The Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who Have More Brains than Brawn

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who ___________. Because of my love for smart characters, I decided to go with characters who have more brains than brawn. For most of the books/characters selected, their braininess is an important factor of the book, or I’ve only read the first book but I think it will come in handy in future books. My choices, in no particular order…

1.  The Winner’s Curse, Kestrel

GR-thewinnerscurseMy favorite thing about this book was definitely the mind games. Kestrel is not a fighter, but she is a strategist. I still haven’t read the follow-up, but I hear it’s also twisty turny, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of Kestrel thinking and planning and acting on her strategies.

2. Harry Potter, Hermione

hp-hermione2I loved Hermione from the beginning, as I could completely relate with her studious ways, but I also loved her arc, how she ultimately cared more about her friends than her studies. And let’s just say that Harry would have been completely lost with Hermione’s smarts helping him out along the way.

3. All Fall Down, Megan

gr-allfalldownMegan is a secondary character that we don’t get a ton of, but we see that she has skills and, like Hermione, values friendship as well. I have a feeling we’ll get to see more of Megan’s smarts saving the day in future Embassy Row books.

4. Mistborn, Elend

gr-mistbornOK, this is probably the furthest stretch, but he loves books, and he’s clearly more cerebral and less of a fighter. I still need to read books 2 and 3 (I’m starting to miss the world after a few months away, but I’ve decided I will definitely read them next month!), but I bet he’s going to be helping Vin out in the future.

5. The Hunger Games, Beetee

hg-beetee2I think this is pretty obvious. Though Beetee is not in the first book, he is definitely an important character in the second and third books and helps Katniss in her fight against the Capital.

6. Seraphina, Kiggs & Seraphina

GR-seraphinaJust to make myself perfectly clear, this is only a recommendation for Seraphina, not Shadow Scale because Irejectitlalalalalaitdoesnotexistinmyheadcanon. Anyhow, Seraphina and Kiggs are both bookish people who love reading the philosophers and frequently use their brains to solve problems to help diffuse the tension between people and dragons.

7. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes

sherlockholmes2I just love Sherlock Holmes, because he’s just BRILLIANT. Watson’s a smart cookie too, for sure, but Holmes’ powers of observation and deductive reasoning just make his detective work so fascinating to me.

8. Across a Star-Swept Sea, Persis and Justen

acrossastarsweptPersis is incredibly smart, but she doesn’t act like it to cover up her role as The Wild Poppy. Meanwhile, Justen is a smart scientist seeking a cure for a disease he feels partly responsible for. I love when Persis actually lets a part of her true self shine through to Justen and they speak as equals for just a moment. And I love them individually for how they use their intelligence.

9. Ender’s Game, Ender

enders-game2So, let’s just say this kid is a pretty big deal. And what he does he does not with brawn, but with his brain, with strategy.

1o. Cress, Cress

cressCress might be lacking in the social aptitude department, but make no mistake, this girl is a gifted hacker, and she is a beneficial help to Cinder.

Bonus! Fitz and Simmons from TV’s Agents of SHIELD

fitzsimmons1fitzsimmons2If you follow me on Twitter, it’s no secret to you that I am an Agents of SHIELD fangirl. And I love these two and all their science babble. I want book characters like these two!

Who are your favorite smart characters from books?

19 thoughts on “The Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who Have More Brains than Brawn

    • Across a Star-Swept Sea was one of my fave reads last year. There’s another book before it called For Darkness Shows the Stars, different characters but the same universe. I love them both, so I’d definitely recommend them!

  1. Lovely post. I loved all your picks for this! I don’t often keep score on who has brains vs brawn, but I definitely admire a character who knows how to use their brain.

  2. I love this topic idea! I would rather have brain over brawn any day! There are so many memorable characters that I just wish “Wow, why can’t I think like you?” Ender and Hermione are definitely at the top of that list, but Beetee is such a good one that I wouldn’t have remembered! Also I really love how you have Fitz and Simmons on here too. I love them!

  3. Cool list! I thought about doing something along these lines but couldn’t come up with enough characters to make a worthwhile post. Have you watched the BBC version of “Sherlock”? If not, you must!

  4. Haha, I’m dying over your cross out for Seraphina. Oh man. But yes, I agree there! And I loved how Kestrel uses her wits to kick butt. I just finished Winner’s Crime, and it is kind of turny twisty, but she’s still using her brain! Although, possibly to her detriment… I hope you can read it soon!

  5. Gah, I love this list so much that I don’t even have the time to comment on every character I like! S/O to Kestrel, she’s the bomb — and I love how she really manages to keep up with her father and his competitiveness, just in an entirely different way. I’m fairly certain Hermione is every bookish person’s hero, and you’re so right that Harry wouldn’t have survived without her. There’s actually a really funny buzz feed article about if the series had been with Hermione as the main character and it’s just awesome: http://www.buzzfeed.com/danieldalton/boss-witch#.mmmEL2Bkj
    And YES, Ender’s Game! I’d argue that even when Ender does use brawn, (Stilson, Bonzo) he’s really using brains, which just ups his awesomeness factor by a million or so.

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