Tori and I love, love, love The Sins & Needles series by Karina Halle. We have reviewed Sins & Needles and Shooting Scars and now we are about to start the final book in the trilogy, Bold Tricks. We have such a love/hate relationship with the villain-ish and complex and frustrating character of Javier Bernal, we asked Karina if she would write about him.
The Redemption of Javier Bernal
When I first planned out the entire Artists Trilogy (before I even wrote Sins & Needles – I plot way ahead of time), I had no idea that Javier was going to invoke the reactions he has in people. No idea. I never intended him to be a second chance romance angle. I never thought people would latch onto him the way they have. Frankly, I wrote On Every Street to show people how he damaged her, how he was no good for her, and why her being duped by him in Shooting Scars would come so easy. I expected people to be even more against him but instead people loved his cheating ass. They hung onto those tiny threads of humanity that came through in the story.
But you know, I get it. I do. Every woman wants to change that “bad boy”. I know I was like that in high school. I dated a total cheating asshole thinking he’d change for me. Boy, I was wrong. And I clung onto that because it was my first love. Well, first love don’t meant sh*t, to be honest. But that doesn’t stop us from believing we are “special” enough to change someone.
Because Javier isn’t pure evil, because he does have good qualities that could be exploited, people root for him. They think that Ellie can change him into something “good”, that he can stop being the villain, and therefore they think they can change him too, because as we read, are we not the main character? But this isn’t Javier’s story. It’s not about his redemption.
And frankly, I think that’s a great thing. Javier is the villain through and through and that’s why I love him. He doesn’t even need redemption, in my opinion. He can just go on being his psychopathic badass self, no apologies needed. He owns the fact that he’s ruthless and heartless and will do anything and everything to get to the top. It makes him fascinating. I love writing him and I love him as the villain, as this very complex individual, just as Darth Vader or Hannibal Lector are. I don’t want them romanticized or redeemed ever.
Javier Bernal – at this point in his life – doesn’t need love. He doesn’t need redemption. He just needs acceptance in that he is one bad mother*cker. And that’s why we love him anyway.
Thanks Karina. We do love him *wink*