You can tell a lot about a character, based on the name the author chose. I love seeing all the different names, but sometimes a character name will actually turn me off on the book. And of course, there are character names that make me want to read the book just because one of the characters has that name! Like, if there’s a character named Arianna, Belladonna, Sebastian, Aiden, Braedyn and others. I really love those names and don’t come across them much. So when I see a book that has a main character with one of those names, I have to pick it up and see if the rest of the book appeals.
I love when authors use more unusual names, or at least unusual to me. Like, I loved Hermione in Harry Potter. I’d never heard of that name before, but it looked pretty and was different, so it actually made it easy to remember. Vanyel from the Valdemar series is another one I loved at first sight.
But then there are some names that I didn’t really like. I’m not sure if they were too odd, or just some kind of intuition that I wouldn’t enjoy the character. Like Azra from Becoming Jinn, and Aza Ray from Magonia. I didn’t click with the character or the world in either of those books.
Unpronounceable names irk me. Sometimes they’re really pretty looking, and sometimes you love the world and the character so much! But not having any idea whatsoever how to pronounce the name drives me crazy. I find myself calling the character “girl” or “guy” in my head. Like Agnieszka from Uprooted. I really liked the book, but couldn’t for the life of me, come up with even a shortened nickname type of idea for her.
I also like older spellings of more common names. Like Nikolas instead of Nicholas. Jaysen instead of Jason, etc. I’m not entirely sure why, as some of the more modern spellings drive me up a wall sometimes. (Like Vyktorya instead of Victoria; Catheronn instead of Catherine or Katherine; Jessyka instead of Jessica…)
What names do you love seeing in books? Any that you hate on sight? How do you handle characters with unpronounceable names? Are there any names that make you want to read the book, JUST because that name is a character in it?