Hello, and welcome to a new series I will be doing on this blog!
My favourite fictional characters in historical fiction
Over the next few months I will be doing a series of my favourite fictional characters, ordered by genre. The genres that I will cover for the time being (since I unfortunately only have enough selection from these genres) will be historical fiction, fiction, fantasy, and young adult. As I read more, I will be adding to this series!
*Please be advised, there might be some spoilers in this list – don’t be mad at me!*
Shen Tai is the protagonist in Guy Gavriel Kay’s Under Heaven, the first in the Under Heaven series. Quiet and contemplative, Shen Tai is extremely intelligent and clever. He navigates the challenges presented by the Empresses’ gift of 100 fancy horses and his impending death over these horses with calculated moves and grace. He’s strong, yet gentle. I’ve encountered very few characters that have this type of personality that don’t fall flat. Instead, his character is almost calming to experience. A surprising favourite for me, but an absolute favourite.
The Character of Grace Marks, protagonist in Margaret Atwood’s wonderful novel, Alias Grace, is elusive and intriguing. Set in Grace Marks present, where she sits in prison, Marks thinks back to the events leading up to her imprisonment. With gaps in her memory, and her personality portrayed drastically differently by others than she portrays herself, Marks is a very mysterious character that I absolutely loved reading about. Atwood uses newspaper clippings and public records to build this story, and who can tell who Grace Marks really was?
Please forgive the two Guy Gavriel Kay characters — I admittedly don’t read a whole lot of historical fiction, and my dad likes Kay a lot and is my main source of books.
Ned, once again the protagonist of the book, is a favourite. Probably the only teenage boy I don’t hate. His character feels very real, and honest. He gets put on this weird quest through his deja vu and his pivotal meeting with the stranger in the cathedral. I know people have mixed opinions about Ysabel, but I really enjoyed it, and really felt the emotions Ned was feeling as he felt them.
I’ve always enjoyed learning about Plato and his writing, which set me up nicely for liking Plato in The Orpheus Descent by Tom Harper. The book itself is fantastic, and Plato’s character draws you in, while introducing some tough philosophical concepts in bite-sized pieces that are in layman’s terms of sorts. His personality is charismatic and draws you in, and his interactions on his travels are unique and so, so interesting. Such a good book — it’s been years, so I might just reread it soon.
That’s it, folks. I’ll be coming in with my favourite fictional characters in (adult) fiction next month! Who are your favourite characters in historical fiction?