Time for another book meme! What can I do? They’re fun! This time, I’ll be tackling OK, Let’s Read’s Thursday Thoughts. This week’s theme is Love Triangles.
I’ll get right to the point: more often than not, love triangles make me cringe. In my experience, they rarely ever help the plot progress and exist only to create shipping wars and help sales. But Tess, it’s so much fun to see how each person will try to make the MC fall for them! Well, yeah, maybe, but it can be annoying to constantly see the MC thinking harder about whom they’d rather snog than about how a bomb is going to detonate over their heads in five minutes.
Indeed, Catching Fire, the second book of The Hunger Games, is quite probably my least favourite book in the series due to this very reason, and this is one of the only series that has love triangles done right. Why is CF the third THG book I like less? Because in the first third of the book or so, Katniss spends an awful lot of time whining about how she doesn’t know what she feels about Peeta and Gale when there were more important things going on.
Why does THG do love triangles right? Because apart from that chunk of pages, picking a boy is not Katniss’s priority, because she doesn’t understand why it’d matter if they’re in a war, because even though the boys don’t like having competition they’re not the usual machos puffing up their chests or playing the “good guy” card. As they should. On the other hand, the triangle helps to show how Katniss has two paths to pick: war or peace. It’s not there just for sales.
In other series, however, that is clearly the case. Cassandra Clare’s books come to mind. Even though I did like the triangle in The Infernal Devices since Jem and Will were gentlemanly and friendly towards each other and Tessa, unlike what happens in most books, the one in The Mortal Instruments (in the first three books that is, I quit on the series after the third) annoyed me too much for words. It had the clichéd “I’m a really nice guy, I’ve been your friend my whole life, how could you like that jerk better? don’t I deserve a kiss?” and the also clichéd “I am mysterious and good-looking, I love being macho and mistreating you, and that friend of yours is a wee kid. kiss me, I know how to smoulder better”. Plot reasons? Not that many. I dare say the story would be very similar or the same if they were all friends instead. Sigh.
There are plenty of more books that suffer from the same problem. As I try to avoid them, I’m sure you can think of more of them than me.
Well, I say avoid them, but this last year, I’ve come across a “brand new” sort of love triangle: the bisexual MC who falls for a male and a female. If I’m not mistaken, I’ve read three books with a female bisexual MC who fall for two people: Winterspell by Claire Legrand, The Crimson Ribbon by Katherine Clements, and Angel on the Ropes by Jill Shultz. And, without fail, all of the MC chose the same gender: (Spoiler alert, text in white) the guy. Why? Would it have been much different if the genders differed on Angel on the Ropes? Even on Winterspell? Why must the endgame relationship be male/female?
I don’t know if this is the norm in books with bisexual characters, but it was disappointing to see the same thing happening again and again. It almost felt as if the authors only decide to make their MC bisexual in an effort to include some diversity. It’s perfectly okay for there to bisexual girls who choose the guy, but it would be nice to see a girl choosing a girl too. That does happen.
Hopefully, I just had some bad luck on that department and I’ll soon read stories where there is a wider variety of romantic relationships and endings. I would love to be contradicted here, and if you know of books that would do the trick, please share them!
As you’ve probably deduced by now, overall, my relationship with love triangles is not the best. I have refused to pick up plenty of books that had “can W ever choose between X and Y and save the world?” on the synopsis even though the rest was interesting. Yes, romance is an important or even vital part of many a person’s life, but it can get quite tiresome when the internal monologue is all about “who should I pick?” And besides, are love triangles of this sort even that common outside of fiction?
In short, give me a book with a love triangle if it’s not the most important thing in the book, if it’s written out as such, if it helps out to the plot. If it’s there just to help the book get on the sales top 10, forget about it. I’d rather reread Harry Potter.
How about you? What are your thoughts on love triangles? Ready to get rid of them? Or hoping for another? Tell me what you think!