Every year as I read I like “nominate” the books I read for various imaginary book awards, then at the end of the year I finally pick a winner for each category – some with more difficulty than others. Today I’m going to reveal some of the “nominees” and winners of 2015, with a quick explanation to why I chose the victor. (All of these books were read, but not necessarily published, in 2015.) I've divided the awards into three categories; this first one is for the best (and worst) characters I encountered this year. Mild spoilers ahead!
BEST SUPPORTING MALE CHARACTER
Crispin Herchey, The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
The Dragon, Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Marinus, The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
Rhy, A Darker Shade of Magic by V E Schwab
Rhysand, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
Captain Thorne, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Vincent was one of my favourite characters of the year in one of my favourite books of the year. He was so wonderfully complex and dangerous and interesting, and I was never sure whether to love or hate him (as it turns out, I did both). He was the entire reason I was bawling by the end of the book, and was just a terrible, wonderful character.
BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE CHARACTER
Akinleye, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
Astrid Dane, A Darker Shade of Magic by V E Schwab
Iko, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Kiddo, The Encyclopaedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg
Marin Brandt, The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
WINNER: Serena, Vicious by V E Schwab.
WORST FEMALE CHARACTER
Feyre, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
The Miniaturist, The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Polly Cradle, Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
WINNER: America Singer, The Selection by Keira Cass
The Selection was most definitely one of the very worst books I read this year, and its protagonist and (supposed) heroine was just as terrible. Vapid, selfish, idiotic, frustrating, the most Mary-Sue-ish Mary Sue I’ve ever encountered, and as complex as a brick, it was an chore reading anything from America’s perspective.
WORST MALE CHARACTER
Aspen, The Selection by Keira Cass
Joe Sport, Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
Kai, The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
WINNER: Prince Maxon, The Selection by Keira Cass
Oh look, both main male characters of The Selection appear here, but the crown has to go (appropriately) to Prince Maxon himself. As stupid and frustrating as his partner in mediocrity, I’m surprised even the author herself wasn’t tempted to kill him off. Brutally. And with immediate effect.
BEST MALE CHARACTER
Allan Karlsson, The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Windows And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
Harry August, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire August
Kell, A Darker Shade of Magic by V E Schwab
Protagonist, The Humans by Matt Haig
Victor, Vicious by V E Schwab
WINNER: Mark Watney, The Martian by Andy Weir
The best botanist on Mars, Mark Watney was an absolute delight. His sense of humour and determination were what made The Martian so enjoyable, and when his point of view was occasionally left behind in the narrative so we could follow other characters, I was desperate to get back him. His jokes, casual musings about pirates, and a developing emotional dependency on his potato crop made this book one of my favourites of the year.
BEST FEMALE CHARACTER
Agnieszka, Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Fever Crumb, A Web of Air by Philip Reeve
Holly Sykes, The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
Kestrel, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Lila Bard, A Darker Shade of Magic by V E Schwab
Celaena Sardothian, Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas
WINNER: Cinder, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
The four books of The Lunar Chronicles series were a little hit or miss in my opinion, but the first heroine introduced, the wonderful, resourceful, clever, brave, mechanic cyborg of New Beijing, was my very favourite of them all. If she hadn’t been such a fantastic character, I would probably have given up on the series, but her storyline was the overall driving force of all four books, and more than made up for some of the less than perfect characters and books. I liked her so much that I stuck with her story to the bitter end, and now I couldn’t be happier that I did.