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Books I Liked with Tropes I Usually Hate
Ah, tropes – love ’em or hate ’em it’s impossible to deny that the vast majority of literature (adult and young adult alike) are often chock-full of tropes. It’s impossible to find a story that doesn’t at the very least have a trope or two.
According to TV Tropes: a site that I enjoy to peruse, in my (relative) spare time:
“A trope is a storytelling device or convention, a shortcut for describing situations the storyteller can reasonably assume the audience will recognize. Tropes are the means by which a story is told by anyone who has a story to tell…They are not bad, they are not good; tropes are tools that the creator of a work of art uses to express their ideas to the audience. It’s pretty much impossible to create a story without tropes.” | Source
So there you have it! Tropes are unavoidable. Whether or not they can actually be done well is really a testament to the skill of the author. They are not inherently a good or bad thing; it depends on how well they are used in any given piece of literature.
This week’s topic is about tropes you normally hate in books you like (either in spite of or maybe even because of their presence). It’s a day late (as usual) but I didn’t want to miss this one!
1. Love Hate Relationship: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Alright, Jude and Cardan may not officially be at the love stage yet, but c’mon, we all know where this is going! It was clearly telegraphed throughout the entirety of ‘The Cruel Prince’. Now, I normally don’t like this particular trope because it can very often just be a thinly veiled cover for abuse and bullying. And yes, Cardan is a bully to Jude and is certainly abusive at various points throughout the novel.
However, I don’t hate their antagonistic relationship? I think Jude gives and good as she gets and although there is definitely a power imbalance; I actually feel Jude will always have the upper-hand in spite of this? Whatever it is, their interplay is fascinating and I’m totally rooting for them even against my better judgement! Their Belligerent Sexual Tension is off the charts!!
2. Love Triangle – Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
This is a love triangle where, despite me preferring the other guy in the triangle, I was actually happy that the protagonist Rose ended up with the guy she did (is it still spoilers if the books and subsequent follow-up series were out ages ago?) I just always felt that the pairing had more chemistry and felt more earned. However, I was happy that my favourite guy had a spin-off series where he got the girl of his dreams!
‘Vampire Academy’ is probably one of the very few series where a love triangle didn’t detract from the plot. Was it completely necessary? Perhaps not. Still, it was probably the least offensive love triangle I have come across (and I really, really hate love triangles!)
3. Lost Orphaned Royalty – Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Lost and/or orphaned royalty normally brings an eyeroll from me (except for the cartoon Anastasia, which despite being wholly historically inaccurate, I love all the same!) Cinder is one of the very few books that gets this right. It’s incredibly important to the plot and makes total sense in hindsight.
As a fairy tale retelling, ‘The Lunar Chronicles’ series has room to play fast and loose with whichever bits of the tales it wants to include or discard. I honestly thought the lost royalty bit was one of the more interesting elements added to this story and it definitely worked for me. I loved all the different parts of fairy tales included in the series but the one that had the biggest payoff was definitely Cinder’s story (although Cress and Thorne are my OTP!)
4. Loving Bully – Bully by Penelope Douglas
Sigh, look all of us girls have heard the fallacy that boys pick on you, pull your pigtails, etc. because they actually really like you. Bull. I don’t ascribe to this theory at all, whatsoever. So, as you can imagine, I really hate this trope making its way into literature. However, for some unknown reason, ‘Bully’ by Penelope Douglas doesn’t want to make me tear my hair out despite this being a major theme of the book.
I know, I know – this totally makes me scratch my head in puzzlement too. I should be offended by this book. The love interest bullies the main character despite the fact that they were once really close friends. Yet, when you find out more about his past, you kinda see how he got to be this way. I don’t like it, but I can sort-of understand it. I still think the heroine is way too forgiving, mind you.
5. Manic Pixie Dream Girl – The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
John Green is the king of this trope – all his female characters seem to embody this particular trait. However, I haven’t actually read any of his books! This is a bit of a cheat since I haven’t actually finished reading ‘The Hating Game’ yet, but Lucy (the main character) completely epitomizes the Manic Pixie Dream Girl – but I still love her!
I normally hate this in fiction. The quirky, oddball who brightens up a more sedate and/or boring character’s life (think Jess from New Girl and you’ve hit the nail on the head). However, I love Lucy (hehe!) and Joshua isn’t quite the stuffed shirt he appears to be either. Definitely a book that managed to make me like and root for a pairing that would normally drive to distraction!