I first saw this post done by Jaime over at Keeper of the Wood Between Worlds, and liked the challenge of thinking back over 2022’s reading in terms of the characters I met. I also enjoyed Anouk’s version over at Time for Tales and Tea, and the tag was created by Amanda at A Brighter Shade of Hope, though the original seems to be offline. 

Favourite Male Character of the Year

Piranesi, in Susanna Clarke’s book of the same name. Piranesi is the narrator of this story, guiding us through the mysterious world in which he lives – a vast ‘House’ of many grand rooms, filled with statues and (on the lower levels) with ocean tides. It’s a strange setting, with which it could be difficult to identify, except that Piranesi is one of those narrators you just immediately warm to, and effortlessly take on his strange reality as your own for the duration of the story. He has an innocence and a kindness and a carefulness which really touched me. 

Favourite Female Character of the Year

I think this has to go to Naomi Nagata. She is a central character in the multi-perspective and multi-book space opera The Expanse, of which I read the final three books last year. The final three books are set some decades following the earlier ones, and I really liked the development of Naomi’s character over this time. She comes into her own, leading the resistance movement against the new empire, but has a really finely drawn internal journey as well as her public persona. 

Most Relatable Character of the Year

Linus Baker in The House on the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune. A civil servant in the Department In Charge of Magical Youth (DICOMY) who is proud of his job and a stickler for the rules, but who ultimately will discard them both in favour of compassion… I found much to relate to in his view of the world, albeit mine doesn’t have magical orphans running around in it, and I loved how he’s ultimately a very brave character.

Couple of the Year

Rafe and Joshim in A Matter of Oaths by Helen S. Wright, which was written in the 1980s but feels like a much more recent space opera story. Rafe and Joshim’s relationship is beautifully understated, and one of those that starts early in the novel – rather than at the end – so we get to see it develop and survive through the various twists and tangles of the plot. 

Villain of the Year

I have to return to Piranesi for this one and say the the machinations of The Other do it for me in the villainous department…

Most Disliked Character of the Year

Ooh this stumped me for a second but I’m landing on Neoptolemus in A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes, because he personifies senseless violence and toxic ambition, and the effects of it in this book really shook me.

Royal of the Year

Interpreting this somewhat broadly, but I’m going to say fictional Hollywood royal Evelyn Hugo, in The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. The glamour of Evelyn was something that really drew me in to this story.

Sidekick/Non-main Character of the Year

I’ll return to The Expanse here and give a shout out to Amos, who I love. He’s an interesting character, who is very much a steady unchanging sort, even, it may be argued, when he goes through something of a… transformation! 

Siblings of the Year

Martha and Ingrid in Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason. I found their relationship and exchanges hilarious – particularly in the audiobook – but such a believable and endearing way.

I enjoyed this tag a lot – it made me think of my year of reading in terms of people I’d met rather than book spines on the shelf, and makes me want to do more character focussed posts. I tag anyone who would also find this fun!