Lets face it, while we may all like our heroes something about villains just makes them have their own dark charisma that draws people to them. While most people root for the heroes, I often find that when I write I enjoy writing my antagonist characters more then any others and as a result I have been toying with villain protagonists for a while. Thankfully, I am not alone in this. While they are quite rare, stories about villain protagonists actually exist. Books like "A Clockwork Orange," anime/mangas/comics like deathnote and even videogames such as Fable all feature or can feature protagonists you would be hard pressed to call anything less then a villain. So it seems that there are people other then me who enjoy writing protagonists on the darker end of the morality spectrum. However, the question becomes not if such a thing can be done, but rather what level of evil is acceptable for the target audience. I am mainly interested in writing YA works, and sometimes younger, but one of my more recent projects features some rather controversial themes and happenings, one of which is the fact the protagonist happens to be an ambitions, manipulative ******* that ends up leading a bunch of his friends on a campaign of mayhem that grows from a rather violent crime spree to a total attempt to overthrow the government and replace it with a "dog eat dog" kind of anarchist society. The story has a lot of nuances, however, and while the protagonist and his friends are clearly a nasty bunch, much of the story focuses on how a failed state, failed school system and failed, degenerate society in which they have no future pushed the lot of them into this violent turn of events. They are made out to be sympathetic despite the wicked acts, yet at the same time the story doesn't condone or show their actions as just. They are portrayed as clearly being in the wrong, and despite being the protagonists their actions are shown to be clearly evil. They are NOT made out to be heroes in any way and much of the story is a tragedy about how society has made these kids into monsters. Despite this, however, I am worried that that many of the things that happen, mainly teens using superpowers to murder "upstanding"(who are not so upstanding in this story's setting) members of society such as politicians, policemen, teachers ect...may be too controversial for my target audience despite the fact that the story doesn't condone them and describes them in a way that is not overly graphic. My question is should the protagonists' evilness be toned down or is it ok to have a story that features main characters who act in controversial ways?