Let’s Talk Bookish – Trope Troubles

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, that is hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  and Dani @Literary Lion. It’s a chance to discuss certain topics, share opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Posts are written on Fridays, and you can suggest topics using the form that you will find on Rukky’s Contact page.



Prompts: Connected to my previous topic where we talked about tiresome characters, what are some tiresome tropes? Have you seen enough love triangles? Getting sick of enemies to lovers? What tropes have you had enough of, and can they ever be done well?

Oh boy do I have a long list for this one, some of which can be done well but so very often the author fails to do so and others of which are just always bad. So in no particular order of how much they annoy me, here are a few tropes that I find utterly tiresome.

1. The “she’s so beautiful and all males adore her but she has no idea of how gorgeous she is” trope. If this trope has a name please let me know, so that I don’t have to type such a long phrase next time. This one is just so annoying as it (a) suggests that being unwittingly beautiful is something to aspire to and (b) pointless.

2. Insta-love. I can just about stomach this when two people have been in a “forced together” situation for several days, though even then I’m having to suspend reality somewhat. I one-hundred percent believe in insta-lust, an overwhelming physical attraction to another person, however to truly be in love with someone you need to actually know them. Sexual compatibility does not equate to life-long compatibility.

3. Alpha Asshole Heroes. OK say perhaps not a trope, and yes I did talk about these last week, but those “alpha” males who allow the heroine no autonomy whatsoever. I’m not talking about books featuring power exchange relationships, where a free choice has been made, but those books where the author is attempting to write an alpha male but instead creates an inconsistent, overbearing and controlling to the point of mentally abusive character instead. Those men who insist on utter honesty in the relationship, in there being no secrets or “lies by omission”, who then make decisions on behalf of the heroine without ever seeking her opinion because they know what is best for her. They also often compound this by keeping their own secrets “for the good of the heroine”, when in reality it’s because it is convenient for them to do so. NO, NO, NO. An alpha male is protective of ALL aspects regarding the heroine, including her mental and emotional health, which means letting her make her own decisions.

4. #NotLikeOtherGirls. A trope we discussed back in June and one well worth blog hopping for. The biggest issue with this trope is it’s suggestion that somehow being like other girls is bad. Misogyny at it’s finest and sadly one that is perpetrated by female authors as much as, and maybe more so than, male ones. Absolutely everything about this trope is wrong, wrong, WRONG.

5. Billionaires. I just do not understand the obsession with billionaires, as though huge amounts of money make a man somehow more attractive. OK so it did for Anna Nicole Smith, but that’s not quite the kind of “love” story being portrayed in a romance novel! Sometimes the man needs to be incredibly rich for the story to work, and if it is part of driving the plot forward then I can go with the flow. However far too often these men are all cut from the same cloth, in fact I’m sure there must be a generic character description for “billionaire in a romance book”, because after reading a few it quickly becomes obvious that most are carbon copies of an original that exists somewhere. Some authors do make their ultra rich heroes unique, so it is one that can be done well.

6. Virgins. The adult equivalent of the YA Not Like Other Girls character. Misogynistic and generally suggesting that sexually active women are less worthy. Very rarely have I stumbled across a virgin heroine where said intactness has added value to the story. It does happen, and there are some books I would be able to recommend, but not many. Another irritating aspect of this trope is that in romance the virgin will often have crazy monkey sex in a wide variety of positions, have multiple orgasms and be ready for rounds two, three and four within an hour or two. For the love of all things holy can we please remember that contemporary romance should retain some degree of realism?

7. The Big Secret. I don’t even give a stuff if this isn’t a trope, it annoys me and I’m going to rant about it! The BS, as I like to refer to this trope/literary device, will often go one of two ways. It will either be so bloody obvious to all and sundry that the much anticipated “big reveal” will have as much excitement as the grand opening of a packet of mints. Or, and this is the one that really has me throwing poisoned 1 star reviews into the ether, is when that secret is constantly dangled like a carrot throughout the story, resulting in a book that goes nowhere and has no plot other than “ooh look there’s a big secret you don’t know”. Guess what? I don’t care! DNF, skip to the end, be disappointed because it wasn’t even a good/believable/genuine secret in the first place, write a scathing review.

Sorry, that was longer than I originally planned but I do love a good rant! What tropes get your goat?

Image borrowed from Book Riot

6 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish – Trope Troubles

  1. I think I mentioned in the last post that I struggle with PNR because of the fated mates/insta-love. Back 10-12 years ago, I LOVED that concept… destined to be together. But now, I’m tired of it. I want to see a couple meet and work on things. But what I don’t like is when there is a silly external conflict that pulls them apart. Or the “I’m no good for him/her, therefore I need to walk away for their own good.” I love when a fledgling couple takes on the conflict together, bringing them closer.

    Liked by 1 person

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