Happy New Year! Do you listen to playlists? Recently, I've been really into dark academia playlists on YouTube. They set such an incredible mood that sometimes I feel transported into the scene of a story! Alas, I don't have time to chase plot bunnies. So, instead, I channeled it all into this blog post, celebrating the most ruthless and ambitious characters in YA!


This post is a part of the New Year, New Books Blog Hop hosted by YA Sci-Fi & Fantasy Addicts. Each post has a fun article and a chance to an Amazon gift card! So be sure to hop around.






New Year's in the Slytherin Common Room:

Celebrating the Most Ruthless & Ambitious Characters in YA


Welcome to the Slytherin Common Room, where the cunning and ambitious will always find their kind. Slytherins get a bad rap, but ambition itself is neither good nor evil. It's all in how you use it. In fact, let's not forget the sorting hat wanted to put Harry in this house. Without further ado, here are the my favorite ruthless and/or ambitious characters in YA!

slytherin ya books

"The Slytherin common room was a long, low underground room with rough stone walls and ceiling, from which round, greenish lamps were hanging on chains. A fire was crackling under an elaborately carved mantelpiece ahead of them, and several Slytherins were silhouetted around it in carved chairs."

- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets


Want to set the mood?

Slytherin Common Room Music - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aadskAxEEw



Jude Duarte from Folk of the Air

Fan Art by Sasha Lee Coleman. Check her out on Insta @sashac_art to see more of her amazing work.

“If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse.” - Jude Duarte


If you haven't read this series yet, you need to! Holly Black's prose is beautiful, and the characters are richly developed, especially the morally grey protagonist, Jude Duarte.


Jude is a human who has been raised in Faerie. As such, she is always at a disadvantage and usually in danger. Yet, she never flinches. She learns combat, stands up to her bullies, and gives as good as she gets. She's NEVER content to stay in the background.


Jude is willing to do many morally grey things, but she is also protective of the people close to her.



Peter Wiggin from Ender's Game

"I'm going to rule, Val... But I want it to be something worth ruling... A Pax Americana through the whole world."

Art by Paper Lait. You can view more of their work at https://www.deviantart.com/paperlait/

Did someone say messed up sibling dynamics? Hello Ender's Game.


The oldest of the Wiggin children, Peter, is the perfect Slytherin-- brilliant, strategic, and utterly ruthless. He's the kind of Slytherin that would serve Lord Voldemort but only to tear him down and replace him.


When his younger brother is selected for Battle School to train to fight off alien invaders, he's furious to have been overlooked.


Instead, he turns to influencing global politics...at the ripe age of 13.





Alessandra Stathos from Shadows Between Us

“They've never found the body of the first and only boy who broke my heart. And they never will.” - Shadows Between Us


Character Art by Darkerstar. View her work at: https://darkerstaredits.tumblr.com/

Warning! This one is a standalone, so if you start this book, you'll be done in no time! lol


Alessandra Stathos is a total femme fatale. She loves the spotlight and knows how to turn heads. She starts the story off with tale starts off the story with one goal: woo the shadow king, kill him, and take his throne. It doesn't get more ambitious or ruthless than that.


Read my full book review over at the YA Sci-Fi & Fantasy Addicts blog.






Percy Weasley from Harry Potter

“Percy's enjoying work, then? said Harry, sitting down on one of the beds and watching the Chudley Cannons zooming in and out of the posters on the ceiling.

'Enjoying it?' said Ron darkly. 'I don't reckon he'd come home if Dad didn't make him. He's obsessed.


How odd that the only Harry Potter character included in this list was not sorted into Slytherin. Still, even the sorting hat is entitled to its mistakes.


There's nothing evil or wicked about Percy. He just wants to be successful. Like most kids, he goes through a stage where he is a little embarrassed of his family. He doesn't want to wear hand-me-down robes or work in the most underappreciated department at the Ministry of Magic.


No. Percy wants so much more. Whenever we see him in the early part of the series, he is studying, serving the school, or ingratiating himself to a leadership figure. He earns a spot as Prefect and later Head Boy at Hogwarts.


After graduation, he lands a job at the Ministry of Magic. He is constantly talking about his boss and trying to ingratiate himself. Quickly, he finds his way to the right hand of the Minister of Magic himself.


In the later books, Percy faces a choice between his family and his career ambitions. Guess which one he picks? (At least initially.)



Warner from Shatter Me

“And if you insist on continuing to make assumptions about my character, I’ll advise you only this: assume you will always be wrong.”

