Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books For Readers Who Like Character Driven Novels

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You can find all the awesome details of the meme right here. If you run a blog, I highly suggest you join it — it’s great fun! 

I found this an interesting topic, actually. Because isn’t every novel character-driven? Without the characters, there is no story, so technically, every story is driven by characters. However if I have to choose what I would consider to be more character-driven than usual, then there are the ones I’d recommend.

“I think the best stories always end up being about the people rather than the event, which is to say character-driven.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

118700851. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

This is a novel that is not just about cancer — but the characters, too. So much emotion is filled into these pages, and I think that was mainly because this is such a character-driven novel that’ll leave you in a foetal position crying.

64702692. Anything written by Stephen King.

Confession time: I don’t really like King. He’s a good writer — but just not for me. One of the more positive things I can say about his novels, however, is that his character are freakin’ fantastic. Layered, intriguing, never who you think they are. I’ve only read two or so novels by him, yet already I can tell most of his novels are driven by their characters.

192880433. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

Oh my gosh. This is a book that will twist your mind inside out, then back again. The characters were so complex, something disturbingly so. If this isn’t a character driven novel, then I don’t know what is!

4. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.11788809

One of my favourite high fantasy novels, that is for sure. But as I was writing this list I realized that this novel would fit nicely into this week’s topic. With a large cast of characters, A Game of Thrones is clearly a driven by the characters and their motivations — greed, desire, whatever that may be, and focuses a lot on their plights to, well, take the Iron Throne, really. (If you like a fantasy sort of political drama that focuses on character, you’ll like this.)

995615. Looking For Alaska by John Green.

Personally I think that most realistic fiction novels are going to be character driven — as there is not a greater fantastical plotline, it gives the author less to focus on, and therefore the characters take the forefront.

6. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer.41865

I love these books. Deal with it. And yes, I feel as though there is a greater concentration on the characters and their relationships rather than “plot”, exactly.

1865217. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

I read this for school — and surprisingly liked it! Definitely character driven, that’ll leave you feeling a little sad by the time you’ve finished it. I do recommend it, even if you’re not really a classic book reader — it’s short, and easy to get through.

109648. Outlander by Diana Diana Gabaldon.

Reading this at the moment — and really liking it — and finding that there is a story centered around the characters. And, of course, men in skirts.

223411479. Cooper Bartholomew is Dead by Rebecca James.

I loved the characters in this one. Love them. Even though there story is about finding out what happened to Cooper, I do believe the characters were what made this book.

That’s my Top Ten Tuesday for this week! Question for you: Do you prefer character or plot driven novels? Why? Also, link me to your Top Ten Tuesday below! :)


19 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books For Readers Who Like Character Driven Novels

  1. I had Looking for Alaska too! FINALLY refrained from putting The Fault in Our Stars (if only because I think people are sick of seeing it on my TTTs, lol). Definitely true that all stories are character-driven. I have a copy of On Writing too, that has been very helpful to me. Great choices :)

    • HAHA. I swear, TFiOS always seems to be on my list, too. I just can’t help it! It too amazing not to put on every list you can. <3

      On Writing is great, isn’t it? It’s probably the only non-fiction book I’ll ever voluntarily read, but it was also really helpful. Stephen King has had a very interesting life.

  2. That’s a hard thing to pitch against on another. Can I cheat and say I prefer half plot, half character. I’m not one for a story that skimps on either. I’m greedy and want both xD I haven’t read Gone Girl yet (I’M TERRIBLE) but have seen the movie, but from what I can tell, you’re on point. That story requires the characters to take the heft. I totally agree with Outlander as well. I love the character development in that (and Jamie. My first and foremost love remains Jamie <33) Fantastic choices, Kara!

    • Yep — I want both, too! Plot and characters are equally as important as each other, I think, so when one or the other falls flat in a novel… I’m usually disappointed.

      *gasps* How can you watch a movie without reading the book first?? I can’t! :)

      I think I must be the only girl who doesn’t like Jamie that much!! I mean, he’s okay, I just think it’s the whole man-in-a-skirt that puts me off, haha.

  3. I find that most character driven YA I’ve enjoyed have all been contemporaries really, but when it comes to dystopians etc, I prefer plot driven and world building more so than characters. I think it completely depends on the genre. John Green is brilliant when it comes to his characters dictating where his stories go. Great choices. I actually did my first TTT for Sporadic Reads where I’m now coblogging (Besides my own blog), trying to take over ALL the blogs. Great list Kara, thanks for sharing <3

    Top Ten Tuesday

  4. Hi. I think TFIOS is more plot driven rather than character driven because it’s about their love story, not so much character growth in my humble opinion. Anyway I’m reading Looking for Alaska and so far enjoying it. I can’t wait to finish reading & talk about it with the friend who loans me his book. I like Twilight but didn’t like New Moon. :)

    Feel free to visit my list

  5. I’ve been seeing Outlander everywhere lately, I really need to pick it up soon. Like almost everyone, I loved The Fault in Our Stars and Game of Thrones; I can’t really think of any story that is similar to Game of Thrones, it’s so epic and unique!

    Outlander and Gone Girl have been on my TBR for a while, maybe I should go ahead and pick them up soon. I have only ever read 1 book from Stephen King -confession time- but I quite like the TV show of Under the Dome but the book is so huge! It intimidates me…

    • Outlander IS everywhere at the moment — you’re right! Probably because of the adaptation. I highly recommend Gone Girl. Definitely one of my favourites books I’ve read all this year; I didn’t like Under the Dome as much (it is VERY different from the TV show, btw) but give it a chance — you might like it.

  6. Woot! I used Looking for Alaska too! ^-^

    I kind of agree though…I mean, I was scrolling through my goodreads (as one days before writing a TTT post) and I just kept thinking, “But all these are character driven.” So in the end I just picked my favourite characters, I think. >_< I mean, maybe contemporaries are MORE character driven, because the plot barely exists. The plot sometimes IS the characters. Whereas in epic-fantasies, I guess the journey or quest or whatnot is….different. BLEH. WHAT AM I EVEN SAYING? Least to say: I believe all books should be character driven.

    • I found it really hard to differentiate between a character and plot driven novel. I mean, surely most novels are character driven to some extent? But yes, I do agree that contemps are more likely to be character driven. Interestingly so, A Game of Thrones is a epic/high fantasy, yet I still thought that it focused more on the characters than plot.

  7. I love character driven ones like Catcher in the Rye/ perks of being a wallflower when I’m in the mood for some really intense yet mellow moments. I love plot driven ones when I’m looking forward to fast-paciness and lots and lots of ACTION! Action makes me smile. That and rapidly changing scenes in an action-driven novel. They’re just epic. Like a blockbuster, but book version!

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