Alex BellToday we welcome author Alex Bell whose book Lex Trent Versus the Gods has just been released in paperback in the U.S. Amanda enjoyed Lex Trent and  I loved Alex Bell’s novel Jasmyn, so we’re pleased to introduce you to Alex who wants to talk about anti-heroes. 

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThere’s no denying that strong, noble, handsome heroes can be enjoyable to read about but, personally, I have always had an immense soft spot for the anti-hero – whether he (or she) is a conman cheating people out of their wealth, or a terrible coward sprinting away from a fight, or simply a good-for-nothing crook out to swindle everyone they meet.

I think it’s the imperfections and flaws of these characters that appeal to me. They do not pretend to be brave or heroic or terribly moral – they do not generally achieve incredible feats or perform selfless acts of bravery.

Instead they get it wrong and they make enemies and create disturbances everywhere they go. They get on the wrong side of the law, drink too much, create scandals and offend pretty women.

science fiction, fantasy literature, horror, YA, comics, book and audiobook reviewsBut there is something about the anti-hero – some redeeming quality – that sets them apart from the villains and the bad guys of the world.

Beneath all the lying and cheating, the shady deeds and suspicious motives, there is no black heart – instead there is a glimmer of decency – a line they will not cross. And that is what makes them a curious mix of both hero and villain. Although they may talk and act like a villain at times, there is some part of them that perhaps wants to be good or tries to do better.

For me, the dastardly Flashman would have to be my all-time favourite anti-hero. His highly developed sense of selfish self-preservation and his astonishing cowardice may see him running away from battle at the earliest opportunity, but they also see him live to face another day – unlike his more heroic counterparts who die bravely on the battlefield.

So how about you? Who’s your favourite anti-hero and why?


  • Kelly Lasiter

    KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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