- Ignite Me


Art Credit: Ioweana.art Check out their work on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/loweana.art/

Warner is a character who starts off a seemingly simplistic antagonist until you realize everything you thought about him may be wrong. He's got Snape vibes, and you have to keep looking to discover what really drives him.


But, oh, is he ambitious! Warner is the epitome of Machiavelli's quote, "The ends justify the means."


He is the leader of a large contingent of the military and will shoot even his own men with no hesitation...if it serves his purposes.



Looking for more Slytherin reads?

Try the Shadows & Starlight series. I can't say too much without spoilers, but you'll find many ambitious and cunning characters lurking in the shadows.

🗹 Shifting Political Alliances

🗹 Hidden Adversaries

🗹 Royal Court Intrigue

🗹 Dash of Romance + An Interstellar Twist


Start Reading Today on:

Amazon

Kobo

Nook

Apple Books





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Updated: Dec 9, 2021

Happy December! I am so excited to be a part of the 12 Bookish Days of Christmas Blog Hop hosted by YA Sci-Fi & Fantasy Addicts. Each post has a fun bookish freebie and a chance to win our mega giveaway! So, be sure to scroll down. This post features some of my favorite and most anticipated YA Christmas books.

ya christmas books

Day 1 - YA Christmas Reads + Sweets

Day 1 Bonus – Hosting a Secret Santa Gift Exchange with Your Bookish Friends

Day 2 - Gift Ideas for Friends who Read

Day 3 - Found Family Trope Reads

Day 4 - White Stag Review + Decadent Vegan Hot Cocoa Recipe

Day 5 - Book Room Christmas Decor + Favorite Christmas Reads

Day 6 - 12 Favorite Fantasy Books of the Year

Day 7 – A Christmas Playlist to Read To

Day 7 Bonus - Christmas Traditions + Favorite Holiday Reads

Day 8 - Tamales and Books!

Day 9 - Winter Book Review: Wicked Lovely

Day 10 - Derby Pie and Fond Memories

Day 11 - Mistletoe Myths & Stories

Day 12 - A Soul as Cold as Frost Review + Coffee Recipe

Day 12 Bonus - Tea Pairings & Winter-Themed Books

Wrap-Up - All the Stocking Stuffers + Big Giveaway


Favorite Christmas Reads + Sweets

When it's cold and dark outside and the only warmth comes from the hearth or the twinkle of Christmas lights, I know it's time to break out my favorite Christmas reads. Most of these are YA. All are young adult friendly. Each one also includes a sweet tie-in. Scroll to the end of the post to grab my freebie and enter the HUGE giveaway.



The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

YA Christmas Books + Sweets

This is one of my absolute favorites and a classic that children and adults can both enjoy!


She's making list. Checking it twice...

🗹 Perpetual Winter Wonderland

🗹 Evil Witch who Gives Sleigh Rides & Candy to Children 🗹 Christian Allegory

🗹 Goodness Overcoming Evil

🗹 Christmas Gifts






Sweet Tie-In

You're going to need something sweet to snack on while you read, right? For The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, choosing the sweet treat was NO CONTEST. Edmund loved this delicious, gelatinous treat-- Turkish Delight! Click on either of the images below to buy on Amazon.




The Afterlife of Holly Chase

YA Christmas Books - The Afterlife of Holly Chase

Just like Ebenezer Scrooge, selfish teen Holly was visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve. They urged her to change her ways. Unlike Scrooge, she refused to do so. Years later, she's dead and stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge—as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past.


She's making list. Checking it twice...

🗹 Christmas Carol Retelling

🗹 Second Chances & Redemption

🗹 New York City Christmas Setting



Sweet Tie-In:

My original thought was to go OG A Christmas Carol fare for this one. Then, I realized Christmas Pudding appears to be what we Americans would call fruit cake--the most loathsome of desserts. So, in clear defiance of such an unnaturally chewy abomination, I've found some Bones Coffee and Biscotti. The coffee is perfect because our MC is dead but still Christmasy, just like the mascot for Bones Coffee.





A Soul as Cold as Frost

YA Christmas Reads + Sweets

Book two of this series was just released, so if you're looking for a new series, this one is a great option!


The Winter Souls Series blends action and warm Christmas traditions, bringing the old forgotten tales of the season to life with new and grittier versions of famous characters out of old holiday legends, folklore, and myths.


She's making list. Checking it twice...

