I’ve always personally detested the criticism, “I didn’t find this character likeable,” because it tells me more about the critic than the story. It’s a statement not about the book, but about you, and it doesn’t speak to whether or not the character or the story actually works. And some of the most popular characters in existence are wildly unlikeable.
So over at the Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf, I’ve laid out my feelings on three ways characters can work. This is a bit like trying to take a river and assign one overall color to its waters, and stubbornly refusing to admit that it ever rains or people throw things in the river or a clay shelf might dissolve upstream. But if it makes you think about ways characters work in stories, and if it makes you consider that it might be perfectly fine, if not the point, to disagree with characters, and that this does not affect the success of those characters, then I’m fine saying this fucking river is brown.