Top Ten Tuesday – Ten Tropes I’d Like to Stop Reading

It’s Tuesday again, and though it’s late in the day, I’ve got another Top Ten Tuesday post.  TTT is hosted by the broke and the bookish.  To join in, simply go to their post for the day and add your post to the linky.  They post upcoming topics under the Top Ten Tuesday tab at the top of the homepage.

Today’s topic was Top Ten Bookish Things I Want To/Have Quit.  I chose to do the Top Ten Tropes I’d like to stop reading.

1. Love Triangles, especially in YA books.  They often seem contrived, half the time the ‘losing’ member gets their personality distorted so it’s clear why they can’t ‘win’, and it’s almost always two boys fighting over a girl.  Further, the love triangle eats up space that really could have been used to better develop characters, plot, or setting, or space that really didn’t even need to be present in the book.

2. Stalking = Romance, because it doesn’t.  Stalking is a scary thing that happens in real life far too often, and books that romanticize it are creating future victims and future tragedies.

3. Defrosting Ice Queen. If you don’t know what this is, it’s when a ‘cold’ or ‘prudish’ girl ‘warms up’ thanks to the love of the right guy.  Used sparingly, I have no problem with it, but not every ‘Ice Queen’ needs defrosting.

4. The Lost Golden Age.  I’d love to read something where there never was a golden age, or where the golden age isn’t pastoral or intelligence driven.  I mean, what about a time of conquering?  Yes, that’s not very much ‘in’ with modern sensibilities, but in Speculative Fiction, why isn’t there more of this?  Or if there is, someone point me at it, please!

5. Character Derailment.  This ties in with number one a little, but I’m tired of authors (mostly in series) having characters do something for no good/explainable reason.  Something inconsistent with their characterization and with no explanation as to the sudden change.

6. Darker and Edgier. Okay, I get it, you want to be cutting edge on a genre that often gets saturated with new trends (YA and Adult Spec Fic novels are both guilty of this).  But that doesn’t mean you need to constantly push the envelope until you’re jumping off the slippery slope of suspension of disbelief.  Also, you don’t need your main female character raped to make her sympathetic, relatable, worthy of something, etc.

7. Elemental Personalities. So your character uses fire.  Make them something other than a hothead, please!  Or a stoic ice-wielder.  And why are they always rivals?  Comic books and graphic novels are guiltier of this than other books, but I’ve read it across the board and it’s getting to be old hat.

8. Straw Politician/Activist/etc. I’m just going to leave that there and say enough said.

9. Dystopia/Cr*psack Future World. I’d like to see some more future-worlds that aren’t all corruption and destruction and so on.  Mix it up a little, please.

And, since I couldn’t think of any other tropes, a special:

10. First Person.  I’ve finally found some that don’t bother me, but I’d still like to read less first person, especially with the YA books I’ve been reading recently.  I know second’s hard to do, but I wouldn’t mind more of that.  And, of course, third limited is always my favorite.  But this one’s less of a complaint than the tropes and more of a ‘I should probably do some more research before starting books’ thing.

Happy Tuesday.  What did you post about today?

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13 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday – Ten Tropes I’d Like to Stop Reading

  1. Kelsey Bogan says:

    I agree, first person is tiring and I think it really limits the world-building which is no good! Ugh love triangles, hate them!

    • siderealday says:

      Especially if you only get the one person’s perspective. If it’s multiple first persons or a mix of first person and something else, it bothers me less.

      • Kelsey Bogan says:

        I agree, I actually prefer multiple perspectives in general. I think single, 1st person perspective is my least favorite

        • siderealday says:

          Definitely! The problem is that you’re stuck in one person’s head so completely, and if you don’t like that person or aren’t sympathetic, then it’s really hard to get into their story, much more so than if it’s third person limited focused on a character I don’t like.

  2. I agree with your romance related tropes! A romance sub-plot can work, but if a non-romance book won’t work without the sub-plot, something is very wrong with it.

    • siderealday says:

      Yes! Even if it’s meant to be cross genre, I personally don’t like it when the romance becomes a plot cancer. On the other hand, of course if I’m reading a romance novel I get upset if the not-romance plot takes over the romance plot.

  3. Greg says:

    #s 1 and 2- so much. I’m always surprised that so many authors do the stalking= romance thing. Are they really trying to send that message? Don’t get it…

    • siderealday says:

      Unfortunately, certain books have proven that it sells, so it’s not a trend I foresee stopping any time soon. But I can and will DNF a book that does it.

  4. Whenever I come across stalking tendencies in novels, I check reviews to see if others read into it the same as I did and it’s often rarely mentioned in the bulk of reviews. It’s like…have we accepted the trope without question?

    Cheers,
    Joey via. thoughts and afterthoughts.

    • siderealday says:

      I think it depends on who you mean by ‘we’. I don’t want to typecast, but a lot of the time it’s women, especially young women (teen to 30), who read and like that kind of book. I’m not sure if they accept the trope or not, or if they simply overlook it because they’ve never been stalked or don’t know anyone who’s been stalked, or if it’s just become so pervasive in the books they read. I wish I knew, because I think this particular trope is more than just annoying, it’s harmful.

  5. I didn’t realize how much I disliked love triangles until a book I read recently where the best choice and deepest connection was the character who didn’t get picked, and instead the vapid, emotional/manipulative character was the “winner.” Oh, I seethed for days. #3 and #9 are also getting old fast.

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