Oh, villains, where would we be without you? Some of the most thrilling books on our shelves, the ones that kept us on the edge of our seats, have an antagonist or a villain that match our protagonists head to head and leave us reeling. Some might make us want to pull our hair out, while others make you even question your own convictions.
Here are a few villains and antagonists that left an impression on me.
1. Mayor Prentiss, Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness
Mayor Prentiss tops my list of most compelling villain and antagonist character there is. His convictions and reasoning behind his actions make so much sense that it’s scary. He’s not morally ambiguous, like some recent popular characters, his actions are right to him. He’s a bad guy who thinks he’s the good guy.
2. Anne Mather, Sky Chasers trilogy by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Anne Mather is similar to Mayor Prentiss. They’re both leaders in their respective stories and must do what’s best for the greater good. However, from the outside that greater good isn’t so good for others. In the case of Waverly and Kieran aboard the Empyrean, it’s life changing circumstances. Mather had to save her crew on the New Horizon, but the crew aboard the Empyrean see her actions as deadly and invasive. Anne Mather, much like Mayor Prentiss, are compelling antagonists that make readers reel in response.
3. Akito Sohma, Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya
I think Akito Sohma was the first character that I encountered that was downright cruel. Akito Sohma is a character that influences the daily lives of the main characters in Fruits Basket without having any screen time whatsoever. Akito’s story arc is really good too and I liked the direction Takaya went with their character.
I recently read a book where the antagonists and supposed “villain” didn’t have much emphasis even though the synopsis and characters themselves made it out to seem. Sometimes, the influence the villains and antagonists have on the main characters and the story can really push the narrative forward and make it even more compelling and thrilling. Often times, the best thing about books is the antagonist’s own convictions.
What about you? Who are some villains or antagonists that left an impression on you?