What do you think of an Evil-ish Protagonist?

So I’ve been working on this book for a while, trying to figure out if it’s something unique or overdone. This is the blurb:

“Everybody has their calling. Malia murders people for money. And she enjoys it. Unfortunately, nobody seems to respect her calling. When Malia’s past catches up with her, she realizes that some problems are more difficult to kill than people. Quite suddenly, the assassin is on the run from a persistent group of mercenaries hellbent on trying to kill her and an even more irritating idiot, albeit hot, knight named Sir Evander Noble trying to protect her. Her only chance at freedom is to save the missing princess and clear her name. Unfortunately, the second thing Malia soon realizes is that saving people is much more difficult than killing them.”

My premise is that Malia is technically the sister of the missing princess but she abdicated three years ago after she killed her first person (a whole dark, sad story that left her on this path destruction). Then, after the crown princess gets kidnapped, an idiot knight shows up to ‘protect’ Malia because she is technically next in line (because apparently her parents never signed-off on her abdication). It’s a whole satirical rendition on the hero’s quest to save the princess so that Malia doesn’t have to give up her life as an assassin.

Along the way she has to face aspects of her past she’s been avoiding and come to terms with the original death that had pushed her to suppress all her guilt. In the end, she has to come to terms with her guilt and ends up retiring from her career as an assassin to become a knight (because who says girls can’t be knights too?).

It’s targeted at young adults (16-22), and there is some swearing.

What do y’all think?

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I dont the hold murder assassin thing fits well with the missing princess plot-line

I think if you do the whole evilish protagonist, you need a more darker past for her to make her somewhat understandable as a character.

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Thanks! I’m still trying to develop her character to justify things without detracting from the satirical nature of the story itself. Basically, what I have come up with for her backstory is that she was sixteen and one of her family friend’s tried to rape her. In the struggle, she ended up stabbing and killing him. Instead of confronting her guilt she convinced herself that the momentary glee she felt when she realized he was dead—the adrenaline and relief that she was safe—was glee because she was a bad person who enjoyed killing other people. So, from there on, she abdicated and went to escape everything. A few months after she left she ran into a mugger, this time acting on her instincts, killed the man. From there on out, she begins to kinda of fall into the path of things and eventually becomes the person she is today. I just couldn’t exactly sum all that up in so few words.

Does that seem like a solid justification?

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Yeah, I like that much better

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Also, does she have a moral code or is she pure evil? Like only kills bad people

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With evil protagonists, it’s difficult because you want them to be likeable to the reader and engaging. With this, I’d recommend a solid moral code, like if she only kills bad people, and makes it clear that she perhaps would NOT hurt a child. Something like that would work to make her more likeable

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Her mentality is that she only kills people who she thinks have the same evil in them as her—the desire kill. She considered killing herself after she killed the mugger, but she couldn’t bring herself to do something like that, so now she gets rid of people who she thinks have that same evil in them as her.

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I like that a lot acutally, adds complexity

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I think evil protagonists are so so cool when they’re done right. If they have a good reason for doing what they’re doing then I think that makes it a bit more justified in the story. Also, your story sounds super interesting!! I’d love to read it once it’s ready

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I mean, I just finished reading a book in which the protagonist raped a sleepwalking woman, molested a child, and at the very end, killed the woman he loved. There are readers who can stomach a lot of evil in a protagonist so long as the story is intriguing.

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Interesting, I was just researching how to write a villain protagonist. Overall, I think this sounds like a great idea because rather than the typical fall into evil, which is what I think of when evil(ish) protagonists come to mind, it sounds like a morally bad character dealing with repressed emotions like guilt to become a better person, which is a very clear arc that could make for good storytelling.

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My take on this is: there truly isn’t much books that focus on evilish- characters, and it’s so disappointing! Many of my friends along with me often read the side stories of villains rather than the actual protagonist. But there should be some limit, I don’t want the characters to be truly horrible ie all the villains in fairy tales, but I do enjoy a good background storied villain. And I really like your blurb of the story, but just remember to make the plot intriguing, which you did. Honestly, I think people are over the phrase of a mild princess and waiting for a feisty protagonist, so :+1:

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Your story sounds great, and I would love to read it once its going!

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I was honestly wondering the same thing. My protagonist has flaws. Like a lot of them. She’s hell bent on getting vengeance for the murder of her CRUEL parents, whose deaths were actually a mercy to the world. As a result of her vindictiveness, she kills ‘innocent’ people, and her actions unintentionally leads to the harm and even murder of the people she cares about.
While there is much more to the story, a lot more to her and planned character development, I am curious if the aspects I mentioned will drive readers away?

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I love the premise and want to read this so bad. I was thinking you could maybe start the Summary by saying:

“Everyone has their calling. Some knit, some bake. Malia kills people. “

But it’s your story.

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Villainous main characters can be very interesting. If you want to see how well they can be done look up Darth Plagueis by James Luceno or the Darth Bane trilogy.

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