Aug 21 2011 11:00am

Top 5 YA Alpha Heroes: Dimitri Belikov, Prince Ash, Jace Wayland, Will Rutledge, Sam Roth

The Vampire Academy: Frostbite by Richelle MeadYoung adult paranormal romances line the shelves these days, and while the protagonists may be in their late teens, don’t think you can’t relate. Better yet, add a powerful, protective alpha hero into life-or-death drama and make that person a first love? The emotions spike and those steamy interactions, while less graphic, will have you biting your lip.

Here are five YA heroes who stand out as having all the alpha hero qualities sure to have adult paranormal romance readers swooning:

1. Dimitri Belikov

From Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy Series comes this Russian “god.” Dimitri is dedicated, loyal and a fierce warrior. Plus, at 6’7” he meets the hero height requirement.

As one of the leading Guardians for the “good” vampire Moroi, he comes to St. Vladimir’s Academy and helps train Rose to fight and defend her people.

She’s 17. He’s 24.

They’re working closely together, and the chemistry is palpable. Their relationship ramps up over the course of the series, but even in the first book the element of forbidden love is hot and heavy. In Dimitri’s own words:

“… you and I will both be Lissa’s guardians someday. I need to protect her at all costs. If a pack of Strigoi comes, I need to throw my body between them and her.” [...] “No. If I let myself love you, I won’t throw myself in front of her. I’ll throw myself in front of you.”

The Iron Fey: The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa2. Prince Ash

Julie Kagawa gives us the quintessential ’Hot Boy with Sword’ in the Iron Fey series with her Winter Prince. He’s the bad boy. He’s got an attitude. Plus, he has that whole tall, dark and handsome thing going on.

The youngest of the Unseelie Court princes, Ash still has centuries under his belt. All those years in the Winter faerie court have forced him to fight his emotions, to be cold and calculating.

And one girl can change all that. He makes it difficult, but when Meghan connects with him, it’s enough for him to ditch his crown, his family and his world if it keeps her safe. A warrior through and through, he’ll fight to the very ends of the world for a half-faerie girl. When he realizes it, his exact words are: “You made me feel alive again.” (Makes me think of Bella saving Zsadist in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.)

Also, there’s a common agreement that he looks like Ben Barnes. How can that be bad?

(Read more about Prince Ash in Chelsea Mueller’s Fresh Meat piece on The Iron Knight!)

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare3. Jace Wayland

The Shadowhunter from Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series is snarky, hot-tempered and seriously conflicted. Kind of a hot hero trifecta. He’s the type of hero you’d picture spending time with Acheron, Bones, et. al. (If he weren’t sworn to kill their kind, of course.)

He’s the troublesome golden-haired guy with tattoos – sure they’re functional marks, but I have a thing for tattooed hotties – and he definitely has the moves when it comes to time alone with Clary.

It may be YA, but Clare brings the heat. You can read this hot Jace point-of-view deleted scene from City of Glass to understand this boy’s sexual prowess. You want to make-out with him. There’s no shame in that. Really. (OK, another excerpt for a little more Jace convincing.)

Firelight by Sophie Jordan4. Will Rutledge

Sophie Jordan gives us star-crossed lovers in Firelight, the first in her Draki series. Will hunts dragons. (Yep, dragons.) His whole family will head out to try and take down the elusive creatures. On the last round they were sure they’d cornered one. Will went into the cave and saw her. Beautiful. And he pretended not to have found her. That dragon was Jacinda.

Cue Jacinda and her family moving to the same desert city where Will and his family live. He doesn’t recognize her in human form at first, but she sure remembers him. And sparks fly. Will is up for doing what’s necessary for Jacinda. He’ll protect her from his family and he’ll fight the other dragon she’s promised to. Plus, his kisses ignite a literal fire in Jacinda.

Plus, Will’s a determined sort. And there’s something to be said for a guy who isn’t willing to give up.

“Why do you care? I’ve ignored you for days.”
His smile fades. He looks serious, mockingly so. “Yeah. You got to stop that.”

