I saw one of those ecard thingies the other day that said something along the lines of “Yes, I’m a book whore. I open my mind to each and every one of them.” Can you relate? I could. You can usually tell within the first few pages if a story is speaking to you. If you like the voice and the writing style appeals etc. Does the situation interest you? Are you relating in some small way with the heroine? Do you care what happens to her? And the hero … ahh, the hero. Does he do it for you? Are you willing to open your mind to the fantasy that is the story in front of you and undertake this journey with these two people?
That was a lot of questions. Sorry. I hate to put you on the spot like that, but these issues needed to be raised. Last night I read “After Hours” by Cara McKenna. The hero, Kelly Robak, was about as alpha as they come. Big, burly, brutish. Lots of words that ended with ‘b’. Slowly, over the course of the story, the heroine (and his growing feelings for her), peeled him back to a softer, more accessible version of himself. Like an onion but muscular and with cool scars. He still had a definite edge to him, make no mistake about that. But his character had grown, opened up and evolved.
Anyway, I was thinking about why he was such a great hero. What was it about him that he’d wormed his way into my mind and made himself all at home there? Because that’s what books with great characters do, isn’t it? They stay with you long after the story is finished. They probably even demand a reread. I can just picture them getting all up in your face going “Oi! You and me. On the couch. Now.” And of course, you’d be all like “Yes, sir. Right away. Let me just mute the husband and two point four children and I’ll be right with you.”
To my mind, Kelly Robak proved himself to be a great hero because he ticked all the boxes. (I don’t know how to make boxes or ticks in a format blogger will allow so whatever just go with it…) Note: These are the characteristics I look for in a hero. We’re all different and variety is a beautiful necessary thing.
|Personality is very important.|
Physically appealing? YEP. Now that doesn’t mean he was pretty (not that there’s anything wrong with pretty, no sireee). It just means that he appealed in his own special way, bless him.
Hot in the sack? Oh, you betcha.
Personality? Yes, he had one. He definitely had one. Sometimes he was surly and sometimes he smiled. But what he did always made sense within the context of who he was.
Background? Kelly came from somewhere and it had shaped and affected him. He had a back story that made sense and deepened him as a character. There was nothing two dimensional about him.
Dependable? I don’t mean, did he have pot roast every Tuesday night without fail. Nothing so tedious as that. But when the heroine needed him, he came through for her in spades. No matter that they were going through a rough patch at the time, he was there when she needed him.
Okay, I’m going to wrap up the categories there. Though no doubt, they could go on and on. I was going to do a list of some of my recent favourites but this post is getting long. So why don’t I leave that job to you? Go on. Hit me with it. Who are your favourite heroes and why? What makes you swoon and reread, time and again?