What is the Appeal of Ichabod Brooks?

Cover Art by Circecorp


This post might turn out to be more audience interaction since it obviously requires opinions to be shared.

Over the last two years, I’ve always gotten positive feedback and compliments in regards to Ichabod Brooks.  Not that you can tell by the original short story’s lack of sales, but he gets a good reception on the blog.  People like the excerpts and say that they connect with him better than my other characters.  First, that is a little bittersweet because I put a lot of effort into the champions, Cassidy, Lloyd, and . . . well, Dawn is always by the seat of my pants and is nuts.  Still, Ichabod would probably take one of the top 3 spots in a character popularity contest.

Now, I rarely get a reason as to why people like him over the others.  Some hint that he’s in a short story structure, so it’s easier to invest than a novel.  There also means it’s a simple tale with fewer twists and torments than the bigger stories.  Others like the humor in his stories, which stems from either his wit or his bad luck.  Yet, these are what people like about his adventures more than himself.  So, what draws people into him when he isn’t over-the-top and off to save the world?

Well, that’s probably exactly why people might like him.  You can connect to Luke and Nyx on an emotional level to some extent, but their quest is save the world.  That creates a barrier that readers can’t immediately get over.  It requires a lot more suspension of disbelief because we live in a world where people aren’t questing to save the world.  Heck, many of us might not even believe a single person or small group of people are capable of such a thing.  So, there will always be some distance that doesn’t come into play when you read about Ichabod.

Yes, he deals with monsters, magic, and gets into exciting fight scenes just like the champions.  The difference is that he is portrayed as an ‘every man’ who is out to provide for his family.  He talks about contracts, family, and life when on these adventures because he isn’t on a big quest.  Ichabod is having another day at the office and dreaming of retirement.  Him being middle-aged and having a reputation also means that he isn’t as reckless as younger heroes.  So, there’s a mellowness to his demeanor and a sense of experience that is lacking in someone like Luke Callindor.  You can relate to him even if your daily adventure is more about avoiding paper cuts than carpal tunnel.

I do get a few complaints about his wife and son not making appearances or getting much of a description.  That’s intentional.  Ichabod is trying to keep his work and family life as separate as possible.  Even dropping a name can be dangerous and he’s fairly protective of his loved ones.  I think this puts some mystery into him as well because hints pop up from time to time.  This can make him appealing as well, but I’m not sure how much this factors into his popularity on the blog.  Honestly, this is being brought up because I’ve gotten a few ‘I want a story with Ichabod at home on a day off’ requests.  I hope people realize that doing that means I can’t do a lot of the playful hints that fit into his humor and realistic conversations.  They would lose some impact.  So, maybe it’s best that Ichabod retain some level of mystery.

Anyway, for those who read Ichabod Brooks & the City of Beasts, beta read The Life & Times of Ichabod Brooks, or read the excerpts here: What do you like about him?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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26 Responses to What is the Appeal of Ichabod Brooks?

  1. I think it’s the fully formed character. He’s a family man. He bakes. He has a pet… thing. He has a history that sometimes influences his story. He know people. Most of us can relate that that, even if we aren’t world class archers.


  2. Wow, tough question. One thing I like about him is that his adventures are fun, unique and, yes, not about saving the world.
    I think his stories are more realistic than most fantasy stories, he doesn’t have a sword that everyone is trying to take from him, also he has a lot more humor in his stories.
    I’ve read a lot of fantasy stories over the years, I’ve enjoyed a lot of them, but lately I haven’t had the time to invest in a long story. Hopefully I’ll have enough time soon to get back into your main Windmere series.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve pondered giving him a ‘save the world’ adventure. Just doesn’t seem to fit though. At least not intentional or he would have to stumble into it. Those adventures tend to cut into family time too.

      I’m at the same point with reading in general. Feels like every time I try to get into a novel, I get pulled away for days or weeks. I’ve taken to reading manga more because they’re quicker and easier to get back into.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Ichabod seems more down to earth. Things are flying all around him, and he’s just, “sigh…”

    Liked by 1 person

    • That definitely makes him more relatable. Most people have moments where they’re just going about their business during chaos.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Possibly, also, Lloyd is straight-out described as a serial killer. That could put people off.


      • That one actually baffles me. Serial killers aren’t raving lunatics with no impulse control. They’re fairly smart and composed to avoid getting caught. People seem to think they’re the same as berserker psychopaths, but this isn’t always the case. Lloyd puts a lot of thought and effort into his big kills.


      • For whatever reason, a hard working adventurer like Ichabod, who kills when he must (but actually spends effort yo avoid killing) reads differently than someone labeled as a serial killer.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Because he’s a more understandable hero. Anti-heroes are seen more as cool and edgy, so they don’t get the same level of respect until they settle down. Wolverine is a good example since he went from berserker to a calmer character with occasional rage issues. One thing is that Ichabod and Lloyd wouldn’t be able to succeed in the same fashion if they switched worlds. Lloyd would be a villain because there are still laws in Windemere. Ichabod would inevitably be killed because it’s more likely that someone in the Shattered States would go after his family. Another odd thing is that many heroes could be considered serial killers, but they can claim self-defense or a moral high ground. Ichabod and Lloyd have similar kill counts, but the differences are the world and how well they justify things.

        One issue is that Lloyd can’t take the mercenary secondary descriptor because Cassidy has that. Things get dull if he’s always Lloyd or man, especially when there are multiple males in a scene. This is why I have more than one label for the characters. Madman and psychopath don’t help him any, so serial killer is actually the best term to use for him.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve always been a fan of short stories, but even more so lately. I often get overwhelmed at work, and can’t do any reading for a couple of weeks. If a book is a short story collection, It’s no big deal, but if I put aside a novel, something in the back of my mind keeps telling me I have yet another unfinished task. I consume most of my novels in audiobook form now, because I have to commute every day, even when I’m busy.

    I enjoyed the first Ichabod story, but as you brought up, I’m in his age group. I think I would have found the character type interesting even when I was young, though.

    I’ve had too much personal experience with real-life sociopaths, so I’m averse to following them as main characters in novels.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I work from home and I still feel you on the overwhelmed. Took me a year to finish one novel once because I kept having things come up to pull me away. After a while, you feel like you either have to start over or give up. I’ve heard a lot of people mention the audiobook route.

      Wonder if that issue with sociopaths is a common one. Yet, I see so many TV and movie characters who are praised regardless of their horrible personalities. Game of Thrones has a lot of despicable characters that get fans.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yeah, I don’t know if that’s just me, or there’s a segment of the population that feels the same way.

        I haven’t watched Game of Thrones (maybe I’ll try it someday), so I don’t know how I’d feel about its characters. I’ve cut back my TV and movie viewing to almost nothing over the last few years, as I was disappointed with poor quality and/or heavy-handed attempts to hammer in social messages.


      • Considering there are always those who hurt and manipulate, I’m guessing it’s fairly common. We all react to characters who remind us of real people. Some are good and some are bad.

        I tried watching the show, but couldn’t get into it. Felt like more spectacle over story to me. That and I found the political sparring unappealing. Ice zombies are coming and people keep fighting over the Throne of Tetanus? Although I guess it could be an analogy for the climate change debate. Shows do love putting social messages in these days.


  5. “Ichabod is having another day at the office and dreaming of retirement.” Nuff said.


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