After doing My Favorite Girls and Guys, I kind of got inspired by Regan's video to make a blog post about villains as well. :)
#1: The Darkling from Shadow & Bone (Leigh Bardugo)
Yes... I know. He was already in my Favorite Guys post, but back then I hadn't planned on doing one for the villains, too, so... here he is again. Sorry not sorry.
#2: Vaughn from Wither (Lauren DeStefano)
What I love about Vaughn as the antagonist of the story is that he's not the classic evil villain, making the hero's life miserable either just because or to further his own ends, no. Vaughn instead is actually a relatable character, because he does all his evil deeds because he is driven by the desperate need to create a better, longer life for the only thing he has left in the world, the only thing he loves, which is his son. If it means saving his son, he'll do anything, and I think that's what makes him such an interesting antagonist, and someone who you can actually feel for. Because you can't simply condemn him just like that, knowing why does what he does.
#3: Spoilery spoilery from White Cat (Holly Black)
Now, with this, I can't actually say who's the villain, because it'd spoil and ruin the whole experience that is reading White Cat. It's finding out who's the mysterious memory eraser and manipulator in Cassel's life, and I don't want to take that away from anyone. However, I was really shocked by who it was in the end and I think how the villain set everything in motion is truly inspiring, actually. It's amazing how cunning this antagonist is, to be able to pull off such a marvelous chain reaction that benefits him so much. I have a whole lot respect for that person.
#4: Queen Levana from Cinder (Marissa Meyer)
I don't even know myself why I like Levana so much. It's not that I like her personality or anything, in fact, I hate her, but I think she makes a great villain. She's very cunning as well, and I think what I like so much about her is that she's using everything at her disposal to get what she wants, and it makes her such a powerful person that is to be admired nowadays, because, as a feminist, Levana is a really good example of how women can be more powerful than men.
#5: DeMalo from Blood Red Road (Moira Young)
I'm not quite sure he actually qualifies as a villain in the typical sense of the word, he's rather (at least, in the beginning) one of his hunchmen. But still, he's a very intriguing and mysterious character and thus, also makes a great shadowed antagonist. We don't know much about him, and that makes him such a force to be reckoned with, if he's your enemy. Plus, I loved how he used courtesy as a weapon as well.
#6: The doctor from All Our Yesterdays (Cristin Terrill)
No, not that Doctor. This doctor. I've always liked the evil, mad scientist villain persona, and I know that Vaughn does fit that description a bit, but I think it doesn't define him that much in the end. However, the mad scientist archetype is exactly what the doctor in this book is, especially considering everything you find out about him during the course of the novel. Besides his madness, he's a truly charismatic character and a handsome man, which clashes with his personality and I loved that paradox so much. And then there are his backstory and motives which are intriguing and also kind of sad, so I can sorta understand why he resorts to desperate measures.
#7: Count Saint Germain from Ruby Red (Kerstin Gier)
He's another one of those villains that you really can't help disliking. There's nothing, no proof, no evidence that this character is anything but evil, and I think that's exactly what makes him so interesting. The first question you ask is Why?, and you get the answer in the very end yes, but until then, it makes him continuously intriguing. Also, how he's able to switch personalities and take on many different masks is kind of astounding too. He's, in my opinion, a well done villain.
#8: Viktor & Eli from Vicious (Victoria Schwab)
I've chosen to include both of these, for one simple reason: We don't know who the real villain is. I mean, yes, Eli would be the obvious choice, since he's the one going around killing people and Viktor only wants to stop him, but they both have done great atrocities and both done good things. Eli is being praised as a hero, and Viktor even asks himself whether he's the villain if Eli is the hero. Personally, I think it is unclear and that's part of what makes this book so, so great. Anyways, Viktor & Eli are very complex, diverse characters and I love them as both hero and villain, because they simply are both. Maybe the compromise is to say that they've switches sides: In their youth, Viktor was the evil one and Eli the good one, in adulthood, it's vice versa. But, anyways, one as well as the other has something dark and something good inside of him.
#9: Samjeeza from Unearthly (Cynthia Hand)
Samjeeza is one of those antagonists that I don't even dislike or hate, I simply pity him. I think that one scene with him and Clara in the graveyard in book 2 — if you've read the series you'll know what I'm talking about — was really powerful and speaks volumes about his character. He thinks his motivation is vengeance in a way, but really, it's simply longing and sorrow. And that's what makes him a curious villain.
#10: Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling)
Nah, I don't need to explain this, I really don't. I bet most of you even went through this list just waiting to find this name.
That's it, so far. I have a few more, but I'm not sure whether they actually count as villains per sé, plus, at least two of these were in my Favorite Guys post, which would be Aaron Warner from Shatter Me (Tahereh Mafi) and Cole Stockton from Everneath (Brodi Ashton). Otherwise, names that come to mind when thinking of well done villains would be Jeanine Matthews from Divergent (Veronica Roth), Queen Sabara from The Pledge (Kimberly Derting) and Valentine Morgenstern from The Mortal Instruments (Cassandra Clare).
That being said, I think it's nice that I could finally look away from all of my favorite books otherwise and include some new ones for a change. :D
Take care <3