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pendell
2012-01-20, 11:33 AM
So I'm reading with a relative, and said relative got agitated and demanded I put the book down. Why? Well, the main characters in the book were two adolescent male twins who -- to her mind -- badly needed a spanking. They were cocksure, arrogant, and spoiled rotten by their families.

Relative is a child of divorce and spent most of her early life being passed around like a football between various relatives. She prefers characters from that similar background -- people like Joat from The City Who Fought (http://www.amazon.com/The-City-Who-Fought/dp/B0000545WW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1327077063&sr=8-2). Joat (short for Jill Of All Trades) is a rogue-like person who has also been kicked around by family members. But she's got a heart of gold and eventually saves the day.

Well, since my reading plan got trashed through reader revolt, I now need to find some new geeky-type books starring people like that as heroes. Any suggestions? It is as important, I think, that the protaganist be somewhat heroic as well as lost. Malcolm Reynolds would be an example of the type. Doesn't have to be squeaky clean, but I don't think a vampire story is what is looked for.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

warty goblin
2012-01-20, 11:46 AM
Problematic; there's plenty of SF/Fantasy about orphans, but most of those still manage to act like spoiled brats...I'll see what comes to mind.

How old is said relative? Are we talking young adult stuff here, or can we go older?

Saph
2012-01-20, 11:50 AM
What about Jim Butcher's Dresden Files? Harry Dresden's an orphan and in fact comes from exactly that kind of "passed around" childhood, although the novels are set much later in his life. Doesn't really act like a spoiled brat either.

Traab
2012-01-20, 11:50 AM
Isnt the His Dark Materials trilogy starting off with an orphaned girl? I only read the series once, but I vaguely recall it. Starts with The Golden Compass.

Saph
2012-01-20, 11:53 AM
Isnt the His Dark Materials trilogy starting off with an orphaned girl? I only read the series once, but I vaguely recall it. Starts with The Golden Compass.

Nope, she's the daughter of two of the main characters, Lord Asriel and Marisa Coulter. (She's also closer to 'spoiled brat' than the opposite. :smallbiggrin:)

pendell
2012-01-20, 12:07 PM
How old is said relative? Are we talking young adult stuff here, or can we go older?


Relative is above 18, so we can give adult stuff.

Dresden Files, Golden Compass ... good suggestions so far.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Axolotl
2012-01-20, 12:14 PM
To be honest the only SF/F book I can think of with child protaganists who aren't whiney and spoilt is A Song of Ice and Fire. And that's mainly because the series makes it's characters suffer alot. Although they aren't orphans.

Forum Explorer
2012-01-20, 12:22 PM
For the Golden Compass stop reading the series about half-way through the third book. Right after the big battle. Also skip every chapter with the wheel people.

Artemis Fowl series might work as well. It's kinda iffy on that matter. Not so much an orphan as neglected and raised with warped values.

Dragon Rider and Thief Lord are also pretty good but they are for a younger audience. The Girl who Flies is also a great story but doesn't really deal with this subject at all, just has a child protagonist.

Traab
2012-01-20, 12:31 PM
Nope, she's the daughter of two of the main characters, Lord Asriel and Marisa Coulter. (She's also closer to 'spoiled brat' than the opposite. :smallbiggrin:)

Ah ok, I for some reason thought it was an odd mixture of foster parents, and boarding school type of living. Must have been thinking of some other story.

kamikasei
2012-01-20, 12:51 PM
I'm about halfway through the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson and enjoying it so far. The main character isn't quite an orphan but is separated/estranged/run away from her parents. The fact that she grew up on the streets at the very bottom of the pecking order in the criminal underworld is a major part of her character; "spoiled" or "arrogant" are very far from describing her.

Ah ok, I for some reason thought it was an odd mixture of foster parents, and boarding school type of living. Must have been thinking of some other story.
At the start of the story she doesn't know who her parents are, and has been raised by the Oxford college faculty, believing herself to be an orphan.

Saph
2012-01-20, 12:53 PM
Ah ok, I for some reason thought it was an odd mixture of foster parents, and boarding school type of living. Must have been thinking of some other story.

I think you did get it right actually - she's originally introduced in the story as an orphan. That said, given how the characters who turn out to be her mother and father treat her, there are a lot of hints.


I'm about halfway through the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson and enjoying it so far. The main character isn't quite an orphan but is separated/estranged/run away from her parents. The fact that she grew up on the streets at the very bottom of the pecking order in the criminal underworld is a major part of her character; "spoiled" or "arrogant" are very far from describing her.

Ooh, yeah, that's a good one. The main character in that one's about as far from 'luxurious childhood' as you can get, and it's a really good book.

IrnBruAddict
2012-01-20, 01:08 PM
Guessing the most obvious orphan, Harry Potter, is no good?

