Saturday, 4 February 2012

Bookish Pet Peeve - Love Triangles

A while ago I was talking with Jeffe Kennedy about Love Triangles and my dislike of them.

She mentioned that often it's obvious who the heroine is going to chose in the end and she was wondering why in such stories there's a Love Triangle at all.

I got my own thoughts on that and it's one of the reasons why I do not like Love Triangles. (The other being that I usually like the guy who's not getting the girl in the end.)

Love Triangles are often used as the ultimate 'Mary Sue' plot device: They are there to tell us how special the heroine is.

Because a girl/woman who is desired by more than one man must be something special surely!

It's lazy story-telling in my opinion. Instead of really showing me, the reader, why Mary Sue is worth reading about/fighting for/etc.. the author throws in an extra love interest (who we all know will never get the girl in the end, but will pine over her for a gazillion books) and presto: Mary Sue gains instant specialness.

Added bonus of the extra love interest is that the author can use him to get the hero/story moving. Jealousy, rivalry, mistaken gestures and stuff like that are all easy plot devices for the author to make things happen in the story.

There are probably Love Triangles out there that are better than all this, but most often I can sniff out the 'real' love interest within two sentences of meeting him and in such cases it is so tiring to read all the triangly stuff for books and books on end. I find myself not picking up books that probably have an amazing story if I read on the back that there are two boys (yup: the love triangles are especially heavily represented in YA fiction, although adult UF sure knows how to misuse love triangles as well) interested in our (modest, good natured, talented and brave) heroine.

What are your thoughts on Love Triangles?
Are you as tired of them as I am or do you like them?
Any book suggestions without a triangle or with a triangle that's actually fun/exciting/cool to read?


SusiSunshine said...

Hmmm I have to say that it depends on the book. As you said I do not like it when we have a third person just to make the heroine more interesting. That's just lame. I also hate when I do like the second love interest more than the actual one. Happens a lot too. It just makes me sad for the dude left behind.

I do like love triangles in erotic books though but mostly when all three get what they want. Not sure if that is your cup of tea but if you want to try you could read Laid Bare by Lauren Dane. I <3 this book.

SusiSunshine said...

Forgot to subscribe to comments LOL

Mel said...

I'm not a fan of love triangles either. Most of the time it just seems to be an obstacle for the heroine to get with the 'real' love interest. Plus I don't believe she ever really feels as strongly about both of the guys - as you said it's often obvious who she will end up with - even if it takes books to get there!

Sullivan McPig said...

@Susi: I usually like one of the two guys in a menage better than the other and still feel like he is on the losing end, even if it's a all three happily ever after. I am more of a one on one kind of person. But I do believe in reading outside of my comfortzone from time to time, so might try to read your suggestion.

Sharon Stogner said...

by the way...Voodoo Bride should totally go for the pirate ;)

i don't read a lot of YA, but I know what you mean by the angsty triangles. But, that is part of teenage life. You are deciding who you are and what you want and you don't have the experience needed to deal with affections coming from two guys. I remember being a young teen and having two different guys like me. I loved the attention and didn't want to lose it so you string them along not sure which is the better choice. triangles are a real part of teenage life, but not as dramatic as they can be in fiction .
Adults should know better. I am a little less tolerant of triangles in adult books. You are right UF has its fair share! I think a heroine that strings two guys along, not able to pick says something about her character. It can make her look immature and not very nice...

Sullivan McPig said...

@Sharon: Good point.
I must confess I must have been a strange teen because such things never happened to me and even back then I was annoyed by other teens who got all teen angsty and dramatical.

Jeffe Kennedy said...

I *love* Voodoo Bride's love triangle! I've had more than one guy interested in me - mostly in college, but I agree that it had a lot to do with no one wanting to really commit. I didn't have to choose, because neither guy pressed it past flirtation, but at that point, I would have considered it incumbent on me to make a decision. That's just the human thing to do.

titania86 said...

I used to be ok with love triangles, but it's been so overdone especially in YA that I'm really annoyed by it now. The Hunger Games series was the last series I liked with a love triangle and I really hated that aspect. I also hated the way the loser of the triangle was treated and I felt it was really out of character just to make him unlikeable.