Top Ten Tuesday: Character Driven Recommendation

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish where we get a new topic for a top 10 list.

Everyone needs some book recommendations every now and then. When I was thinking about the topic for this week I decided that now would be the perfect time to highlight books that explore the complexities of ones character. So to anyone that loves a good character driven story, I would highly recommend these books.

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1. A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V. E. Schwab: A Darker Shade of Magic served as a great introduction to this world and set out several plot lines that could be expanded upon in its sequels. A Gathering of Shadows is all about character. Here we deal with the fallout of the events in the first book and it’s the focus on the emotional complexities of our characters and their relationship with each other that steals the spotlight. 

2. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: Nothing is simple in this book. Jellicoe Road highlights the way that someone else’s past can affect another person’s present. As we explore the mysteries that haunt this town and it’s occupants, we also get an insight into the struggles each of our main characters face. It is heartbreaking and hopeful and definitely worth the read.

3. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson: At the heart of this book is the relationship between twins Noah and Jude. These two are far from perfect and they both do things that crush the other. However, that doesn’t mean that the issues tearing them apart can’t be made right and this story highlights the journey they take as a family and as individuals in becoming the people they want to be. 

4. What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick: This is very much a character driven story. I’ve said this before but I love the way Hutley Fitzpatrick explores different dynamics. From family, friendship and romance, each relationship has it’s time to shine. Gwen was such a wonderful protagonist and I love how she acknowledges her flaws. This book also highlights the power of speculation and rumours because it is this factor that acts like a wall between our characters.

5. Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin: A recent read of mine and while the book has plenty of action, the heart of the book lies in Yael’s journey as a character. Identity is key in this book and for Yael the struggle to see past the mask she wears is one of the biggest challenges she faces in this journey. 

6. Days of Blood and Starlight  (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2) by Laini Taylor: This remains to be my favourite installment in the trilogy mainly because of the development of Karou and Akiva’s characters. Karou’s journey takes a darker turn in this installment as she loses herself in grief and anger. Her journey mimics Akiva’s own journey at the beginning of this series and to see her find some semblance of hope was intense and necessary to her character.

7. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson: One of my favourite aspects of this book was seeing Emily finally come into her own skin. Emily has spent the majority of her life living behind someone else’s shadow and to see her open herself up and interact with these new friends without having Sloane there as a crutch was beautiful. 

8. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: 6 characters. All with a different backgrounds and a different story to tell. Each and every single one of these guys are morally ambiguous and have layers upon layers of complexity to them. I think Kaz Brekker takes the crown in this category because his story is so tragic and dark but underneath it all there were still moments of hope that crept into his persona. I feel like things will get a whole lot darker in Crooked Kingdom but hopefully there will be some sort of light at the end of this very dark tunnel.

9. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater: Out of all the books in this series, Blue Lily, Lily Blue is where the plot takes a step back. The third installment in this series explore the dynamic between our Raven Boys and Blue and it gives us further insight into the role they play in this group and as individuals. This is my favourite book in the series.

10. Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2) by Veronica Rossi: Like the Shades of Magic series, the first book in the Under the Never Sky series serves as an introduction to the world and it’s characters and lays the groundwork of things to come in the second book. This book belongs to Perry. His journey is so moving as he tries to adjust to this new role as tribe leader. He is responsible for these people and in between navigating the best options for their future, his relationship with Aria takes a few steps forward and a few steps backwards. At the end, his journey in Through the Ever Night helps him find that balance between being the leader and being a man in love, making him a force to be reckoned with in the final installment to this trilogy.

Those are my recommendations for character driven stories.
Which book would you recommend for fans of character driven books?