Then I would recommend Soul Music by Terry Pratchett, orphan girl Susan who keeps her head on straight despite being Death's grandaughter and is pretty heroic when she gets older in Hogfather and Theif of Time (Lobsang in that is also a heroic orphan). Sam Vimes in the Watch books also fits partialy because despite having a 'dear old mum' he had a very rough childhood but rises to overcome this and be a heroic character dspite his faults, especialy in Nightwatch when you see his younger self.

Bookman
2012-01-20, 01:18 PM
Guessing the most obvious orphan, Harry Potter, is no good?

Then I would recommend Soul Music by Terry Pratchett, orphan girl Susan who keeps her head on straight despite being Death's grandaughter and is pretty heroic when she gets older in Hogfather and Theif of Time (Lobsang in that is also a heroic orphan). Sam Vimes in the Watch books also fits partialy because despite having a 'dear old mum' he had a very rough childhood but rises to overcome this and be a heroic character dspite his faults, especialy in Nightwatch when you see his younger self.

In the same Terry Pratchett vein I'd suggest The Wee Free Men. I can't fully remember the details but I seem to recall the main character had been shunted around a bit before ending up where she was in the book. It's been a while but over all it's a fantastic read.

Dr.Epic
2012-01-20, 01:21 PM
Seems like you can't go 10 feet in the sci-fi/fantasy/superhero genre without coming across an orphan. I'm not sure how much trouble you'll have with this.

Traab
2012-01-20, 01:31 PM
The belgariad series. Starts with pawn of prophecy.

pendell
2012-01-20, 01:56 PM
Seems like you can't go 10 feet in the sci-fi/fantasy/superhero genre without coming across an orphan. I'm not sure how much trouble you'll have with this.

I know what *I* can find. I want to know what other people have found. Who knows? I might learn something new. New books and new authors always good.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Mewtarthio
2012-01-20, 02:06 PM
I'm about halfway through the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson and enjoying it so far. The main character isn't quite an orphan but is separated/estranged/run away from her parents. The fact that she grew up on the streets at the very bottom of the pecking order in the criminal underworld is a major part of her character; "spoiled" or "arrogant" are very far from describing her.


Ooh, yeah, that's a good one. The main character in that one's about as far from 'luxurious childhood' as you can get, and it's a really good book.

Took the words right out of my mouth. Though there is no foster care system in the Final Empire; Vin gets passed around through various crime syndicates instead, for extra grimdark.

Word of warning: The first book is positively cheerful compared to the rest of the trilogy.

Xondoure
2012-01-20, 02:34 PM
In the same Terry Pratchett vein I'd suggest The Wee Free Men. I can't fully remember the details but I seem to recall the main character had been shunted around a bit before ending up where she was in the book. It's been a while but over all it's a fantastic read.

Not really. Same house, same family. She just doesn't get along very well with them, and has mostly learned to take care of herself as she's the youngest daughter of a very big family with only one boy who happens to be her little brother. That said, she is very strong and quite the opposite of spoiled so it is worth a shot.

Lord Raziere
2012-01-20, 03:03 PM
Took the words right out of my mouth. Though there is no foster care system in the Final Empire; Vin gets passed around through various crime syndicates instead, for extra grimdark.

Word of warning: The first book is positively cheerful compared to the rest of the trilogy.

Y'know I'm starting to think that I'm completely unaffected by Grimdark and that I can't detect it, cause I just thought that was all normal rising action, climax and starting out with the usual problem stuff.

I mean heroes are there to explore the problem and solve it right? therefore make a good and heavy problem exist for them to solve.

oh and yeah, I second Harry Dresden, Mistborn.

…..Unfortunately, despite my vast stores of books, I can't find a different book about orphans. unless you count Ciaphas Cain. He might be an orphan. we are not sure. he did however grow up on a hive world….but he is far from cocky or arrogant.

Traab
2012-01-20, 03:05 PM
There are a couple mercedes lackey books that have orphan main characters. Oathbound, Oathbreakers, and Oathblood. The first two are the main series, the last is a collection of short stories that involve them.

Mewtarthio
2012-01-20, 03:15 PM
Y'know I'm starting to think that I'm completely unaffected by Grimdark and that I can't detect it, cause I just thought that was all normal rising action, climax and starting out with the usual problem stuff.

Right. That was the wrong word. Mistborn is not grimdark; the Final Empire (the trilogy's setting), however, is both grim and dark.

IrnBruAddict
2012-01-20, 06:48 PM
unless you count Ciaphas Cain. He might be an orphan. we are not sure. he did however grow up on a hive world….but he is far from cocky or arrogant.

He is, all commissars are from the Schola Progenium as are Storm troopers and Sisters of Battle. Don't know if I would read someone a Black Library book if they didn't have some 40k history though. But if any book was a good place to start then For the Emperor would be it.

And if she likes that I'm pretty sure that Gaunt (also a Commissar) and Kage are orphans, but those are much darker, morally grey books with less humour.

