck is going on in their heads! They have to have a backstory that made them the way they are. They have to have a story that’s just be waiting to told. I want to know their PoV! 
 
That’s not to say anti-heroes aren’t needed in YA. That’s not to say I don’t think they’re good and all that. But I feel like at a certain point it all just blurs together for me. It’s like we’re suddenly trying to prove that every hero is flawed, and yet if that is the case then why do they seem to continually succeed? Either make them fail or give me the villain instead. 
 
(And yes, I know, this is the part where you guys lock me away because what sane person asks for such things?! BUT I CAN’T HELP IT! THE DARKLING PUT HIS SPELL ON MEEEEEEEEEE.)

Sophia says…

I actually had to look up “anti-heroes” because I wasn’t quite positive what they actually are. And after a quick Google search, I’m still not quite sure. Of course, I have a general sense of what one is, but really, what are the defining features of an anti-hero? 
 
The general consensus on the internet seems to favor the following definition, at varying levels of specificity: “An anti-hero is a central character in a story, movie, or drama who lacks conventional heroic attributes.” 
 
What are conventional heroic attributes? Wikipedia gives us the answer: idealism, courage, and integrity are some. Basically, it’s a character with lots and lots of flaws. 
 
One example of an anti-hero that popped up during my search was Sherlock Holmes. Eccentric? Check. Flawed? Oh immensely. He’s addicted to cocaine, he’s extremely antisocial, he has no concept of “the right thing to say.” And yet – he’s the perfect hero, and has made a mark on many different aspects of culture across the world. 
 
Another example is Jay Gatsby. We sympathize with Gatsby – gosh, do we sympathize. But he is an utterly flawed person. He’s rich – but he gained those riches through dishonest means. He’s continually living in the past. He’s an utter idealist (which is good to a certain point, but Gatsby takes it to extremes). He shows us another aspect that most anti-heroes portray – the feeling of helplessness and lack of control. 
 
But why do anti-heroes make such excellent Characters? Why, when comparing Sherlock Holmes and Jay Gatsby to someone like, say, Robin Hood, or Harry Potter (more traditional heroes), are Holmes and Gatsby infinitely more interesting? 
 
Robin Hood can save the day. He can shoot the perfect arrow. He can defeat the Sheriff of Nottingam. He may have minor flaws, but overall, he is morally, physically, and intellectually sound and successful. 
 
He does lie and steal, but for good, moral reasons. 
 
Harry Potter, while also having flaws, is also morally quite sound, and nobody doubts that he is the hero of his story. 
 
On the other hand, Holmes does good purely because he needs the stimulus of solving crimes. It just happened that he ended up on the good side of the law – pure chance that he didn’t choose the path of the criminal. There is no morality involved. 
 
With this (still rather vague) definition of the anti-hero, I will conclude that I do like them, especially if they overcome most of their flaws by the end of the book. We get to see their struggle, as opposed to just cheering on the good guy doing good guy things. 
 
But really, the distinction is very blurred. There are articles out there insisting that Robin Hood is totally an antihero. Batman is the modern Robin Hood, and so Batman is an antihero. I’m only slightly less confused. How many flaws does a hero need to be an anti-hero? 
 
Any clarification would be highly appreciated! :-)

Katie says…

My feelings about anti-heros depend on how relatable I find them. I love the idea of a main character with some flaws, someone who manages to be the hero despite not fitting our traditional ideas of who should fill that role. I think this can actually lead to a more relatable character than a traditional, perfect hero or heroine. None of us are perfect, so if a character shares our flaws or has flaws we can empathize with, it can make them seem more human. However, if a character is so flawed, I can’t understand them (making unbelievably stupid, thoughtless, or amoral decisions for example) and they never redeem themselves, I generally won’t like a book that features them.

What do YOU think?

How do you find anti-heroes? Yay or nay? Do you wish we had more anti-heroes in YA lit, or do you think we’d be better off with less of them? And — what is an anti-hero, exactly? Sound off in the comments below!

Want to join the Blogger Panel? Click here for more info and the signup form!

