Book Themes and Trends I Could Do Without

I’ve just been thinking about this a lot lately and here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

Schmoes Before Bros: I cannot stand when characters completely abandon friends or loving family members for the sake of pursuing romantic interests. The best books allow characters to be capable of maintaining all kinds of relationships.

Bizarre Love Triangles: Lately I’ve been reading books that claim to have a Love Triangle only for it to become clear that the characters all fail at Fictional Relationship Geometry. There is no point in having a Love Triangle if one of the sides is absolutely unneeded and clearly going to loose out in the end. I will not find it suspenseful, I do not think it adds more tension, and more often than not it ruins the book for me. I would rather believe in or care about a main character’s dilemma then constantly wonder why the other two people don’t just ditch said main character and shack up together elsewhere.

I Done Got Me An Edumacation: Why are so many books terrified of featuring main characters who are also academically-minded? Honestly, it’s not like someone with a degree is magically any more capable than someone who doesn’t have one, so it would be cool for books not to diss people for going or not going to college. I also firmly believe that not all characters have to drop out of high school and work at a Dollar Tree in order to be relatable. Besides, smart people with or without degrees often have to work at crappy jobs. 

I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her/His Face: Grumpy people should be able to remain grumpy and alone, darn it. I am so tired of really snarly people loathing someone else only to end up with them for no apparent reason.

Is She/He Really Going Out With Him/Her?: I don’t like lopsided relationships in fiction. If only one character is going to be awesome, that one character should remain single. Why is everyone so scared of single people?

Cradle To Grave: Am I the only person who cringes whenver I read a book where one character is eleventy billion years old and the other character is between sixteen to twenty-one years of age? I just cannot imagine seeing so much history and experiencing so much live and death only to waste time giving one fig about whether or not my underaged significant other got an A in badminton during P. E. class or won the regional spelling bee.

The Wonder Of Men: I prefer supernatural creatures finding other supernatural creatures. Or if not I’d rather the female characters were the more kick-ass of any given couple. In that respect, I really prefer Kresley Cole’s awesome approach of having everyone in her books be supernatural.

Undead Kid On Campus: Could monsters stop going to and or back to high school? Please? It makes sense if the creature in question is actually a teenager or something with an expiration date, but 800 year old vampires or demons from places like ancient Mesopotamia do not need to go to high school. Why would they want to?

I Gotta Fever And The Only Prescription Is More Romance: I love romance, but I don’t always need romance to enjoy a book. Likewise, some books need romance, some books don’t, and some books really, really don’t need romance. But much like cheesey ham in a chicken cordon bleu, somehow romance gets stuffed into virtually every book coming out. Again, why is everyone so scared of single people?

Location, Location, Location: World-building is important. Research is important. Real or imagined worlds need to be believable and they need to be fun to read about. I think it is great to make things up in terms of fiction because that’s sort of the point, but if a setting isn’t well-executed or well thought out, I’m going to get annoyed. And if people are going to write about a real place, they ought to make an effort to learn something factual about that place and its people!

Steampunk’d: I am so tired of so much steampunk being basically the same as anything else with copious amounts of the word “gear,” “airship,” and “hoop skirt” added to a book’s text.  I realize that having the fancy bells and whistles is part of the genre’s appeal, but there has to be more to a story than that for me to enjoy it.

That’s all for now. I’ll post about the themes and trends I would love to read more of tomorrow.

In the mean time, what book themes or trends would you like to see less of?

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About April

I'm a librarian, reader, and writer whose main goal in life is to be able to swim in books the way Scrooge McDuck swims in money. Although my reading choices will always be wildly eclectic and I never plan on leaving any genre unexplored, my favorite reads tend to be Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Gay Romance, or Historical Fiction. You can e-mail me at inspector[dot]librarian[at]gmail[dot]com.
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8 Responses to Book Themes and Trends I Could Do Without

  1. Redhead says:

    feeling some sparkly vampire burnout? lol! I hear what you’re saying and I’m with ya.

    I read something recently, and I don’t even remember what it was. . . the author had thrown in some random airships, some random clockwork stuff, and poof! it was steampunk! Not!!!

  2. Wow, most excellent post! I giggled my whole way through, and while I do like a little romance in the mix, I don’t mind a single person here or there as long as they are able to carry through the story without losing my interest.

    I never thought too much about these old supernaturals going back to high school as a problem, but it’s true. Why would they want to re-live high school? I know sometimes the argument is that their minds are “stuck” in that age group, but really after 800 years they should be able to comprehend SOMETHING and acing test after test after test until their “soulmate” finally gets born is kinda lame. 🙂

    • Thank you! I had fun writing this list and yes. Romance is perfectly lovely, but sometimes it’s nice to have a change or something a little different.

      Exactly. 🙂 I mean some of them would never have heard of high school and I doubt they’d be thrilled to go to one after reading about what they’re like. It’s much better for a character to be 16-18 and dealing with high school than 800 and going back to high school because they’re bored or something.

  3. Trisha says:

    “Every time I see you falling, I get down on my knees and pray…”

    Oh, we’re not talking about my favorite songs here… 🙂

    But seriously, I agree with everything on your list. Especially the one about how it seems like every new book these days includes a romance. No. Just no. Like you, I love a good romance, but I’m much more likely to get annoyed by a poorly done, unnecessary romance than I am by a book lacking a romance.

    • No, but I definitely stole that from the song so it’s all good. 🙂

      For sure. It really stinks to have to shift through tons of books that have romances “just cuz” in order to find one where the author actually intended for romance to be a major theme.

  4. OMG. These are hilarious. My favorite is the eleventy-billion-year-old immortal who falls for the teen. I mean, really! Of course said teen sometimes has magical blood or has awakened to learn she has heretofore-unknown supernatural abilities. Still. My favorite teeth-grinder. Love scenes with mewling women. If I see the word “mewl” in a book, it goes in the crapper. Also “too-stupid-to-live” heroines. Uh, if there are monster killings in town and you see glowing red eyes at the end of the alley, if you walk into said alley anyway, you deserve to have your throat ripped out. Unless you’re a teen, and monster is an immortal who’s going to fall for you.

    • 🙂 Sometimes it works, but I think it just has gotten so played out. It’s even worse when some supernatural girl does show up and the eleventy-billion -year-old immortal still prefers the teenager.

      LOL mewling? I don’t think I’ve experienced that yet. I’ve never been more grateful to be missing out on something. I have read love scenes where the word “womb” is used a bit too often though. That was somewhat traumatic.

      “Too-stupid-to-live” characters are definitely a factor in my putting books down or abandoning a series. I don’t mind characters needing to grow up a bit, but when I spend most of a book wondering how they survive trips to the grocery store it’s hard to root for them when they take on monsters. Or when the monsters develop feelings for them.

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