You say she isn't really an orphan but a child suffering from divorce? Then I would recommend Jacqueline Wilson, especially The Suitcase Kid (about a child who lives with both here divorced parents, shipped between the two) and Tracy Beaker (about a girl in a cre home who makes up stories about her mum taking her away). Might be a little young for her but still relevant and touching no matter your age.

cha0s4a11
2012-01-20, 11:41 PM
The book series that comes to mind that nobody's mentioned so far is the Takeshi Kovacs' series by Richard Morgan, first book of which is Altered Carbon.

It's sci-fi with a strong noir feel that is definitely well towards the cynical side of the cynicism vs idealism scale. The main character would probably be considered something of a heroic sociopath and while he isn't technically an orphan (it's rather hard to permanently die in the setting) he's pretty much about as close as you can get given the setting, and in some ways worse off.

Bookman
2012-01-21, 12:14 AM
Not really. Same house, same family. She just doesn't get along very well with them, and has mostly learned to take care of herself as she's the youngest daughter of a very big family with only one boy who happens to be her little brother. That said, she is very strong and quite the opposite of spoiled so it is worth a shot.

Like I said it'd been a VERY long time since I've read it... we're talking 5ish years or more?

warty goblin
2012-01-21, 12:27 AM
There's always Watership Down. It's not clear whether Hazel and Fiver are orphans, but they certainly start on the down and out, and that situation deteriorates before it gets better. Sure it's about rabbits and is in no way traditional fantasy, but the language is marvelous to read aloud and it is one of my all time favorite stories.

The myth adventures books are fun and feature an orphan as main character, although one's tolerance for puns has to quite high.

Jade Dragon
2012-01-21, 12:53 AM
Ashtown Burials I: The Dragon's Tooth. Only one out in the series so far.

Please declare aloud: I hereby undertake to tread the world, to garden the wild, and to saddle the seas, as did my brother Brendan. I will not turn away from shades in fear, nor avert my eyes from light. I shall do as my Keeper requires, and keep no secret from a Sage. May the stars guide me and my strength preserve me. And no smoking in the library. Translation approved, 1946.

erikun
2012-01-21, 01:15 AM
Jim Butcher's Furies of Calderon, along with the rest of the Codex Alera, would probably fit the bill. Tavi is living with his aunt and uncle, is somewhat isolated from others due to his lack of magic, and is most definitely not the whiny type.

Piers Anthony's early Xanth books, A Spell for Chameleon and The Source of Magic, might fit as well... depending on how maturely you can handle the occasional over sexuality in the books. Bink isn't an actual orphan, but he sure has problems to deal with and is forced to leave home. Still, casual talk about people walking around nude might be a turn-off for some readers.

[Edit]
Ranger's Apprentice (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranger%27s_Apprentice) books have an orphan as a main character, and he's a rather upstanding guy, but I found the writing itself rather bland. Still, you could probably pick them up for cheap and at least check out the first book.



If you're willing to go outside books, I'd recommend Bunny Drop (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunny_Drop). No, seriously. It's about a thirty-year old guy adopting a six year old relative that nobody wants, and the ordeals he needs to make in transitioning from a single guy to a single parent. Just make sure you stick with the first four books only; the series took a massive attitude change halfway through, and the last four volumes would likely not be as engaging (assuming they ever get translated).

There is also a Bunny Drop anime out, which covers the events of the first four books. I've heard good things about it.

Don Julio Anejo
2012-01-21, 01:34 AM
To be honest the only SF/F book I can think of with child protaganists who aren't whiney and spoilt is A Song of Ice and Fire. And that's mainly because the series makes it's characters suffer alot. Although they aren't orphans.
Let me Yes, yes they are. that for you.

bluewind95
2012-01-24, 01:59 AM
The Acorna series is an odd mix of sci-fi and fantasy. The main character is an orphan. She is not a spoiled brat. She is quite heroic.

There's 7 books in that series. They're written by Anne McCaffrey, along with some other authors. It's a very enjoyable series, I daresay.

pendell
2012-01-24, 09:48 AM
There's always Watership Down. It's not clear whether Hazel and Fiver are orphans, but they certainly start on the down and out, and that situation deteriorates before it gets better. Sure it's about rabbits and is in no way traditional fantasy, but the language is marvelous to read aloud and it is one of my all time favorite stories.

The myth adventures books are fun and feature an orphan as main character, although one's tolerance for puns has to quite high.

Watership down is one of her favorite books. Bunny Drop has possibilities too.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Traab
2012-01-24, 10:06 AM
Im pretty sure some of the redwall abbey stories have orphaned main characters. Its been a LONG time since I read them though.

H Birchgrove
2012-01-24, 09:17 PM
Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein.

David Starr, Space Ranger (and the other novels in the Lucky Starr series) by Isaac Asimov. Interestingly, the couple who adopts David (orphaned by space pirates) are two male scientists, either being heterosexual life-partners or (on a meta-level) closeted homosexual men.

Mio, My Son by Astrid Lindgren. The film and radio play versions made me sob. BTW, Christian Bale and Christopher Lee stars in the film.

The Brothers Lionheart, also by Astrid Lindgren. Film version made me cry. Very existential.

Batman comics.

Pre-Crisis Superman comics.