Hello there, traveler!
A while back, I asked you on Twitter which post I should write next, and apparently, you all chose to see my salty self by voting for the tropes* I really, really, dislike. I’m talking about those themes that I detect in a synopsis and that make me putting down that book, or closing its Goodreads’ page.
I’m not usually picky, I like to discover new things, but those tropes? I usually don’t have the strength. Either it is that they bore me, or that I don’t think they’re very appealing, or simply that I’ve done an overdose…
Full disclosure, these opinions are mine only, and it is not because I don’t like something that I mean it sucks. Everyone has the right to like and dislike what they want!
I had some troubles writing only negative things, so for each trope I dislike, I decided to recommend 3 books that are the complete opposite.
*A trope is a recurring theme or motif, as in literature or art.
The Royal is a Teen
I’m talking about those fantasy realms, where a Great Evil is threatening the well being of a nation, as the King/Queen/Royal just died… and the crown goes to their child, a teen.
I get it, in History, most royals were crowned as teens, but I’m not here to read history books, I just want to read a fantasy novel. Let teens be teens. Let them be princes, and princesses, and heirs and heiresses, with a parent as the actual crown figure. Or let them just be a soldier, a maid, a simple civilian. Why the main character in a YA fantasy novel has to be a royal? They’re much more interesting archetypes to explore! I know politics and diplomacy are really cool topics, but the royals are not the only ones impacted by this, there are civilians, and diplomats, and prisoners, and the list goes on…
- 3 YA fantasy novels where the teen is not a royal:
- The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
- The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune
- The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis
The Chosen One
It’s kind of similar to the previous trope, as the Chosen One has been chosen by some force and they are now the only one capable of resolving the plot. They’re super strong, super powerful, and nothing can defeat them… Well, I say the world has evolved past the need for Chosen One. No more Chosen One. We want vulnerable, weak characters, characters who do mistakes, and learn from them (or not), characters who have been defeated and lose all hope, characters who need someone else’s help to resolve the plot.
- 3 novels where the main character is not the chosen one:
- The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
- Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
- Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey
The Shy Girl and the Bad Boy
Uuuuuuuurgh, I really hate this one. That used to be a typical trope and I just– I can’t do it anymore. This was mostly because of that trope that I stopped reading YA for a while. I can’t bare another romance where the protagonist is a shy, naive girl who falls in love with the new bad boy in town — but he’s not that bad! he’s mysterious! and misunderstood! the poor guy… All he needs is a bit of love, and thanks to the shy and naive girl, his attitude is fixed! I love mysterious characters, don’t get me wrong, and I love the grumpy-sunshine pairing. But this one? No. No, no, no. That guy is an as*hole, and the girl should focus more on herself. Get confident, girl! You don’t need a man, and you certainly don’t need that one.
- 3 novels where the romance isn’t about this kind of pairing:
- The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
- The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
- I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver
The Absent Parent
The Absent Parent trope is… manageable. It’s more like « there are too many books with this trope, and I want to read about parents/children relationships« , instead of « uRGH NO I’M NOT GOING TO READ THAT« . You know? Family relationships, and especially between parents and children, are really interesting in my opinion. And what better than loving, supporting parents? Don’t get me wrong, I also love more complicated relationships, with immense parental love for the kids, but different opinions and/or dreams, without those being toxic of course. Loving relationships, aching relationships… just give me parents/kids relationships!
- 3 novels where the parents are presents and share great relationships with their kids:
- Running With Lions by Julian Winters
- Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger
- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
This is a non-exhaustive list based on my opinions only. I’m not saying I won’t like books with those tropes, as some might handle them well, or twist them in a more modern, interesting way. But when reading a blurb, and detecting those schemes, it sure doesn’t make me want to pick that book up…
What about you? Do you like some of these tropes?
What are the tropes you dislike the most?