For Top 5 Wednesday, this week’s discussion topic centers around book tropes that were presented in a refreshing way. Unlike many of my fellow readers, I tend to have no hard feelings about tropes. However, I want to present the biggest surprises I have encountered while reading stories that could’ve gone on a completely different route. I used some resources to nail some of the book tropes that connected with me best.
Oh, and SPOILERS AHEAD FOR BOOK TROPES AND HOW THEY TURN OUT IN CERTAIN NOVELS. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.
Book Trope #1: Ominous Prologue
The Midnight Jewel by Richelle Mead
Easily high up on my Richelle Mead appreciation list, this book centered on a woman of color who is trying to be socioeconomically mobile within a colonial patriarchy. The book begins with the greatest prologue: “You! Girl! Don’t make another step, or I’ll run you through!”
Yes. I would like more of this book now, please.
It may have been more of an opening line, but, it was quite the hook.
Your Turn: what are your favorite absolute shocking book beginnings? Did they ever mislead you about the story? If you could, what is a combination of tonal shifts you’d like to see in a story’s prologue and its actual storyline?
Book Trope #2: Love Triangles
Clockwork Angel (and The Infernal Devices as a trilogy) by Cassandra Clare
The most heartbreaking love triangle I’d ever read so far in my reading journey has to be this one around Will Herondale, Jem Carstairs, and Tessa Grey. Oh my goodness. Will and Jem are parabati-friends and warrior-comrades. They have an epic connection. Tessa comes in and BOOM everything is complicated. Will is a tortured soul with a sarcastic coldness to him. Jem, sweet and kind, weakened by an illness/addiction, plays the violin. I mean, come on. The violin!
And yet, he brings out the most tender love out of his friend Will Herondale. Will says this to him, “If I could tear myself in half, I would-that half of me might remain with you and half follow Tessa-”
Excuse me while I cry about the most deliciously agonizing love triangle ever. I do think the Dark Artifices may have a rivaling love triangle, but it’s not quite up there yet. I shall see what happens in the final book of that trilogy before I make up my mind.
Your Turn: What elements make a love story compelling to you? Have you found stories that do them justice?
Book Trope #3: Token Diverse Character(s)
The Hate U Give By Angie Thomas
Angie Thomas completely took the token diverse character trope and spun it right on its head. I think what was absolutely stunning about this novel was that it had an almost Inception-like set of layers through which the main character Starr existed.
If anything, Starr is a token diverse character in her family’s neighborhood, as someone who goes to a mostly-white school, and as one of the very few people of color within her school life.
And, Thomas is very aware of how this type of isolation may affect a person. But, then, I think also Starr’s diversity stems from her shock and fear of speaking out against this terrible thing she witnesses, a thing that many may have become desensitized around already.
Furthermore: you may be interested to see the trailer for this book’s adaptation.
Your Turn: There are many underrepresented minority groups out there. Do you have any significant storylines you want told from the perspective of a minority?
Book Trope #4: Someone Who Was Secretly Royal The Whole time
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Um. Listen, Nikolai was a game changer in these books, and people loved him so much, he’s getting his own book(s). (For more on that, read here). While I will always cherish the Darkling, I thought of Nikolai as a compelling, charming, and curiously mysterious fellow. He just brought so much light to Alina’s life.
There’s an aura of sadness and grief within him that adds depth to his character. I mean, he says things like this: “I hope you weren’t looking to me to be the voice of reason. I keep to a strict diet of ill-advised enthusiasm and heartfelt regret.”
Long live Nikolai.
We just had an epic royal wedding take hold of the media’s attention. Do you have any favorite royal-love stories? (It can be fictional or real).
Book Trope #5: Multicolored Eyes
A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab
I hate sounding so repetitive but maybe I’ll surprise you in this one last trope for the post. Beautiful and wild Lila Bard had such an interesting twist on this book trope. I am trying not to spoil the actual manifestation of the Antari mythology in her life.
Everything about Lila Bard’s incorporation into this power system that was in place within this series of Londons, it all humanized her but did not take away from her uniqueness at the same time.
Let’s talk about characters who have visual special needs. Please share your favorites in comments. I don’t think I have read more than two stories that feature any kind of different representation of vision.
I want to end this article, which I know is getting exceedingly long, with this interesting re-imagining of book tropes. Check it out.