Happy Wednesday, all! I hate Wednesdays, but this Top 5 Wednesday has certainly perked me up – I’ve been excited for it for a while! Top 5 Wednesday, if you didn’t know, is a list tag created by Lainey at Gingerreadslainey on YouTube. Every week, you post a list of your ‘top 5’ of a particular category. Check out the Goodreads group for the complete lists of topics, and to check out and follow other participants.
This week’s topic is rather exciting for me, as I love discussing characters that I dislike. Clearly I’m a nasty person! This week’s list is ‘Top 5 Worst Love Interests’, male or female. I judge love interests (and in fact all characters) rather harshly, and anyone whom I have shared my Cassandra Clare thoughts with before (hint for a post coming soon…) will know that I hate nothing more than authors trying to shove how perfect and attractive a horrible character is down my throat. In fact, usually that makes me hate them more. So, I have many, many candidates for this list, hence why you’ll see I don’t strictly have only 5! Despite having the opportunity to choose both male and female characters, most of my answers are male, as I suppose I thought more about the male characters in terms of love interests than I did the female ones when reading (probably as I was weighing them up to see whether they’d make my ‘fictional boyfriends’ list!). In reverse order…
5. Etienne St Clair, ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ by Stephanie Perkins
I’m not going to be very popular for this one! I did really like Etienne as a character, and thought he and Anna made a great couple, but one of my main problems with the novel was how he mucked around with women. He was dating Ellie, flirting with Anna and slightly leading on Mer, all at once. If there is one thing that screams ‘bad love interest’ to me, it is cheating! Read my review of this book here.
4. Jackson Derveaux, ‘Poison Princess’ by Kresley Cole
In a book obsessed with sex, Jack makes an appalling love interest. He talks about women as objects and massively sexualises and demeans them, is always pressurising Evie for more from their ‘friendship’ which she is clearly not comfortable to give at that stage and given her secret problems, and even talks about how she should pander to his sexual needs as a means of ‘returning a favour’. This book in general has a pretty awful message when it comes to young adult romance and sexual relationships, and I just have an underlying feeling that if some of Jack’s actions could be construed as rather rape-y or erring on the side of sexual indecency were he a real person. I reviewed this one here.
3. The Darkling, ‘Shadow and Bone’ by Leigh Bardugo
I cannot tolerate the whole ‘bad guys becoming love interests’ trope (as you will see again later on), and The Darkling sums this one up. A villainous character, all of his feelings for Alina stemmed from his want to get her on side, and he manipulates her and everyone else in order to get his own way, yet so many people seem to ship Alina and the Darkling through hell and high water. I simply do not understand what makes him a desirable love interest!
2. Warner, ‘Shatter Me’ by Tahereh Mafi
Another ‘bad boy love interest’. I’ve never read further than the first book in this series and have no intention to. Warner as a character sickens me. I know that he becomes Juliette’s primary love interest eventually, and all I can say is why? Is she deluded? He entraps her, imprisons her, taunts her, and at moments comes close to exploiting her – as I was reading, I could seriously envisage some of his actions leading to him sexually assaulting her, yet she rolls over and takes it, for no reason whatsoever. He does things that could normally get someone arrested, and yet Mafi tries to play him off as desirable and attractive. However much ‘more tolerable’ he becomes throughout the rest of the series (as I am told he does) would not be enough to erase how he acted in the first book. I was repulsed by this notion. Read my review of ‘Shatter Me’ here.
1. Will Herondale, Tessa Gray and Jace Wayland, ‘The Mortal Instruments’ and ‘The Infernal Devices’ by Cassandra Clare
I know, I’ve cheated! I couldn’t choose between the three. And Tessa is the protagonist rather than a love interest as such, but I feel she counts given that we see her through Will’s and Jem’s eyes as their love interest. But as I’ve said many a time, my problem with Cassandra Clare characters is that I either completely love them (see: Alec, Isabelle, Simon, Magnus and Luke from ‘The Mortal Instruments’ and Henry, Gideon, Sophie and Charlotte from ‘The Infernal Devices’) or I completely hate them (see: nearly everyone else). I had to go with these three as I could make parallels between both Jace and Will, and Will and Tessa. Firstly, the main issue with both Jace from ‘The Mortal Instruments’ and to a further extent ‘The Infernal Devices’ major love interest Will that makes them undesirable, is that they are both pretty horrid people. They are arrogant, selfish, rude and cocky, and while Jace at least has the courtesy to show an iota of care for his girlfriend Clary at times, the pair of them rarely show any regard for anyone else, even their best friends and ‘parabatai’ Alec and Jem respectively, whom both Jace and Will treat like dirt most of the time. They summarise everything I find extremely unattractive and unsuitable in a love interest. With regards to Will and Tessa, as well as hating their personalities, one action sticks out in particular that makes them especially awful. *SPOILERS FOR CLOCKWORK PRINCESS* When Jem (a nice if slightly weak character who, whilst not a favourite, certainly isn’t one of Clare’s worst) ‘dies’ and Will tells Tessa, they don’t spend a moment to mourn the loss of his best friend and her fiancé. No, Will takes advantage of Tessa’s single status and expresses his love for her, before they have sex. They have just found out that Jem has ‘died’ and they seem to care so little that they feel no guilt sleeping together. That’s before we even mention Tessa’s inability to choose between the two men, and her conclusion that she can have both of them. There is definitely something wrong about that! I’m going to cut this rant short as I could go for hours about it (and I may have a feature on it coming up…)
There we have it. A slightly cheat-y, ranting post on my top 5… well, 7… worst love interests. Who are yours?