Read Play Blog: Favorite Gaming Genres

Hi everyone! Jeann @ Happy Indulgence invited me to participate in her new feature, Read Play Blog, and since I love gaming, I decided — why not?

Today’s topic: What is your favorite gaming genre?
(But since I don’t have only one particular favorite, I’m going to share a few!)

Action

Bioshock 1 ▪ Gears of War 3

Classifying both first-person and second-person shooter games here. Like my books, I enjoy playing action games, like Bioshock 1 (I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m probably 80% done), Gears of War 3 (played this with my dad; it was pretty awesome), Diablo, etc. I’m kind of a hot-tempered person, so these action games help relief my anger and annoyance. Shooting baddies gives me a very satisfied feeling.

Puzzles & Mystery

Professor Layton ▪ Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Even though I’m not particularly good at solving puzzles, I’ve loved my thinking games, such as Phoenix Wright and Professor Layton, since the beginning of time. Phoenix Wright has a hilarious and lovable cast of characters, as well as some very intriguing mystery plots, while Professor Layton just stuns me with its elaborate puzzles and far-fetched but awesome storylines. Sometimes sitting down after a tiring day and working those brain cells instead can be relaxing. I need to get my hands on Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright ASAP!

Racing

Forza Horizon ▪ Mario Kart 7

I am so not ashamed to admit that I’m pretty much a pro at Mario Kart. I’m the best among my two other sisters, and I can beat people with higher scores than me (yes, I’m shamelessly bragging). Mario Kart is just pure fun, and was the one game that got me into other racing games, like Forza Horizon! Mario Kart is definitely a lot easier than Forza, but the latter is ten times more thrilling. Gotta love them beautiful cars. <3

This month’s rec: Bioshock 1 — I featured it above, and it is seriously a game everyone needs to play because it’s not one of those mindless action games. It has a solid and very realistic plot, and enough enemies to keep your heart pumping. The sci-fi geek in me just loves it.

Currently playing: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds — Started playing this one a while ago, but didn’t have much time to continue during the earlier part of this year. The previous LoZ games were only okay to me, but the graphics in A Link Between Worlds are so much more improved, and I can really admire the storyline here, too. Link is so adorable, haha.

What are some of your favorite games/game genres?

Do you have any game recommendations for me, based on my favorite genres? Do share!

Images © 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Best Reaction GIFs

I am not the biggest user of gifs, but every once in a while, the need arises when there is simply no way of conveying my emotions with words… and that’s where gifs come in! And since I find them hilarious, I’ve taken it upon myself to share with you some of the best reaction gifs I’ve found across the interwebz. You can thank me later. ;)

I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH I CAN’T EVEN

… And honestly, you’d do just about anything for this amazing book.
 

ZOMG MY OTP BECAME A CANNON!

They kissed. They kissed. THEY KISSSEEEDDD!!!
 

WHEN INSTALOVE HAPPENS

GET OUT OF MY SIGHT, YOU TWO. This is quite literally one of the worse things that could ever happen. Instalove never ends well.
 

WHEN YOUR FAVORITE CHARACTER DIES

Though let’s be real: the only authors cruel enough to do this is J.K. Rowling and George R.R. Martin.
 

WHEN THE MAIN CHARACTER DOES SOMETHING INCREDIBLY STUPID

Fantastic job, MC! You just destroyed the entire universe because you couldn’t control your feelings.

What are some of your favorite reaction gifs?

I really need to watch Supernatural.

Romance Takes Over Again: The Here and Now, Ann Brashares

The Here and Now

Title: The Here and Now
Author: Ann Brashares
Published: April 8, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: NetGalley
BUY IT: The Book Depository | Amazon

An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world… if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to. 
 
Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love. 
 
This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins. 
 
Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. 
 
But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves. 
 
From Ann Brashares, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking—and a must-read novel of the year.

Unforgettable? No. Thrilling? Pfft. Epic? Please.

It may sound like I hated The Here and Now, but really, I didn’t. It was just the kind of book worth reading only once, and not something one can fall wholeheartedly in love with. I guess one word that could be used to describe my feelings for it would be unremarkable.

