In amongst the good reviews my latest book is getting, there's one that is decidedly not. The reviewer loathed my heroine. Really loathed her.
I've had this happen before. A reviewer likes one of the main characters and thinks the other is totally unworthy of him or her. Usually there's a trust issue in these books, and the reviewer doesn't understand why the non-favored character is so mistrustful of the favored one, regardless of whatever motives and backstory I've given The Unworthy One. However, there are plenty of other reviewers who absolutely understand where The Unworthy One is coming from and have no problem with him or her. Instead, they describe The Unworthy One as a "perfect match" for the Favored One (which is, of course, what I intended).
Obviously, to some readers, I've blown it. Big time. Others see the story and characters the way I do. So what's a writer to do?
I look at it this way: whatever the reasons for these differences of opinion, and however disturbing it is as an author to see a character misunderstood and despised, it's really kind of kick to have people talking about my characters as if they're real people. That tells me that no matter how someone feels about my work, I've done something right.