I Love It When Characters Die
Yup, I have to admit it, I do. I just realized this the other day actually, when reading a mini-review, that I really like it when characters die. Granted, I want it to be all spectacular and feels creating, but I LOVE those feels! I love it when an author takes away my safety blanket and shows me that no one is safe. It makes the action more palpable and the relief when other characters do make it out of a sticky situation so much sweeter. I definitely sob like a baby though….
These thoughts have been brewing for a bit due to the Allegiant reaction. I don’t know what the big thing is that everyone is upset about, but I’ve been playing a game with myself in placing bets on what I think it is. The death of a beloved character seems like to factor in to it. I’ve also been trying to decide what reaction I’ll have when I have a chance to read it. If I’m right about the character death, I’m pretty sure I’m going to be one of the lovers of Allegiant. (Note: please don’t post spoilers in the comments!!!!)
When authors end trilogies or longer length books without anyone dying, I’m actually kind of disappointed. Given the situations that our beloved characters end up in, it’s pretty darn unlikely that NO ONE would die. Sure, our MC probably shouldn’t die (until like the very very end I guess), since that makes continuing the story a bit awkward, but if none of MC’s friends die either, I’m less likely to LOVE the book. A book (especially middle-grade) can make up for this lack of injury and death with clever humor, setting a very different tone that I also love, but otherwise the book tends to taste bland to me.
Even with series that I absolutely love, and characters that I absolutely love (I’m looking at you Mockingjay), the death of a character is unlikely to ever anger me. Let’s be honest, there is a lot of death in Mockingjay, but I liked it more for all of them to be honest. I love that Collins was able to make me love these characters so much that their deaths left a significant impact on my mind. I’ve seen a lot of people express anger at certain deaths, but I can’t really tell if that is anger in a “omg I love this book so much that I am consumed with feelings that I would feel if it was real” kind of way or in a “I sincerely think the book would have been better without that event” kind of way. Until this point, I’ve been too afraid to ask because I don’t want people to get mad at me for delighting in the death of their favorite characters…. So please don’t hate me! I delight because I loved them!
This whole thought process has ended up with me looking at vague hints in reviews and hoping that the reviewer is referring to an astonishing and emotion-filled character death. Am I weird that I like when a book makes me sad? Perhaps my over-consumption of YA has driven me to crave grittier books that stand out from the crowd? How do you feel about character deaths in general and specific ones that were especially emotionally jarring (though let’s be vague about who dies please, no spoilers!) ? If you are a reader who gets angry at some character deaths, which kind of anger is it?
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