The most disappointing part was how un-science-fictiony the whole thing was. Sure, there was time travel, and the main character came from a future where mosquitoes carried a deadly virus (which is totally scary, by the way, judging by the amount of mosquitoes flying around in my living room right now), but apart from that, the book mostly focused on the romance and Prenna trying to break free of the strict rules she’d been brought up with. It was almost like a contemporary, with only a couple of elements to remind me now and then that there was still the whole time travel thing going on. Maybe I should’ve expected that, though — after all, the blurb did hint that romance was a large part of the plot.

While The Here and Now was interesting enough to read (I did skim through quite a bit, admittedly), the narration/writing was extremely mediocre. It lacked a much needed oopmh, which made the book unbearably boring at times, and also distanced me from the characters. Then again, there wasn’t much to the characters to begin with. Prenna may not have been your average heroine, but she was still so lackluster and bland and one-dimensional that it was really hard to feel any kind of emotion, good or bad, toward her. And Ethan? Think of the most cliche love interest you’ve read about. That’s him, exactly.

I’m also sorry to say that the romance made absolutely zero sense. I mean, I’m thankful that it wasn’t one of those romances that make you want to claw your eyeballs out, but still — instalove and no chemistry does not a good relationship make. I felt nothing when Ethan and Prenna kissed. I felt nothing when something horrible about a character was revealed. Nothing. I guess blandness attracts too, huh?

The summary for this book pretty much lied. It isn’t a must-read, and it definitely wasn’t as thrilling as I had hoped.

Rating: ★★ 1/2

Emoji & Books [Tag]

tagged

Eeep, thanks so much to the crazy and awesome Val @ The Innocent Smiley for tagging me! Here’s how it works: Use 5-10 emojis that you abuse frequently/are your favorites and pick a book or character that matches that emoji.

SOUNDS SO FUN, RIGHT?! Okay, here I go!

loved loved loved

“Heart- and kissy-face” emojis: Ladies and gentlemen, the greatest series ever published – Harry Potter. One emoji wasn’t enough to convey my love for it, so I had to try to control myself and use only two, but I think these pretty much sum up how much the books mean to me. For all those who haven’t yet heard me gush about why, it’s because HP was the series that got me into reading, and for that I am eternally grateful to Queen Jo.

boring

“Sleepy-face” emoji: The average rating on Goodreads totally fooled me for this book. The Kiss of Deception turned out to be one of the most boring YA fantasies I’ve ever read. Even though I still ended up giving it three stars, those nearly 500 pages were painful to get through.

meh

“Meh” emoji: Here’s something that might be a huge shocker to some: I didn’t enjoy Legend by Marie Lu. My overall feelings for it was basically that face above. It was just so underwhelming — such a badass title and cover, and the story turned out to be a typical dystopian with bland characters and worse — instalove. Not sure if I’m that keen on continuing the series anymore…

hated

“Rage” and “Death” emojis: Because again, one emoji just isn’t enough to describe how much I hated this book. It was horrible. The main character was an annoying brat, and the villains were weak and useless, and the story in general was plain awful. Even thinking about it makes me want to puke.

feels

“Sobbing” emoji: Rose Under Fire is my first book by Elizabeth Wein and I went in with KINDA low expectations (since I DNF’d Code Name Verity) but OH MY GOSH, guys. This book was one of the only books that had me sobbing. The relationships portrayed here and the horrors Rose and Roza and all the other female inmates had to endure at the Ravensbruck concentration camp broke my heart. Definitely the best historical fiction book I’ve read, ever.

recommended

BONUS — “Thumbs up” and “arrow-pierced heart” emojis: This bonus book is something I’m going to recommend to all of you! Where the Stars Still Shine was one of my favorite contemporary reads last year and I was so surprised by how much I loved it. The story isn’t anything new, but I just felt such a deep connection to Callie, and of course — there’s a totally swoony love interest (hence the cupid heart). So if you’re looking for a good and not-so-fluffy but not-too-dark contemp, this is it.

I abuse a lot more emojis than the ones listed here, but you see? I have pretty good self-control so I’m not emoji-vomiting all over you guys. xD Now for the tags!

Tagging…

Not sure if you guys accept tags, but I still had so much fun doing this!

What are some of your most-used/favorite emojis and why?