This month, over at Meeghan Reads, the weekly top ten topic is all about tropes, and I’m so excited to dig into them! We’re kicking things off with tropes that I love, and because I did do favorite romance tropes earlier this year, I’m going to try not to just repeat that entire list, though one of them will obviously need to make a reprisal. And because Meeghan only does five, I’m also only going to do five because there’s a lot of trope talk about to happen this month.
enemies to lovers
You had to know this was coming. Enemies to lovers is my vibe, y’all. I mean, it’s everyone’s vibe, if we’re being honest, but holy moly, I love it. Realistically, this should probably be best friends to lovers since I definitely have a super soft spot for that, but there is just something that gets me going about enemies to lovers, especially when it’s in an already trope-heavy or otherwise ridiculous book. The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller is the first one that comes to mind, which I’ve been thinking about quite a bit lately, so maybe I need to reread it. It’s such a fantastic book because it’s just so over the top, and I appreciate it so much. It takes enemies to lovers and it’s just like HAHAHAHAHA here we go. The sheer level of gonna kill you vibes that bounces between the two main characters is fantastic, particularly when that slowly begins to transform into wait maybe I like you, but still with a dash of that gonna kill you, so it’s just a cluster of awesomeness.
And though I do love the enemies to lovers trope when it’s actually done seriously, I’m not gonna lie and say that things like Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco aren’t exactly what I’m looking for when it comes to this trope. Do I frequently scream about the energy between Victor & Eli in Vicious by VE Schwab? Yes, of course, but give me Lou & Reed absolutely chomping at the bit at each other before hopelessly falling in love every damn day.
Lol @ me wanting to just put every single Anna-Marie McLemore book on this and really having to work to only put one. Their books are the epitome of purple prose that I love, and I could easily list all of them because I think I’ve five-starred every single one, and I will continue to love McLemore’s books until the end of time.
There’s just something about purple prose that gets me, though. The Mirror Season is just a heart-wrenching book overflowing with gorgeous language, and while the plot was one of the biggest things that struck a chord in me, the language was what I kept coming back to. And though Amber & Dusk by Lyra Selene is a massive departure from the heavy elements of many of McLemore’s books, it’s the language that gets me in that, too. I love obnoxiously drawn out and elegant language. I love metaphors upon metaphors. I love when things are vague and flowery, but also when they’re highly specific to the point of disbelief. I love language so much, and I love it even more when it’s being used to its fullest potential.
GIVE ME ALL THE SAD BOYS! This is particularly relevant as I’m currently reading Into the Dying Light by Katy Rose Pool while I’m drafting this in the middle of October, and holy moly is Jude a sad boy. He literally spends the first 150 pages just angrily self-destructing, and it’s delightful. I promise you that every single one of my men MCs is also going to be a sad boy because duh. I want Jude Weatherborne just sprinkled throughout all of my books. Oh, and whatshisface from that Destiny Soria book! Her debut!! Why can’t I remember the title or his name! SAINT! I’m so mad at myself that I forgot that name, I’m a fake fan. Iron Cast has so many good examples of sad boys, and it’s just amazing. She really didn’t have to give us a character named Saint that was also a sad boy and did the usual edgy haircut and well dressed aesthetic, but she did, and it’s such a gift.
And who doesn’t love a sad boy? Everyone wants one. Don’t lie, we all read fanfiction because we want angst, and when that transfers into published fiction, it’s even better, especially when that’s thrown into fantasy that’s going to require some high stress situations.
This is less of a trope, I think, and more of just something I love to see. Having an ensemble is usually par for the course when it comes to high fantasy, but I definitely find myself more excited about a book if there are a lot of characters. And I know it’s just personal preference, but if most of those characters also have a POV, I’m even more hyped. Thus, this kind of feels like it’s become something of a trope because I get so excited when I see that there’s going to be several people chaotically running around. My absolute favorite, too, is when the summary or the cover will have a “a runaway prince, a forgotten bastard, and a stubborn thief” tagline, and I’m just like YES MAKE IT A FOUND FAMILY. GIVE ME AN ENSEMBLE!
I don’t want to be king
At every point in my life, I’m ready for a young man who doesn’t want to be a king. Whether that’s King Arthur in Legend of the Sword or Aragorn in Fellowship of the Ring, I am ready for a thanks but no thanks vibe. This is 100% because there’s always a lot of angst and drama tied into someone who doesn’t want to rule, particularly because there’s the age old adage that those who don’t want to rule are more suitable to rule because they’re probably going to do a better job because they’re not in it for the power. One of the reasons that people fell so hard over Jon Snow is because he always shied away from power. He never wanted to be in a position where he lorded over other people because he’d been lorded over his whole life, and he knew how terrible it was to feel small and unheard. And though I have a lot of issues with GRRM, he knew what he was doing with Jon Snow.
I recognize that many of my tropes are fantasy-based, but it’s the genre that I read the most, and I’m always going to love a trope if it works even better with magic. I will always scream over Luca reluctantly taking the throne in The Queen Will Betray You by Sarah Henning about as loudly as I’ll scream about him ruling (hopefully someday soon) as king. THAT ENDING? When they come together as king & queen of their respective countries and try to forge toward a better future only to be totally dismissed?? I AM READY FOR THE RETRIBUTION!
(Also, one person who does want to be queen and another who doesn’t want to be king? Holyyyyyyyy)