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!
"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
“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.
"I'm going to rule, Val... But I want it to be something worth ruling... A Pax Americana through the whole world."
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.
“They've never found the body of the first and only boy who broke my heart. And they never will.” - Shadows Between Us
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'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.)
“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
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