Welcome to Top Three Thursday! This is a weekly feature I’ve decided to host from this day forward.  A day where I can post a short list on different topics I’ve been thinking about.  The focus this time out is: VILLAINS WHO ARE BETTER THAN THE HEROES!

Okay, maybe that isn’t real clear, so I’ll try to be more specific: books where the villains is so interesting, so badass that he/she basically steals the show from the hero(es).

Last clarification: I’m not talking about anti-heroes here or books where the villain is the point-of-view character.  Nope, I am picking three villains who are bad guys without any doubt,  but they are so damn compelling you can’t help but want to learn more about them.

stands a shadow3. STANDS A SHADOW (CHE) 

I found this to be a very exciting, action-packed story. (For a different view take a look at Bookstooge’s Review.) Especially compelling was the character of Che, who was a double agent of sorts who finds himself at a crossroads.  He is damn cold-blooded, has done and will do horrible things to pretty much anyone, but his uncaring facade and deep fear of his superiors is beginning to crack.  Watching his struggles stole the show from the heroes in my humble opinion.

Purchase Stands a Shadow (Heart of the World) at Amazon

red tide2. Red Tide (AMEREL)

Probably the most under-appreciated fantasy in years, CotE truly rivals Malazan in its epic scope and the epic number of characters one must follow.  In this installment, there is lots going on with many people taking a turn on center stage, but the truly ruthless, uncaring, and clever Amerel really steals the show.  This female Guardian described by me at the time as a “female Jorg Ancrath.”  Yeah, I still stick by the description, believing now as then that she is the real star of the book.

Purchase Red Tide: The Chronicles of the Exile, Book Threeat Amazon


I picked out Bane of Malekith as an example of a general feeling I have with all Warhammer books which involve Malekith, basically that he is always the most interesting character in the story. Perhaps I’m just fascinated by this fallen elf prince, or maybe his character is just so compelling it is hard to create a hero who can outshine him, but for me, at least, Malekith is the one I want to read about when I see him mentioned in a story.  And, yes, I do feel a bit dirty for saying that for, without a doubt, this guy is about almost as bad as his mother!

Purchase Bane of Malekith (Tyrion & Teclis)at Amazon

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  1. booksofb says:

    Thanks and great choices. This is the second post I’ve seen on this meme and I think the question is one if the best I’ve seen. From a lit classics nerd perspective, I’d go back to one of the earlier example – Satan in Paradise Lost.



    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bookstooge says:

    Thanks for the shout out. We definitely have extremely different views on Mr Buchanan’s writing, that is for sure 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Top Three Thursday: Villains who are better than heroes – Dragons & Zombies

  4. Che sounds fascinating! I love characters that are hard and steely but really have the full range of emotions but keep them under wraps… until the pressure gets to great. I’ll have to check this series out. I’m not sure what Grimdark is… it sounds depressing honestly. Is it anything like Kristoff’s Nevernight? This is a great topic! 😀 For me the first character I thought of is from Tokyo Ghoul: RE, its the Rosewald heir Shu! He is a character I rooted for even though he’s certainly an antagonist to the current Haise.

    Liked by 1 person

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