🗹 Magical Winter World

🗹 Christian Symbolism

🗹 Perfect for Fans of The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe


Sweet Tie-In:

In the story, Helen receives some amazing hot chocolate from dwarves! The author really set the mood because numerous reviewers mention it lol My mom is crazy for hot chocolate bombs. If you've never had one, they are so fun. All you have to do is pour warm milk (any type) over top, and the chocolate melts down and little marshmallows pop out. It's a snack-tivity! If you prefer something lush and classic, you can't go wrong with the Godiva sampler on the right.





Midnight in Everwood

YA Christmas Reads - Midnight in Everwood

I haven't actually read this one yet, but it's on my TBR!! I love the ballet and the Nutcracker in particular. Add in an extra dash of magic and this gorgeous cover, and I'm sold.


She's making list. Checking it twice...

🗹 Nutcracker Retelling

🗹 Mysterious Toymaker

🗹 Forced to Join "Society" and Wed with a Holiday Deadline

🗹 A Frozen Sugar Palace





Sweet Treat Tie-In

Okay. Okay. This tea isn't technically sweet, but if you had a spoonful of sugar (or honey), it is! And it's super Nutcracker and sweet themed. Walkers are AMAZING and famous for their shortbread, and in the book, the houses are made of gingerbread and confections!




Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Illustrated Edition

YA Holiday Reads

You didn't really think I would leave Harry Potter off the list, did you? The Christmas and winter scenes in this series are so luscious, I had to include them! But even if you've already read the original a thousand times, you may be interested in this beautiful illustrated hardcover OR the *animated* illustrated version on Kindle. Click the book image to see for yourself.


She's making list. Checking it twice...

🗹 Spectacular Magical Christmas Feast

🗹 Goodness Overcoming Evil

🗹 Christmas Gifts & Stockings

🗹 Found Family that Will Make Your Heart Grow 3x Large


Honorable Mention to Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows for this sad Christmas feels moment.

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The scene in the GIF takes places on Christmas Eve in the graveyard where Harry's parents are buried. Hermione conjures a wreath of white roses and lays it on the grave. (I'm not crying. You're crying.) I also think this is the origin point of many a Harry/Hermione shipper.


Sweet Treat Tie-In

Honestly, I could barely pick! There are so many amazing candies and treats in this series. I decided to go with a few pre-made options that require no baking, but if you're up for a bit more work, google "butterbeer cake recipe." They look amazing.



Looking for more winter reads?

Read Seven Crowns. It's not a Christmas read, but it does have winter scenes!


She's making list. Checking it twice...

🗹 Spectacular Winter Ball with Gowns

🗹 Healing Old Family Wounds

🗹 Snowball Fight & Ice Skating

🗹 New Years Scene


Start Reading Today on:

Amazon

Kobo

Nook

Apple Books




Stocking Stuffer

Ho! Ho! Ho! Here's a stocking stuffer for you! I have five freebies for you to choose from: 37 (a gripping fantasy flash fiction piece), The Matchmaker & the Coven (a younger YA fantasy novelette), a sample of Seven Crowns (the first in a YA series), 100 Awesome Story Prompts, and a guide for growing your newsletter.

Claim Your Free Story!





Mega Giveaway

Santa is really coming through for someone this year. Click here for a chance to win our mega bookish giveaway with over $700 worth of YA books and merch!



YA Sci-Fi & Fantasy Addicts, a bookish fan community for readers obsessed with YA sci-fi and fantasy, just launched a blog! Check in for book reviews, sneak previews, cover reveals, book lists, quizzes, giveaways, and more!


You can visit the new site at www.yasff.com.




What's new on the blog?

10+ Magical & Charming Bookstores to Add to Your Travel Bucket List

Have you ever visited a bookstore that was so cozy and comforting that you never wanted to leave? Check out the list of magical, charming bookstores. You'll find everything from a sprawling, grand bookstore located in a former theater to a folksy bookstore run by a cat boss in Hawaii.


16 Essential YA Sci-Fi Reads for Genre Newbies

If you ask Facebook, Bookstagram, or BookTok, YA fantasy is all the rage. Fae, mermaids, sexy vampires, and conflicted angels are more popular than ever.

But what if I told you there was another genre out there that can transport you to fantastical worlds? One that combines futurism, technology, and fantasy elements into a single majestic, innovative genre?

Enter YA science fiction. If you're a newbie to this genre, here are my 16 essential reads I think you need to try!


Top 10 Morally Grey Characters of YA/NA Fantasy

Who doesn't love a good morally grey character? The good guy with a flair of villainy. The devil with the heart of gold. The cold-hearted murderer who has a soft spot that you just can't resist. After extensive research (and by research, I mean obsessive binge-reading), Click to see my top 10 finalists in the morally grey characters category.