I’ve been editing my MS Once Upon a Dungeon, and I thought it was fun to compare my hero (Prince Alec) to some of my favorite heroes from other upper MG/lower YA titles. I wanted to see how he stacked up in the romance department. Was he swoon-worthy? What made these other heroes so appealing?
Let’s check out the love interests, shall we? (Ha ha, get it? Check out? I kill myself).
*Clicking on the book cover will take you to the description in Goodreads.
Taran of Lloyd Alexander’s The Chronicles of Prydain – Sure, he starts out as an Assistant Pig Keeper, so his profession isn’t all that glamorous, but later he becomes king of practically everything, so, it evens out in the end. He’s just clueless enough to make him adorable and he never deserts his friends. He’s willing to give up guaranteed eternal happiness in order to do the honorable thing, so you know, he’s pretty heroic and all that stuff. Plus, he’s nice to scruffy animals that continuously mooch off him for “crunchings and munchings”.
Prince Char of Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted – He likes to slide down banisters and doesn’t understand why “proper” dinner etiquette requires more than one fork. He puts up with obnoxious ugly stepsisters and isn’t intimidated by Ella’s smarts and talents. Also? He writes love letters. Enough said.
Zach of Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls Series – He has some of the best lines. Ever. He’s mysterious, which is always appealing, and he’s pretty much solid muscle (comes with the whole “spy” territory). He’s suave, despite the handicap of being a teenager, and he speaks a bazillion different languages. He could probably kill me with one move, but when he’s with Cammie, he’s sweeter than a Popsicle on a hot summer’s day. Well, when he’s not busy teasing her, that is.
Hale of Ally Carter’s Heist Society Novels – I know what you’re thinking. Another one by Ally Carter? And the answer is yes, yes it is necessary. Because Hale is another prime example of a male love interest done right. He might not be too “mushy gushy”, and sure, sometimes he’s a little bit on the surly side, but Hale will always be there to help a gal in need. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that he’s more loaded than the Queen of England.
Percy of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series – First of all, he’s the son of a Greek God. So, yeah. He’s fiercely loyal (sometimes to the point of stupidity) and he loves his mother. He has a knack for getting in trouble, which probably has something to do with his general disrespect of authority figures, but he always manages to scrape by. He’s a trouble maker, a smart aleck and kind of a player, but we love him for it.
A pretty nice list, no? With my analysis, the biggest thing I noticed was all these love interests had flair. They each had their own personality and lovable traits that make readers want more. When crafting my own heroes (like Prince Alec), I try to do the same thing.
Who are some of your favorite romantic leads? I’m always looking for book recommendations!