Wolves of Mercy Falls: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater5. Sam Roth

There’s something appealing about a hero willing to fight his nature—need for blood, to fight, etc.—that’s always appealing. That’s the case with Sam from Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series. In the first book, Shiver, Sam meets Grace. Things get hot with one of the better YA sex scenes. These two are connected. The hitch here is Sam is a werewolf and he shifts to wolf in the cold weather. That means he’s only human in the summer. As fall sets in, he does whatever he can to avoid being in the cold to extend his time with Grace.

“I’d found heaven and grabbed it as tightly as I could, but it was unraveling, an insubstantial thread sliding between my fingers, too fine to hold.”

He finally has happiness and isn’t willing to let his nature stop him from maintaining it. Sam gives us both the strength we want and the emotional depth we need.

Have you read any YA romances? Are there any heroes who would top your book boyfriend lists? Prince Ash and Dimitri are right alongside Zsadist, Bones and Terrible for me.


While Chelsea Mueller runs Vampire Book Club, she won’t turn down a sexy werewolf, demon or faerie. (Her husband often reminds her that she’s taken.)

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
I started The Iron King yesterday. Really looking forward to meeting the mysterious Ash now!
2. Noelle
Dimitri is 24!!!!!
I love Dimitri I love Jace!!!
3. Miranda Cunfer
Sad thing is, I've read 4 out of 5 of these books. xD
4. Tinalina
Definitely Will Herondale from "Clockwork Angel". Definitely.

Christina @
Heather Waters
5. HeatherWaters
@Noelle @Tinalina -- Looks like I really need to catch up on Cassandra Clare's books!

@Miranda Cunfer -- Sad? No way! We're all about the YA at H&H, so you're among friends. :)
6. ChelseaMueller
@redline - You'll love Ash, especially as you hit the second book.

@Noelle - You're right. Typo in my part!

@Miranda - It isn't sad at all. the real question is which one haven't you read?

@Tinalina - Will is sexy, but I am not giving up on Jem either.
Keira Gillett
7. Keira
I'm Team Adrian not Dimitri. I couldn't get pass the fact that he was supposed to be her teacher. Will have to check out City of Bones and the
Draki series
8. Maddy
@Keira: Me, too! Dimitri was okay, but I was always Team Adrian. And yes, you should definitely check out those books.
9. ChelseaMueller
@Keira - Adrian certainly endears himself. You'll want to check out Bloodlines (releases Aug. 23), because it promises more Adrian.
10. azra
oh god
sam roth
always loving sam roth.
jace is too dramatic but still like him a lot...dimitri is too hot to handle :), need to catch up with the Prince, and who is will rotledge? me no like that book!!!!!!!!!!!!!
oh and why isn't will herondale up there eh eh?
12. AutumnMoon
I've read all of them! My top three are Dimitri, Jace and Ash. I cant wait for the next books in TMI and Iron Fey.
Megan Frampton
13. MFrampton
I have the Iron King somewhere---just got the second Clare City book. I like how angsty and pained this YA is getting--just like my grownup books! Yay!
14. vane
my top 3 : Sam firt place, Jace in the firt place too and Dimitry. Now I am curious about Ash
16. princess
gotta love the sizzling hot awesomeness that is Jace Wayland.

And why the hell is Will Herondale not on this list?! (peace!)

Btw, you guys might want to check out Xander from Ally Condie's Matched. For some reason, the bestfriend/childhood friend side of the triangle appeals to me more.
Heather Waters
17. HeatherWaters
@princess -- I was totally Team Xander in Matched! (I'm SUCH a sucker for best friends in triangles.) I didn't get the sense that Cassia felt much for him romantically, though; seemed like Ky was going to be the victor of that love triangle. But Matched is only Book 1 in a trilogy, so maybe that'll change?
18. paula andrea
Totally love Dmitri, Jace, & Ash.
I've read the series of the top three, just wondering who to meet first; Will or Sam? ;D
19. Che
Dimitri and Jace. Always. :)
20. Che
Dimitri and Jace. Always. :)
21. Marina
I really love the hot Russian guy with the sexy accent but I liked very much Fade from Enclave.
I liked him because he remembered how it is to live a normal life so living in the enclave must have been hell for him but he endured it!
I'm looking forward to his story
22. ChelseaMueller
@Marina - Loved Fade, too. Something about him introducing Deuce to the sun, to life topside...

