I love a good tortured hero - I think anyone who visits here with any kind of regularity has been able to figure that out *g*. When I think back on my favourite books and what they might have in common, probably 90% of them feature a hero who has been tortured in one way or another:
- Derek Craven - born of a prostitute, lived a horrid life including many nasty jobs; chimney sweep, resurectionist etc.
- Gabriel St. Croix - sold to a Parisian brothel when he was just a young boy and used by both men and women.
- Johnny Harris - sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit, raped while he was there and before that, beaten by his father and abandoned by his mother.
- Lord Ian MacKenzie - delivered to an insane asylum when he was young and witnessed his father killing his mother, whereupon he underwent horrible abuses.
- Conor's Way - watched his family starve to death in Ireland, he came to America and earned his way as a boxer until he was beaten nearly to death for not throwing a fight.
- Branden Kel Paton who was painfully turned into half machine and forced to live his life watching his every thought and loving a woman from afar.
- And many more.....
- Nicholas Kenleigh who was captured and tortured and left with terrible scars and a feeling of overwhelming guilt over surviving.
The book I'm reading now; Born of Night, I'm quite enjoying it and will have a review up once I'm done, but My Word, she's thrown everything in but the kitchen sink as far as torture is concerned. Here's just a sample of what she's put the poor guy through
- He wore a leather mask for the first part of his life and he had worn it for so long, it grew into his skin and then it was ripped right off his face.
- He had his finger nails ripped out and as if that weren't enough, they were then dipped in acid so they wouldn't grow back
- His mother threw him away and he spent his formative years in an orphanage
- He had to drink out of a toilet - because the people who looked after him considered him an animal
- He was constantly beaten and had many a bone broken
- He had to wear a 'collar' that could inflict and control pain
- He was thrown into a cell when just a young lad with rapists and pedophiles
And those are just some of the things he's gone through!! When an author writes a hero this tortured, I can't help but think he'd more likely be a sociopathic criminal instead of just a poor misunderstood guy just looking for the right woman to make him a warm and cuddly teddy bear.
As I said, I think Sherrilyn Kenyon is the author who writes the most overtortured tortured heroes. I'm not the only one who has noticed this. Stacy of Stacy's Place on Earth did a recent review of Fantasy Lover and made this comment:
Having already read several books in this series, I've already noticed that Sherrilyn Kenyon tends to make her heroes really suffer. I mean REALLY. Just wait til Zarek, if you haven't read the books.
I couldn't agree more. Only for me, she goes overboard and makes them all too tortured.
But she's not the only author. I think part of the reason I haven't joined the JR Ward train is her overtortured tortured heroes. I read the first one and while Wrath was tortured in Dark Lover, it hadn't been ramped up that much. But then I read Lover Eternal and she did quite a number on poor Rhage. And reading about some of the other brothers, I could tell they were all candidates for the Overtortured Tortured Hero club.
I don't really mean to pick on these two authors, I've loved books by both of them, but they are such obvious examples. They seem to almost revel in The Overtorture.
What about anyone else? Are you a fan of the tortured hero like me? But do you feel a hero can be too tortured? Can you think of any other hero who could be classified as an Overtortured Tortured Hero? Is there an author who you think goes over the line?