Five Annoying Book Tropes

23 Jul 2018


I'm back to reading books again. After experiencing months of reading slum due to how confusing Nova Ren Suma's The Walls Around Us was, I finally find it in me to start reading again. I realized that the more books I add into my to be read cart, the more picky I've become. I've always been a picky reader but now, I'm even pickier if that's even possible. So to celebrate the rebirth of my bookworm spirit, let me list down a few things found in fictions today that are guaranteed to turn me off. If a book contains any of the tropes I'm about to talk about, chances are I'm going to stray away before even trying it out unless of course, my favorite booktuber convinced me to do otherwise.

#1 Insta-Love

This is probably one of the worst fiction tropes that I just cannot compute. It's unrealistic, stupid and borderline creepy. It takes months or even years to get to know someone, let alone fall in love with them. I think insta-love is only appealing for those who believe in the idea of soulmates. I, for one, do not. I personally think the concept surrounding soulmates is too idealistic for a realist like me. As much as I enjoy fantasy and being imaginative, insta-love is definitely crossed out from the list (yes, I'm looking at you, Bella Swan and Edward Cullen.)

#2 Love Triangles

Can we please, please stop this annoying obsession with love triangles? Can we please have a book and a plot that actually focuses on the actual problem instead of having our protagonist spend hours and hours each day just to decide which character he or she should be making out with? Authors need to stop relying on love triangles just to advance their plot and have their main character(s) actually care about the collapsing structure around them. The thing about doing love triangles as major plot advancement is that only certain authors are able to pull it off without replacing the central charm of the story. Most authors and books, however, fail to do so. When done right, love triangle can be something tolerable — as seen from The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare.

#3 Action Girl

I’ve talked about this in a post before but let me say it again: physical strength does not determine the strength of your character. The action girl trope refers to female characters who kick ass as much as guys do. Some of them are also written as those who’d never touch ‘girly’ things and find certain things that normal girls like as superficial. They also refer to girls who embrace mundanely feminine things as ‘the other girls.’ Action girls who are written without depth will often consider themselves to be unique because they “don’t need to wear dresses or makeup” or that they’d “rather be at home with a book instead of attending parties.” Here’s the thing: girls who wield a gun or a sword is fun. But when physical strength marks your character's only central aspect, isn’t that contradictory to the whole feminism thing? Don’t get me wrong, I love my badass heroines that doesn’t mean I am against characters who embrace their femininity. What I want is a realistic heroine who is human in her own ways. Stop giving us heroines without layers and stop telling us that they are strong just because they know how to slay a dragon.

#4 Mary Sue

I don’t think it’s necessary to explain why mary sue characters are unrealistic, stupid and annoying. Think Bella Swan (again, because Twilight is one of the worst series of all time so I’m going to use that as an example), Clary Fray from The Mortal Instruments series, Zoey Redbird from the worst young adult series of all time called House of Night by P.C Cast, Lucinda from the Fallen series by Lauren Kate — the list goes on. Not only can they do no wrong, they are sure to bring every male character in the book to want to hook up with them or that everybody else should be protecting them because they are the ones with the most valuable power or anything along that line. Look, I honestly don’t mind powerful, talented or naturally gifted characters (think Hermione Granger who excels academically but not athletically, who worked hard for the knowledge she gained) but every character is not without flaw. Every character, like every human being, has to have flaws! What we need is more Hermione Granger or Ginny Weasley, not another Bella Swan.

#5 Virgin Mary

Okay folks, let's talk about indirect slut shaming that is happening both in the real world and in fiction literature. Women are judged based on their so-called 'purity.' If a woman is sexually inexperienced or a virgin, she is immediately considered 'pure' and attractive for being 'pure.' On the other hand, sexually active women are shamed for being 'slutty.' In my opinion, 'slutty' is just another word I associate with being a total 'b*tch' and bitchiness is not to be associated with sexual experiences but rather, a character's attitude, morality and how she deals with things. Conventionally speaking, most young adult authors love to incorporate the 'Plain Jane, Virgin Mary' trope for their heroine and then have the character be praised for being, well you guess it, a virgin. Not only does it gets boring over time, it's also degrading to women in general. In fact, this trope is frequently connected to other annoying tropes that shape a bad female character. Authors who shape their female characters this way are not doing justice to prevent the stigma that sexually active women are not sluts so please, just stop.

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Frankly speaking, I think I have more annoying tropes in my list that I have yet to include here. As you can see, I love to rant especially when it's about these things I'm really passionate about. I have a premonition I'm going to talk about five more annoying tropes in the future. I know this list is so cliche but I just want to voice them out, ya kno

What are some book tropes that you hate?

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