I’ve finally had a chance today to go through my emails today and I’m checking out the books recommended to me by the sites that send me ebook deals. It made me think about the tropes that I do and don’t like to read.
I should clarify, I read romance novels almost exclusively. I occasionally read fantasy or science fiction novels, but mostly romance. Within romance though, I read in a wide variety of sub-genres. It’s just that I demand my happy ending, and romance is the only genre that will guarantee that for me.
So, tropes. I’m no expert on tropes, so I Googled some. Here are the ones I have strong(ish) feelings about:
- Anti-hero. Aw, come on, we all love reformed bad boys, right? My husband was a hard drinking, fast driving, tattooed loud mouth when I met him, who was lucky not to have been behind bars. Who’d have guessed he was also super sweet and romantic, and very good with babies? Ha ha! So yeah, I guess I like these ones. He’s still tattooed and still loud, by the way.
- Athlete. I hate heroes who are sports stars. Ugh. No thanks. It’s worse too when it’s an American sport that I’m totally clueless about.
- Consanguinity. No, no, no. Stepbrothers and stepsisters, stepfathers and stepdaughters (it was this trope that actually led me to write this post in the first place), etc. No. No, no, no. And while I don’t mind menage stories, I hate it when they involves siblings, for the same reason. Or worse, twins. Ack. Nope.
- Danger. I’ve seen this written elsewhere on the net as ‘Heroine in danger’ or ‘Heroine needs rescuing’, etc. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s the hero or the heroine (and I don’t just read m/f books, so gender sterotyping is a bit redundant anyway), but danger definitely adds spice to the mix. I’ve said before that I don’t care how much torture my characters have to go through, as long as they’re guaranteed a happy ending. I guess, I like to believe that no matter how hard life gets, it’s all going to work out in the end. This is the extreme version of that. Maya Banks does this trope really well, to the point that it’s become a kind of cliche in her books, but that’s beside the point.
Whispers In The Dark was a brilliant example of this trope. Both the hero and the heroine go through some fairly extreme ordeals over the course of the book, and it’s a fantastic read.
- Disguise. I know it’s silly, but I really like the ones where girls dress up as guys and win over the hero as a male first. I don’t know why I like them. Maybe because I was a tomboy and often mistaken as a boy even well into my teens (I think I was 17 the last time it happened).
Morganna by Jackie Ivie is one of the best books I’ve read with this trope, and I especially love how the hero falls for her while still thinking she was a boy. He is attracted to her while he thought she was a male (and even kisses her, thinking her a man), instead of respecting or befriending her and then being attracted once her gender was revealed. For a historical romance, that’s pretty cutting edge. I was very impressed.
- Fated mates. This can work really well, but only if the author avoids the instalove pitfall of death. Ugh. I hate instalove. If the match is fated, and they fight it, but eventually realise all the great things about each other and slowly fall for each other despite themselves, it can be a great read. But no instalove!
- Impairments. This is probably very un-PC of me to say, but I love these. I actually did a Writing.com site newsletter on this topic. Both physical and mental disabilities, so long as the characters are equal. I read one where I felt the character with the mental disability was not in any way equal to the other main character, and there was a HUGE power disadvantage. It felt…kind of pedophilic. Ugh, no thanks.
The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley and Song For Sophia by Moriah Densley both have great male heroes who have Asperger’s Syndrome. Both are excellent reads. I’m sure Cole from Jaime Reese’s A Restored Man is on the spectrum too. It’s never said, but I think his inability to know what is appropriate for a particular conversation or situation is a good indication.
Never Seduce A Scot by Maya Banks features a fantastic heroine who is deaf. That’s a great book too. Moon Craving by Lucy Monroe features a deaf heroine as well, and I’ve re-read that book a number of times too.
I’ve read some great m/m books that use this trope too. Speechless by Kim Fielding features a hero with aphasia which I’ve read multiple times. And there’s Andrew Grey’s Senses series too which is built around the trope. It’s starts with Love Comes Silently, with a mute hero, then Love Comes In Darkness, with a blind hero. I enjoyed both those books (but warning, they’re tear-jerkers). There are six books in the series, but the first two are my favourites.
- Military. I used to really enjoy these, and Maya Banks’ KGI series is a great example of this done well, but having now worked for two ex-military bosses, I no longer see military guys as a romantic ideal. Nope. And what’s more, I will no longer be recommending that my son signs up for the military. The military changes you, and now I think it’s not for the better.
- Second chances. I’m not a fan of this one. If it didn’t work out the first time, it wasn’t meant to be. Not to say it can’t be done well, but you’ll have to have something really special to tempt me.
- Time travel. I’ve read books where this trope has been done really well, and I’ve really enjoyed them, but I’m always leery of them. It’s so easy to turn this into a sad ‘been there, done that, got the t shirt’ cliche.
- Ugly duckling. I really enjoy these ones, regardless of which character is the ugly duckling and why. Probably I enjoy them because I have pretty low self-esteem when it comes to my physical appearance, but never mind.
What are some tropes that you like or dislike? They don’t have to be romance ones.