Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Tropes I Love & Hate

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is whatever I want. I chose to list some tropes. When people hear the word “Trope,” they usually think of something negative, but there are thousands of tropes, and some of them have been around for centuries. They’re not necessarily a bad thing. So, I decided to list 5 tropes I love and 5 I’m sick of seeing.

The Tropes I Love

1. Anti-heroes and anti-villains: These are the morally gray characters. You’re never quite sure if they’re good guys or bad guys, but they’re super-interesting to read about. These characters are pretty common in sci-fi/fantasy/horror.

2. Slow-burn love: The opposite of insta-love. The characters are friends long before they are romantic partners. Ron and Hermione are probably the most well-known example of slow-burn love. It takes them thousands of pages to get together.

3. Unusual formatting: Strange fonts? Mixing poetry and prose? One-sentence chapters? Creepy old photographs? An entire book written in lists? All those experimental things that reviewers call “Gimmicky and annoying”? YES, PLEASE. I want more.

4. Parallel universes: These have been a staple of science fiction for as long as the genre has been around. As a kid, I was obsessed with His Dark Materials and The Talisman. As an adult, I loved the Dark Tower series and A Darker Shade Of Magic. I’ve never met a parallel-universe book that I didn’t like.

5. The unexpected hero (A.K.A. the non-action guy): This is the character who doesn’t have traditional “hero” traits, but ends up doing something heroic anyway. Neville Longbottom is an unexpected hero. Peeta from The Hunger Games may also fit into this category.

Honorable mention: The coming-of-age story: In these stories, the characters go through an event that forces them to grow up a little. At the end of the book, the characters are psychologically or morally different than they were in the beginning. A lot of contemporary YA books are coming-of-age stories. I never get sick of them.

The Tropes I Hate  

1. Abusive “bad boy” love interests: Nothing makes me angrier than seeing a character stay in an abusive relationship. I know that real-life people do stay in bad relationships, but I hate reading about it. I especially hate when the girl says, “Oh, he’s just being cute and protective.” No. He’s being crazy. Get away from him. Now.

2. Unpronounceable names: Fantasy authors, why do you do this to me?

3. The chosen one / one person against the world: I don’t completely hate this trope, but it’s used a lot. I wish authors would be a little more creative. Sometimes it seems like every protagonist is the only person who can save the universe.

4. Romanticized illness: You know all those moody bad boys with anger-management problems? Is that sex appeal or some kind of mental disorder? Also, as much as I adore The Fault In Our Stars, I’m not sure if it’s a realistic story. Does being deathly ill really put you in the mood for love?

5. The annoyingly quirky girl: Stargirl was one of my favorite books as a kid, but I don’t think I would have liked the book if Stargirl was the narrator. She’s just so annoyingly weird. Other annoyingly quirky girls: Alice from Twilight and Margo from Paper Towns. Both characters got on my nerves a little. Quirky is fine, but some characters overdo it. On a related topic, where are all the quirky boys?

What tropes do you love and hate?


  1. What a good topic!!! Slow Burn love and coming of age are two of my favorites. Totally agree with unpronounceable names!! I kind of love the quirky girls though - Great list!!

  2. Awesome topic! Personally, although this isn’t exactly a trope, I’m tired of books starting off as if you already know everything. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I usually DNF it, because I don’t know what’s going on. /:
    I LOVE unusual formatting! :D
    Unexpected heroes are awesome! But I do agree that the abusive relationships in YA need to stop...

    Caroline @ Just Another Bookish Blog

  3. Awesome idea ! I love the anti-hero as well, and also can't STAND romanticized illness. The Fault in Our Stars drove me insane, I just couldn't get on board with it, even though the rest of the world seemed to love it.

  4. The 'bad boy' thing has always bothered me. I think it's possible to be a 'rebel', if you will without being an awful person at the same time. It's not like you put on a leather jacket and suddenly become abusive. I'm also a firm believer in the fact that getting a boyfriend/girlfriend is not going to suddenly cure your mental illness or make any other type of illness easier to cope with. But now TFiOS has made that a thing in YA fiction.

    My list

  5. I really enjoyed this post! I actually agree with a lot of your loves and hates. Although, personally I like the weird/unpronounceable names. :) They're just too much fun.

  6. I know a quirky male character! Emery Thane from The Paper Magician is tied for first place as my favorite character because I love his quirkiness. Have you read it? I absolutely hate those abusive bad boy relationships though. And romanticized illness because it undermines the struggles of people who do have illnesses. And chosen one prophecies. Basically I agree with like 90% of your list lol. I don't like unusual formatting though. Here's my TTT :-)

  7. This list was perfect! And so were some of the examples. I always love to see HDM mentioned, Will Perry is my love ;) Seriously though, I'd list the things I agreed with, but then the comment would be as long as your post, lol

    Here's my TTT for this week: Top Ten Characters I'd like to Slap

  8. oh i so agree with you on all of these!! Very nice list :) My TTT

  9. Love all of these!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/15/top-ten-tuesday-22/

  10. I adore that Neville picture/quote.

    Unlike a previous commenter, I like it when the author throws you in and you have to figure out what's going on. I mean, as long as they make it possible to do so, over the course of the book. If it's just bad world-building, that's no good. And I always have to rein in my irritation when people complain that multiple points of view are "too confusing." I love all that wacky stuff. Even if I wind up not particularly caring for a book, I still appreciate the creativity of the author.