Character Analysis: Heroines Part 1

As I have been reading and posting reviews, I thought it would be a good idea to take Mariah Avix’s advice and do a bit more thinking about what I like and what I  don’t like.


To keep this discussion within the confines of reasonable, I thought I would break it up into a couple of different posts.

I thought I’d start with the past few books where I haven’t liked the heroine, or I started to not like the heroine by the end of the series.


Stephanie Plum Series – I actually liked Stephanie at the beginning of the series. She was thrown a curve ball with losing her job and did what she needed to do to get by. But I grew annoyed with her as the series progressed and she neither became a better bounty hunter nor attempted to find other employment. (No character arc in sight).

Journey’s End – Another heroine I strongly disliked. All the interesting and intelligent things she did were in her backstory. The novel itself showed her to be directionless and easily swayed.

Earl Next Door – I liked the heroine until she wilted in front of her mother.

Mad about the Marquess – I liked the heroine until she started robbing coaches.

Study of Seduction – I never really liked the heroine. I had a huge disconnect between the witty vibrant woman the author told me she was and the frightened rape victim she was portrayed as. She never really tried to take back her life and was “content” to let her brother stay in hiding to defend her honor while she spent her life as a spinster.  She didn’t even do a whole lot when the French diplomat started stalking her.

Deliver Me from Darkness – I hated this heroine  and hoped the author would find some interesting way to kill her by the end. She repeatedly did stupid things, and I was so tired of hearing how amazing and powerful she was when all she did was play the damsel in distress.

Goblin King – I didn’t much care for the heroine in the beginning when she acted like a doormat to her controlling and abusive fiancee.


As I think through all of these scenarios, a couple of things stands out to me:

  1. Passive Characters –  these seem to be #1 on my dislike list. I want characters to be actively solving their problems, and when they aren’t, they annoy me. A lot. In the Goblin King, I only started to like the heroine when she grew a spine and started standing up to her fiancee. In Deliver Me from Darkness, I hated the character all the way through because she never did anything for herself. Same with Study of Seduction. She endured a terrible ordeal, but she allowed her brother to reside in exile while she pursued the life of a spinster. Even when she’s being stalked by the diplomat, she does very little.
  2. Characters Different than the Author “tells” me– This is probably due to a certain amount of cognitive dissonance. I am “told” a character is one way, and they act another. In Journey’s End, I am told the character is form the worst part of London. Yet she walks and talks like an American from the top 1%. I’m told how tough she is and how rough she’s had it, but she’s trusting and foolish in the story. Deliver Me from Darkness was really awful about this. The author repeatedly tells me how powerful the character is. All I ever see is her being saved over and over and over again.
  3. Characters Doing Stupid Things – This is a big one. I started to dislike Stephanie when she kept doing things that kept getting her in trouble. She was an agent of her own misery. Mad about the Marquess was fabulous until the heroine decides highway robbery is the “logical” next step after pilfering forgotten trinkets. And the heroine in Deliver Me from Darkness did so many stupid things I wondered how she was smart enough to breathe. Sure, go outside after dark, and not even realize it’s still dark until after the door closes and locks behind you. And yeah, after your vampire bodyguard says not to go outside in the light, go right ahead and do that, too. Thank god she became undead before she could procreate.


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4 thoughts on “Character Analysis: Heroines Part 1

  1. I really hope the flip side to this post comes along next week to tell us some good things!

    This is a good analysis though. Can I suggest one more thing? (Watch me do it anyway!) What would have made you like these characters?

    1. Yep, I wrote the second part, but the post was too long, so I cut it half where I thought it made sense.

      I will have to give that some thought. It’s a very good question!

  2. Great character analysis. I agree with you on many points, especially the need for characters to retain a certain amount of aggression and not be entirely passive.

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