Happy Tuesday, everyone! It’s time for the first Top 10 Tuesday list of October. This is an original weekly blog meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, there is a new bookish topic for bloggers to create a list about. If you want to know more about Top 10 Tuesday, click here!
This week’s topic is the top ten bookish things you want to quit or have quit (such as books or series, tropes, habits). Since this leaves some room to get creative, I decided to do a two-part list: four overused tropes that I would like to see less of and six books or series that I quit.
There will always be common themes and plot elements among stories, particularly those of the same genre or target age range. Not all tropes detract from the overall story or are necessarily negative qualities, especially when they are executed well; and everyone’s opinion about them will be different. Because of this, the four tropes that I picked for my list are ones that, personally, I particularly dislike reading about and believe always severely hurt a story. For me, there is just no good way to write these.
Let’s start out with the bane of my existence…
- Love Triangles/Squares/ Multifaceted Shapes
Thus far, I have only ever been able to stand this in one series, and I hated every moment it was addressed. This is by far the most frustrating trope in literature to me, particularly when the triangle begins morphing into larger polygons. This is the one trope that can actually lead to me stopping in the middle of a novel or completely refusing to read it in the first place if it is mentioned or implied in the synopsis. It is one of the most unnecessary plot elements ever, and the drama that it creates leads me to stop caring about the characters involved and sometimes even the story itself. Which brings me to our next trope…
- Excessive Romance/Romantic Angst
I admit I can be incredibly picky when it comes to romance in novels. And while I am totally a hopeless romantic in real life, I tend to prefer when it is kept to a minimum in most novels that I read. This is simply because, many times, a plot can become overpowered by an excessive amount of romance, particularly one that is tumultuous. Sometimes a little tension can be good, as to not make it seem unrealistic, but this can easily be overdone. When it is overdone, this takes attention away from what should be the main plotline in favor of something that may make it look rather sophomoric. Overdone romance or romantic angst subtracts from the significance and impact the story would otherwise have on the reader.
- Perfect Main Characters
I can’t stand a main character, or any character really, who is essentially flawless. For me to really care about a character they need to have obvious faults. They need to grow and mature, to make mistakes and learn from them. As a reader, it is impossible to connect and feel for someone who seems inhumanly perfect, and this leaves you wondering why you should spend time becoming invested in their story. On the other side of this, I get really annoyed by…
- Cookie-Cutter Villains
I love a good, complex villainous character; one that leaves you constantly intrigued and on your toes, never sure of their motives or what they will do next. They can many times be my absolutely favorite aspect of reading a story, and they are certainly my favorite part to write in my own work. However, a cliché, one-dimensional villain, who is just evil to be evil or because the story requires an antagonist, is incredibly dull, and can really put me off a novel. A villain’s plotline and backstory needs equally as much consideration as the hero’s because the audience needs to care about that villain just as much in order for the overall plot to be successful. A recycled, “cookie-cutter” villain can get on my nerves like nothing else.
This was a surprisingly difficult list to make. No matter how I feel about it, once I have started a series, I don’t often stop in the middle of it, and it is even less likely for me to stop in the middle of a book. But I manage to compile a list of what I believe are the only six books/series that I have ever stopped partway through.
This may either be a controversial or common opinion, but I do fall into the category of people who did not like the Twilight series. Now, I did not completely hate the first two novels and did make it through them; however, they never really clicked with me. I figured I would finish up the rest of the series since I’d gotten so far, but I could not get through more than half of Eclipse. I do see why people like the series, but these kinds of stories are really just not my cup of tea.
I’m not exactly sure why I attempted these novels; they are not at all the type of story I like to read. I think I had heard a lot of the praise and hype surrounding them and thought maybe they would surprise me. I made it about halfway through Shiver and gave up. I do intend to give Maggie Stiefvater’s other novels a try despite not liking these stories; some of them seem a bit more suited to my personal tastes.
- Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
This was a book that we read in high school, but I switched schools a of couple months into the year and was no longer required to read it. I could not get into this story at all and was not interested in seeing how it wrapped up, so I just ended up putting it down. I do not, at the moment, have any intention of trying to finish it off, however, I would like to give some of Toni Morrison’s other work a try one day.
Again, not sure what my reason for trying to read this series was, other than the fact that I was hearing a lot of positive things about it. I only made it about 100 pages into the first novel before I had to put it down.
By this point, I’m sure you are noticing a trend! I do really like to give every type of story a try, even ones I’m sure I won’t like, because you never know what you might find. Unfortunately, I was correct in thinking I wouldn’t like these ones; I only made it about halfway through Fallen.
- The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth
This is a bit of a cheat because I am not 100% certain that I will never finish this trilogy. I absolutely loved Divergent, but Insurgent fell rather flat for me. After that and hearing spoilers for Allegiant, I’m not certain that I am invested enough to continue on. This is the only series from this list that I could still be persuaded to finish, however.
What are some bookish things you want to quit/have quit? What are some tropes that you are tired of seeing in novels? Let me know in the comments!