In my dreams, someone pays me gobs and gobs of money to just sit around all day reading and snuggling with my cat. It’s a good gig if you can get it! Errr … of course, I don’t actually have that gig or know if it really exists, but I still devour books almost as fast as I gobble up a slice of cheese pizza. Thus, I consider myself to be a book expert. At least the expert of what Tanya likes and dislikes when it comes to books.
Lately I’ve found myself increasingly annoyed while reading. Don’t get me wrong — I still love books but … there are a few things that frustrate me. These things may or may not bother you. And neither of us are wrong. It’s one of things I love about books. People can read the same book and experience it so differently. It fascinates me endlessly.
Why You Gotta Hurt Me Like This, Dear Books?
Perhaps a tad overdramatic but guess who turned me into a Drama Queen? Yup. Books!
Unreliable Narrators Are Reliably Overdone
Oh man. I complained about this in my April Bookshelf post but unreliable narrators are getting on my last nerve. Narrators have become so unreliable that they are now a dreaded trope. Dear Authors: Not every book needs an unreliable narrator. Sometimes it actually hurts the book to have a poor one. And for the love of Dorothy, please stop making unreliable narrators suffer from memory loss due to coma, accident or being buried alive because that shit gets old fast.
Stop Breaking My Heart … Love
Ah, love. You make the world go-around, but … sometimes you suck. Like when I’m forced to pick a “team” in a love triangle where it’s obvious who the right one is. Even worse than a poorly constructed love triangle is Insta-Love. The only kind of insta-love I support involves cats. Instant attraction or instant lust? Sure. But love deserves to be a glorious journey.
My most hated love trope, however, is what I call magnet love, where a female character suddenly becomes desirable to every single male. Think Sookie from True Blood. There comes a point where every male character — besides her brother because apparently Charlaine Harris is thankfully not Team Lannister — lusts/loves Sookie, which rang false in a series with vampires, werewolves and fairies. Let’s get real: Sookie was a 25-year-old virgin who couldn’t even land a date two chapters earlier.
I’m Not an Acrobat; Enough with the Twists!
Listen, I love a good twist. In fact, I adore them, especially when it punches me in my face and my jaw drops and I have to sit there for a few minutes just reveling in the twist. But I also hate how twists, which should be used judiciously and with great care, appear to be mandatory these days. And worse I’ve noticed that authors seem to be addicted to twists and keep throwing twist after twist. Like they had one or maybe two good twists but kept going because why not. Twists aren’t cats. You can have too many of them!
And the Caveat: I Also Love the Things I Hate
Why. Because when an unreliable narrator or love story or twist works — WOWSER! It becomes a masterpiece (at least to me). So it’s probably more honest to say I’m over authors who do these tropes in a misguided, bad way because they’re following a trend, not because the story needs it or because they lack the ability to do it well (harsh but some incredibly talented authors cannot write an unreliable narrator worth a damn and shouldn’t feel obligated to write one because everyone else is). After all, trends come and go, but good writing endures.
Ahhhhhh … I feel a little better now that I’ve gotten that off my chest.
Now you tell me, what books trends/tropes frustrate you?