I also really liked Four from Veronica Roth's Divergent.
TJ Erquhart
24. SoxChic
I heart Dimitri Belikov. Love Love Love the VA series! Looking forward to where Bloodlines will take us! Also just finished the Iron Fey series & can't wait to see where Ash's journey takes him & if it brings him back to his Iron Queen. Getting ready to start the Wolves of Mercy Falls series... Now trully looking forward to it.
Tara B
25. box5angel
I've had Maggie S. books on my wishlist but not the others. I might have to check some of these out. :)
26. laurafergs
Loving all your choices! I'd add Shane from the Morganville Vampires, Four from Divergent and Peeta from The Hunger Games =) x
Sara Ledford
27. sleddy24
Four from Divergent is definitely one of my favorites, as is Peeta from the Hunger Games. I recently read Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep and I think Logan Quinn has tons of lovable bad boy potential. I'm anxious to see where book 2 goes!
TJ Erquhart
28. SoxChic
Laurafergs I'd have to say I agree w/ your choice for Shane too!
Heather Waters
29. HeatherWaters
Oooh, Four. So glad he was brought up, as I loved him too. Can't wait to see where Veronica Roth goes in the sequel with his character.

And I'm not sure I'd say he's an Alpha, but in the wake of these Team Peeta comments, I just have to say: Team Gale all the way!
30. vampire queen
I love these books. My newest favorite vampire book is "Mississippi Vampires" By Vicky Renee Johnson
31. ChelseaMueller
@redline_ = Team Gale... until the last book when things got all weird.
32. melannie
I've read the all, and have to say I'm not really a fan of the guys OR the books... any of them.

But I see why they appeal to most girls, I guess.
33. Rywn
Mmm... Ash. I don't think I need to say anything more.
Heather Waters
34. HeatherWaters
@ ChelseaMueller -- See, Mockingjay (which I hated) just made me love Gale more. But not with Katniss. I'm hoping for some Gale/Johanna subtext in the movies, actually.
Nicole Gosling
35. nicoleg75
Ash is my new fictional boyfriend. My heart broke at the end of Iron Queen.

Love Cassie Clare's Jace and Will.

I'm quite partial to Stark from the House of Night series as well.
36. ChelseaMueller
@nicoleg75 - I love Stark, too. He would have made the list of the House of Night series played better with adult readers. I like the plot and the characters, but have always found the HoN writing more juvenile.
37. Kirstie Keith
Love Dimitri, Jace and Will, sorry to say that I haven't read any of the other books yet :(
38. ChelseaMueller
@Kirstie - Start with Prince Ash. If you love those three, you'll love him, too.
39. Alex/AnimeGirl
A list without Jonah Griggs?
Someone needs to go read Jellicoe Road right about now!!!!
40. Alex/AnimeGirl
Oh, wait you were talking about Paranormals.
The only para guy I presently like is Derek from The Darkest Powers books by Kelley Armstrong :P

Sorry, my bad
Heather Waters
41. HeatherWaters
@Alex/AnimeGirl -- I *adore* Jellicoe Road and Jonah. Yum. We definitely need a list of contemporary YA heroes too...

I've only read the first book in The Darkest Powers series (and just got my roommate hooked on it!), but Derek was *easily* my favorite. Does he get better in future books? I bet he does... May have to go order them!
42. Craftywitch
Dimitri for me and Shane from morganville but I truly love myrnin he's mine x
43. AlohaKirra
My ultimate book boyfriend is Reed Wellington from the Premonition series by Amy Bartol. Good God, that guy is yummy!! :D
Becky Herrera
44. BECKY047
I would take Will Herondale over Jace any day! And how is Daemon Black not on this list!
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