Elaine of Astolat (ladyofastolat) wrote in sounis,
Elaine of Astolat

Gen-like characters in other books?

I hope this doesn't count as off-topic, but what other book characters remind people of Eugenides? Yes, I'll admit it: I'm angling for book recommendations by way of hero recommendations, since if I love a hero, I will enjoy the book he's in, even if other aspects of it are not to my liking, and if I can't find a character to fall in love with, I'll have a hard time loving a book. (Shallow? Me? What? Er... that would be a yes. When in a certain mood, anyway.)

My own particular favourite type of Gen is the King of Attolia variety. Reading The Scarlet Pimpernel at a formative age has given me a lifelong love of heroes who are far more clever than everyone around them thinks they are. I love the super-clever hero who can pull the strings of everyone around him, who hides deep feelings behind an inscrutable mask, who lets himself be misunderstood or even disliked by everyone around him in the interests of the (usually very important) game he's playing. I've already encountered - and loved - several whom I would put in this category, but I won't say who they are yet, since I'm interested to see who other people recommend.

And while I'm here…

By the way, I've just finished rereading the entire series. Book 3 is definitely my favourite - the sort of book that makes me feel as if I'm overflowing with sheer love and awe as I'm reading it. I love outsider viewpoints of a favourite character, especially if the viewpoint character initially dislikes my hero but ends up realising their merits. The King of Attolia could have been written just for me, it contains so many of my absolute Favourite Things.

However, I'm very pleased to discover that I also loved the second book this time, too. I've always had problems with this one, since I initially found it rather disappointing, and I've never been able to shake off the memory of this initial reaction. I missed Gen's narrative voice - even though I'm actually not normally a fan of first-person narrative (although several of my favourite books are told in the first person. Hmm...) I spent far too much of the book worrying that he was broken beyond repair, and the war stuff confused me and made me desperate for a map.* Plus, I always have problems believing in love stories that aren't based on long acquaintance, so that aspect of it left me uneasy, as did all the references to Gen's extreme youth. I hadn't realised that there would be a third book, and I finished with serious doubts that Eugenides would be successful or happy in the future. Even when I'd read and adored the third book - which actually removed many of my causes of concern about book two - I couldn't entirely forget these memories of disappointment.

Fortunately, and at long last, I have now entirely shaken off these concerns. I'm very ashamed to admit it, but this was actually the first time I'd reread all the books back-to-back in order; in fact, while I've reread the first and third books several times, I think this may well have been my first full reread of book two. (No, no, don't hound me out of the community, please.) I still love the other two more - and the third book most of all - but I now love all three of them. Yay!

* I seem to remember hearing that the fourth book will have a map. If so, I will be very happy. I know The Tough Guide to Fantasyland pokes fun at the obligitory nature of maps in epic fantasy novels, but I really felt the need of one in the second book.
Tags: book recommendations, gen, general discussion
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