I recently stopped reading two different books because the only goal of the protagonist was to gain more and more power.
The quest for power by itself has no interest for me. A character who wants people to hail them as a hero because their ego needs it? Nope. Not interested. Wanting power just so no one can tell you what to do and you are free to act without considering the consequences? Yeah, no.
The desire to have power in order to right a wrong or to make the world a safer place? That, I can get behind.
Now, if I’d been fascinated by these characters enough to root for their success, no matter the wrong turns they took along the way, I might have kept reading.
However, I didn't care enough about either character to follow them along their increasingly grim and destructive paths. Maybe the characters eventually learned a lesson about the dark side of power, but I couldn't stick with them long enough to find that out. All I saw ahead was pain and heartbreak, both for the protagonists and those around them.
No, thanks. The real world has enough of that.
How about you? How do you feel about protagonists who want power simply for the boost it gives their ego?