First of all, I’m a reader who loves an anti-hero and an anti-heroine. The anti is one of my favourite protags.
The reason why I enjoy them so much is because the moral struggle and ambiguity makes for a dark and complex character. I guess it’s pretty obvious that the interesting and well developed character is right at the top of my reader’s checklist.
Another item high up on the list are themes/characters/etc that challenge me, that make me think. The anti-hero/ine definitely does this because they always make me wonder what I would do in similar circumstances. An interesting question, yes.
Anyway, what got me mulling on this topic was a post Kristie J wrote about Linda Howard’s Death Angel (which I loved – thought it was one of her best books in a long while) and one where Carolyn Jean questioned whether the morality bar was set higher for fictional and real heroines.
I was fascinated by the discussion and it made me come up with a few questions of my own…
Why is it some readers are more accepting of an anti-hero than they are of an anti-heroine in books?
Does it all boil down to gender, which anti has what parts?
In other words, are some female readers unable to relate to an anti-heroine character because they can’t imagine themselves in the same position? Maybe it hits too close to home?
Or are female readers just more convinced that a male character is capable of such questionable ethics?
What do you think?