32 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Character Driven Recommendation

  1. Ohhhh, I’ll Give You the Sun is one of those character driven novels that I will always recommend. Like when I picture a character driven narrative, this one immediately comes to my mind. I also just finished Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and that one is definitely a good one too. Great list! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll Give you the Sun has a stunning character development and I love the way that art is incorporated into the book. I’ve heard a lot of great things about Aristotle and Dante and I definitely want to check that book out soon. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You can’t go wrong with I’ll Give You the Sun. It’s just so artistic and moving. I hope you enjoy the rest of the books when you get to them. 😀


  2. Great list! I’m glad that you enjoyed Wolf by Wolf and totally agree that it’s very character-driven. I’m actually semi-reading What I Thought Was True right now but couldn’t seem to find a momentum the way I did with Fitzpatrick’s other books, unfortunately – hoping it picks up real soon, especially since you included it on this list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I still can’t believe I waited so long to pick up the book and I have so many questions about what happens next. I’m no good at the waiting game haha.
      What I Thought Was True is not the best of her books and there’s not as much plot in it but I enjoyed Gwen’s character journey. I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts on the book. ;D


      1. Ahh ME TOO! So excited for the sequel. Have you read Iron to Iron yet? It’s about Adele and Luca, apparently, and it’s bound to be goooood. 🙂

        I hope I get to finish it! I haven’t had time to sit down and read at all on this trip, as it should be. :p

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve not but once I finish Salt to the Sea I’m going to pick it up because I’m interested in the history between those two and I want to know how different Yael’s Adele is to the actual one.
          Hope the trip is treating you well and that you’re treating yourself to all the yummy goods haha. 😛


          1. Salt to the Sea sounds good! Hope you enjoy that one. 🙂

            GUESS WHO GOT SICK ON THE TRIP. I did, haha – I had a fever the other day and am just now recovering so I’m trying to not eat too many fried food. It’s TORTURE, being in Japan and not being able to eat everything! But oh well. :p

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Oh no. That sucks to hear. There’s nothing worse than getting sick on holiday. At least you’re recovering and you’ll soon be able to enjoy all or most of the wonderful Japanese cuisines. 😀


  3. Fantastic choices Lois ❤ Character driven books are my favourite and I loved I'll Give You The Sun, Since You've Been Gone, and The Raven Boys so much! (The rest will directly go onto my TBR haha)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can’t go wrong with a good character driven book and I am so happy you enjoyed some of the book on the list. I hope you enjoy the rest of the books if you get round to reading them. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll Give You the Sun is definitely one of my favourite contemporary reads. I love how artistic the book is and the emotion is just so raw. I think I’m going to have to re-read it sometime soon haha.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve read 6 books from your list! *fist pumps* And they were all books I adored myself. I love good character driven stories more than plot driven stories.
    My favorites are Jellicoe and Since You’ve Been Gone! And also UtNS and of course Six of Crows. You have a great taste, lady! 😉
    I’m waiting until book 3 is out before A Gathering Shadows because I’ve heard of the cliffhanger! I need to read Wolf by Wolf. You make it sound so good!
    Thanks for the recs, Lois! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Here’s to all those wonderful characters that tug on the heartstrings and leave you in a puddle of emotion. 😉 After this weeks topic I have been so tempted to re-read a lot of these books.
      Waiting for book 3 is definitely a wise move and if I had the self-control I would have done the same. That cliff-hanger is the definition of evil. 😥
      I can’t believe I waited so long to read Wolf by Wolf. It’s such an intense read and is definitely a page turner. The only downside is the wait for book 2 haha. 😀


  5. UGH I love Six of Crows! Amazing characters! Cannot wait for Crooked Kingdom. My expectations are pretty much sky high at this point. I’ve been seeing Since You’ve Been Gone around a lot lately so I definitely think I’m going to check that out. What I Thought Was True sounds really great as well so on the TBR it goes 🙂 Fantastic list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am beyond excited and slightly terrified for Crooked Kingdoms. I just have this horrible feeling that someone on the crew won’t make it to the finish line. I need Kaz and Inej to have their happy, or at least hopeful ending. They’ve been through too much.
      Since You’ve Been Gone is a great summer read as is What I Thought Was True and both the protagonists have a great character arc. I hope you enjoy them when you get to read them. 😀


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