The premise, more or less, is that at the turn of the century, the world calls upon a group of extraordinary people—characters you’re sure to recognize from Victorian literature—with amazing gifts to discourage a new and dangerous threat. Having watched it, I have to say, it was kind of like Victorian Avengers.
I mean, between a hulking strongman, a mysterious widow, an anachronistic “angel,” a science whiz with an iron ride, a guy who’s always watching, a foreign warrior, and a grizzled leader to bind them all together, you have the cast of both movies.
I’m not going to say more because I think it’s fun determine all the characters yourself, but it did make me think: if I could pick any seven YA protagonists and one villain for them to conquer, who would they be?
1. Artemis FowlAdmittedly, the books are a little more MG, but he’s well into his teens by the time the series ends, so it counts. His skill at planning and winning his battles would be incredibly valuable, and I would want his genius saving the world’s butt. (And, of course, with him comes Butler and the power of the fairies, so I don’t see any downsides to that arrangement.)
2. Linh CinderWell, we all needs a gadgets girl. If she could keep us from having technical problems with our getaway car, that would be great. Also, she can keep weapons in her limbs, if she needs to defend herself.
3. Horace AltmanOkay, maybe not the main character, but Horace is really good at just beating people up and that is what I need at the moment. He’s a logical thinker, a skilled fighter, and a capable team worker, and those are all things I want in at least one male character on this team.
4. Princess CimoreneSure, she’s a princess, but she’s not afraid to adventure, to use a sword, or to cart around water with soap and lemon to defeat wizards. She’s incredibly resourceful, brave, and determined, and she wears dresses without looking gaudy.
5. Connor LassiterConnor is impulsive, but he also works as a good leader and a person who can see his goals through if he needs to. He makes lots of sacrifices, he shows a lot of courage, and even though he might screw up from time to time he has his heart in a good place.
6. Tally YoungbloodIt’s only fair that we have a girl who’s good at beating people up, too. And she’d make a pretty good spy. And, if every team requires a widow, she did lose a love quite a while ago, and I’m sure her emotional instability would be interesting for us all.
7. Otto MalpenseOkay, he’s an Alpha, he can control computers with his brain, he’s a planner, an inventor, and a good leader. And if he weren’t so attached to the people he works with and perhaps gained an ounce of humility (why stop there, even?) I would be fully confident he could win any battle.
And the villain?
Isabel KabraNow, this is back to MG, but even despite my love of so many terrifying villains in YA and above, there’s something about Isabel Kabra that would challenge even the heroes I’ve listed above. She’s powerful enough to impede Otto, heartless enough to challenge Tally, organized enough to thwart Connor, determined enough to match Cimorene, fearsome enough to battle Horace, connected enough to disarm Cinder, and cruel enough to overpower Artemis.
I’m still of that party who refuses to acknowledge any books that came after Vespers Rising, and I haven’t read the books for years, and goshdarnit YA is just better. And yet, here I am, picking Isabel over any other villain in YA I can think of.
Why? Because every other villain I can think of has a limit. Governments are bound by the public and their image. Individuals are bound by their consciences and their abilities. Teams are bound by loyalty and morality and so on and so forth.
And Isabel has none of that. She is feared, she is powerful, and I have every confident she is capable of giving the team I picked a run for their money.
Oh, can you feel the fan fiction burning?