First, I must clarify that these absolutely are not actual “sins”. This post is going for a more lighthearted tone, so I am not including things that are actually offensive, like shaming, and stereotyping, and things of that nature. Great, useless disclaimer is finished.
Basically, these are the things that we often find disdainful in a book. Eye-rolling ensues, and stars are taken away. Granted, some of these can be done in a positive way, but more often than not, there are side-eyes. Your job? Why, you get to decide: Which of these sins is the most egregious?
Sin #1: The Love Triangle
I think it is safe to assume that love triangles have been happening in books since… forever? Done right, a love triangle can add something to a story, but only if it “fits” the story. Perhaps that’s where the hate stems from: Not all books really need love triangles. Not all books do them well. So you end up with really silly, meaningless love triangles that enrage readers everywhere. In fact, I actually read a review in which there was a third random guy thrown into the mix, and he seemed to serve no purpose other than “romantic choice #3”. (Note: I cannot for the life of me remember whose review this was, so if it was yours, let me know so I can link to it and give you your due credit for introducing me to this elaborate mess!) In my head, it looks like this:
Sin # 2: Insta-Love
While we’re on the topic, let’s talk the dreaded insta-love. Unlike Sin #1, there really isn’t a great time for insta-love. It rarely seems plausible, and usually ends up being frustratingly unbelievable. So why do it? I haven’t a clue. Maybe it is for convenience, perhaps so the romance has longer to pull readers in? I have no idea, but I don’t think I have ever said “wow, I really liked the insta-love in Some Novel“.
Sin #3: Mary Sues
These characters drive me batty. No one is perfect. I am looking at you, Malencia Vale of The Testing. I am fairly certain that she is the actual definition of a Mary Sue, in case you were wondering. Look, I know that some characters are just going to be more innocent, more passive even, than others. But nobody’s perfect, and I just cannot handle the “perfect” character. Just… have a bad hair day, or misspeak, or do something to prove you aren’t some kind of cyborg.
Sin #4: The Wholly Unlikeable Character
This seems to be a thing. Why is this a thing? It is what ruined Falling Into Place for me. Man, Liz Emerson was the worst. I could not find a redeeming quality to her, and I kind of didn’t care what happened to her by default. If I hate you, why do I care about your story? Answer: I do not.
Sin #5: Deus ex machina
Ugh, this one kind of slays me. It is almost as bad as insta-love. Maybe worse, I haven’t decided (hey, that’s your job). But seriously, if you can’t come up with a real reason to have something happen in a plot, then maybe that thing should not be part of the plot. I am an incredibly logical thinker, probably to a fault, so some random introduction just as a way to make the plot move in a certain direction isn’t going to work. Instead, I am probably going to yell at the book for awhile in sheer frustration.
Sin #6: Info Dumping
Ah, no one loves this. Mostly because it is kind of boring. And then your eyes kind of glaze over, and you no longer care so much. And since you just basically skimmed a lot of information, you are confused and kind of mad later.
Sin #7: The Evil Cliffhanger
You’re happily engrossed in your new favorite book. Perhaps you even have an ARC, you lucky duck. You know it’s a series, and you are just living life, reading your book. Then… BAM. Your entire world is shattered at the hands of a cliffhanger. Oh, and by the by, the next book doesn’t come out for like, two years. Good luck functioning!
Sin #8: Parent-in-YA-Syndrome
Yeah, I named it. It is a thing. This is where one of several things happen:
- All adults disappear. Maybe they die of a disease, or just randomly disappear, or aliens kidnap them, I have no idea. But they’re goners.
- The main characters’ parents are dead or elsewhere.
- The main characters’ parents are awful, neglectful, harmful, abusive, or otherwise evil.
Basically, if this wasn’t fiction, you can bet Child Protective Services are paying someone a visit. And while yes, it can and does happen, it doesn’t always have to happen. Bring on more familial relationships!
So now, it is your turn! We are going to take a nice little poll and see which of these sins you all hate the most:
Spill: Which one do you hate the most? Would you ever stop reading a book over one of these things? Which one doesn’t really bother you that much?
Also, thanks to Lola @ Lola’s Reviews, I did want to mention that I WILL post the poll results in my Weekly Shenanigans section on Saturday, so stay tuned!!