Books are essentially made up of tropes, so it goes without saying that there are a whole multitude present in much of modern literature! While some tropes are far from enjoyable and serve to turn into overused cliches, there are also a fair share of tropes that work brilliantly and can truly make a novel great provided that they are executed well. I therefore thought it fun to cultivate a list of both my favorite tropes and tropes that, in quite the contrast, completely put me off even finishing a book.
So, without further ado, lets get started…
Top- Notch Tropes
This is the section where I’ll be writing about the tropes that are so incredibly good they’ll make me fall in love with a book instantly. The creme de la creme of tropes if you will. The pinnacle of writing. Absolute art. Tropes that can turn any book into a masterpiece.
Now, lets begin!
Heroes and Villains Are Not Black and White (AKA the very existence of morally grey characters)
This is my absolute favorite thing to read about in a novel, and just one look at my favorites shelf will afford you an insight into my deep love for novels that deal with morally grey characters! The inclusion of any moral ambiguity regarding the actions of a hero/ villain make a novel infinitely more interesting, and it remains such an effective way of giving characters the complexity I crave! Books that I feel do this really well include Vicious and Vengeful by V.E. Schwab, and Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo!!
This is a trope that is so important, and when done well serves to create a book that will no doubt become a firm favorite of mine! Explorations of the value placed upon a family of your choosing as opposed to blood family is so interesting to me, and will always have a special place in my heart! You can literally pry this trope from my cold dead hands for I will never give up my love for it! Books that somewhat famously feature this trope include those in The Six of Crows Duology!
Friends- To- Lovers
This is the romance trope to end all romance tropes, and this is something I will forever stand by! The characters having been friends first allows for so much complexity to be built into their dynamic prior to the romance, therefore heightening this eventual romance and making for a narrative I become so invested in! The best example of a book that puts this trope to good use is probably Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, which I would highly recommend you read if you haven’t already!
Enemies/ Rivals- To- Lovers
This is another brilliant romantic trope, but a lot rests on whether this one is written correctly. This has the potential to be brilliant provided that the two were not originally enemies for rather extreme reasons that are likely to make for a toxic relationship! When written well this makes for such an interesting dynamic that can result in me getting incredibly invested, with particularly prominent examples including Pride and Prejudice and Red, White and Royal Blue!!
Mutual Pining That Both Parties Wrongly Feel Is Unrequited
This one really makes me go crazy, especially if it’s combined with the Friends- To- Lovers trope! The execution of this really makes or breaks the book though; when done well it has me so incredibly invested I cannot stop thinking about it! However, when done wrong, it can sometimes become slightly tiresome and can feel frustratingly long- winded. This is an annoyance that prevails much more when a character is hopelessly pining after somebody that is truly uninterested though, so the original trope mentioned remains within the elite.
Gruff, Tough or Somewhat Morally Grey Character Has Particular Soft Spot For Precious Child
Need I say any more? This is an absolute classic and is something I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of reading! (Bonus Points for when this is combined with the Found Family trope— Vicious and Vengeful I am once again looking at you!)
Not- So- Top- Notch Tropes
Contrary to the tropes mentioned above, there are a whole multitude of tropes that are so overdone and so tiresome they can ruin a book for me incredibly quickly! Unfortunately for me, these tropes are still prevalent in A LOT of books, and their mere presence often results in quite the rant review! Though this is not to say that these tropes are objectively bad; I appreciate that many clearly enjoy the inclusion of these tropes, and I am merely saying here that they are just not for me!
The Dreaded Love Triangle
Though I understand many still love this trope, I absolutely cannot stand it. Perhaps my hatred for this trope is quite unfair and unwarranted as it does not matter how well it is written, I will still hate it out of principle! I think my hatred stems from how unrealistic the triangle often renders the relationships, alongside the definite overuse of it in literature I read in my early teens. Unfortunately the presence of something too similar to a love triangle for my tastes has tainted many books I’ve read such as And I Darken (though I did relatively enjoy this novel despite it!)
This is it folks, the worst romantic trope I can personally think of. Complex characters, dynamics and relationships are an absolute necessity for my enjoyment of a book, and Insta- Love is a trope that is so incredibly far from this that its presence will genuinely make it hard for me to finish a book! This trope makes it near impossible for me to connect to the characters and their relationship due to a failure to completely understand it, so unfortunately it’s a no- go for me!
Miscommunication As a Plot Device
I cannot stress how much this one infuriates me. Though it can occasionally work, for the most part it leaves me frustrated over how many issues and how much conflict needn’t have happened provided the characters had just had a conversation! This is a trope that frustrates me in every single type of media, and is one of my biggest pet hates!
‘I’m Not Like Other Girls’ and The Chosen One
These are tropes seen so much in novels that I read in my early teens, and are ones I have therefore grown weary of. Though the The Chosen One trope is redeemable provided it is written well (which it can be!), the I’m Not Like Other Girls trope is really something that I cannot stand! The attempt to create a Strong Female Character by making her wish to shed her femininity and judge others for not following suit is something that is so unnecessary and fails to create a completely accurate image of a strong female character. Whenever this is present in a book I become really quite infuriated, and it can become a struggle to finish the book in particularly bad cases!
The Consistently Lucky Novice
This is something that is somewhat frustrating in its completely unrealistic nature. I mean… who is immediately brilliant at literally everything that is required of them? The answer is next to nobody! Sometimes I’ll see a character become an expert in something they haven’t been seen to/ had time to practice and it’ll pull me out of the story and make me less invested as I’ll (often unwillingly) dwell upon how unrealistic it is!
Love Cures All
Or, more specifically: Girl’s Life Changes Because Of a Boy. It can frustrate me to see the way every single problem suddenly no longer matters/ is solved simply because the character has fallen in love. I understand and am in no way refuting the fact that love and romantic relationships can have a positive impact and aid a characters growth, I am simply critiquing the way that this can sometimes be taken too far and this romance can be represented as curing every single problem that was previously present!
And that wraps up the tropes that I do and don’t love! I’d love to hear which tropes you personally do and do not love, and whether we have any in common!!