There are a lot of characters who I wish more than anything I could trade places with. For real: if I were Hermione, I’d be just as voracious with my schoolwork (hell, I was in Muggle school, too) and I’d learn as much as I could about the wizarding world… even with all the bad wizards and the troublesome Ministry of Magic. There are some characters who I love and just wish I had similar personal fortitude and will, or the worlds they inhabit are beautiful and interesting and I wish I could explore them.
Aaaaand then there are the characters who I love reading but happily say “see ya!” to when I flip that last page. Some worlds are horrible and are best seen from afar. Hopelessness and decrepit scenery are what usually keep me from daydreaming about particular worlds, despite the usual perseverance of the protagonists.
So for today’s Top 5 Wednesday (thanks to Sam and Lainey over at the T5W Goodreads page), lets chat about those character who you’d NEVER want to change places with!
“Daisy St. Patience/ Bubba Joan” from Invisible Monsters
She’s a fashion model who has everything: a boyfriend, a career, a loyal best friend. But when a sudden freeway “accident” leaves her disfigured and incapable of speech, she goes from being the beautiful center of attention to being an invisible monster, so hideous that no one will acknowledge that she exists. Enter Brandy Alexander, Queen Supreme, one operation away from becoming a real woman, who will teach her that reinventing yourself means erasing your past and making up something better. And that salvation hides in the last places you’ll ever want to look.
Bubba Joan only has a name thanks to Brandy Alexander. And though Invisible Monsters is a great story, Bubba Joan is one character who I could never trade places with. Not because of her disfiguring accident, not at all- she still is very interesting and I’d get a kick out of wearing veils and not worrying about being the center of attention. But her life revolves around vanity and fame and underhanded shallowness. That sort of a life repels me like oil and water… judgment and hidden intentions aren’t my way of life, and I would easily leave that life behind if I were forced to endure it.
Katniss from The Hunger Games
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival.
I’m a HUGE fan of dystopias (notice the lack of typical dystopian worlds that are usually listed in prompts like this?), but The Capitol shares a lot in common with the model industry seen in Palahniuk’s Invisible Monsters, and therefore is a world that I never want to be a part of. The vanity, the starvation, the sheer ignorance of the greater developed world… all of it just makes me sick to my stomach. I loved watching as Katniss conquered political adversity while also dealing with a typical teenager-ly love triangle, but if I were ever transported into that world, I would likely have been killed. I couldn’t handle any of my loved ones being Tributes in the Games, and I know I couldn’t kill anyone… so I’d volunteer and then get killed… I’d be worthless in this world… so I’d rather never trade places with Katniss!
Ged from A Wizard of Earthsea
Ged was the greatest sorcerer in Earthsea, but in his youth he was the reckless Sparrowhawk. In his hunger for power and knowledge, he tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tumultuous tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death’s threshold to restore the balance.
Don’t get me wrong, I love this classic fantasy tale. Le Guin is an amazing writer… but I can choose many other fantasy worlds in which I’d rather live in. For one, the harsh gender inequality and oppressive magic system made the world bleak. Just in this first book, there didn’t seem to be a lot of “good” magic… but there was definitely a lot of bad. And the wizarding school Ged attended was more disciplinary than educational, it seemed. Granted, Ged got himself in a lot of trouble, but most of Earthsea seemed very harsh and unwelcoming. I wouldn’t want to trade places with Ged, but I’ll certainly keep reading more about him!
Jacob from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its decaying bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that Miss Peregrine’s children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
I wrote a summary on how I felt about this book at my Goodreads site, but overall I wouldn’t want to trade places with Jacob because of similar issues I found with Earthsea above. There are so many magical worlds/universes… and Miss Peregrine’s world has very underwhelming magic and annoying villains. I also wasn’t a fan of the premise of the “stay young forever” world bubble. The world was so unhappy and the kids were so… stuck. It wasn’t like in Peter Pan where you know the kids are happy and never want to leave. It was just a very sad existence and I honestly liked poor Jacob’s parents better than any of the Peculiar ones. So yeah… I wouldn’t trade places with him. Poor company, in my opinion.
Holly from The Bone Clocks
Following a terrible fight with her mother over her boyfriend, fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her family and her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: A sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as “the radio people,” Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life.
Rich with character and realms of possibility, The Bone Clocks is a kaleidoscopic novel that begs to be taken apart and put back together by a writer The Washington Post calls “the novelist who’s been showing us the future of fiction.”
Holly probably has the most trying life of any character I’ve read, and the reason why I wouldn’t want to trade places with her is because of everything she had to endure. The only magic in this story tears her family apart and essentially manipulates her brain, until finally she grows old and the civilized world literally falls apart. She’s optimistic and lives through storybook romances, tragedies, and personal milestones, but there is literally nothing appealing about her life. I would not want to lose as many as she did and have to endure the end of the world.
What about you fun peeps? I’d love to hear if there are any of these characters that you’d actually like to switch places with! Who do you think in my list actually wouldn’t be that bad? Or do you have any characters that would trump this list completely? I’d love to hear about it!
Until next time!
All blurbs are taken from Barnes and Noble.