Tropes I don’t mind (and some I even like)

orangutan list

Okay, I’ll admit that title is a little misleading- cos most of these I really, really love. I just know some of these are not well liked- so please, don’t throw banana peels at me! (that’s my job πŸ˜‰ )

daughter of smoke and bone#1 Forbidden Love– starting off with something nice and safe, I love the Romeo-and-Juliet style forbidden romances, especially where everything is at stake because of two characters falling in love… Alright, so not totally safe πŸ˜‰ This one ties me up in knots, unravels me and makes me super invested in the story. I don’t care how much of a clichΓ© it is- it gets me (nearly) every time!

to all the boys#2 Fake Dating– this is one of those romance themes that is becoming instabuy for me. Ever since I readΒ To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before I have been head over heels for this trope. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen it, I will always go back for more!

 

 

secret countess#3 Misunderstandings– okay getting to the first controversial one. Lots of people hate this one- and believe me, I get why- the thing is… I don’t hate it. I think it’s a staple of romance for a reason, partly cos (unfortunately) it’s realistic, but mostly cos it creates tension and reasons for people not to be together, without resorting to making the love interests terrible people (aka indecisiveness, cheating, and basically most of the ingredients for a typical love triangle). Also, it nearly always gets used in one of my favourite ever tropes…

carry on#4 Enemies to lovers– I’ll admit, I’m complete trash for this one. Think Simon and Baz from Carry On– there’s a reason I keep going on about that book! This one also ties into…

 

 

court of mists and fury#5 Secretly a sweetheart– nothing melts my heart more than seeing the soft side of a supposedly hardened character. And I know it’s not always popular, but I cannot get enough of the misunderstood bad boy (important caveatΒ that they can’t actually be an irredeemable bad guy for this to work).

 

darth vader#6 Redemption Arcs– this one can be unpopular, cos some people think it’s overdone… annnd I don’t care. Darth Vader, Snape, any other controversial redemption arc- I am *there* for it. For me, it’s a basic idea that if someone goes into the dark side, there has to be a way they can find their way back and if it’s done well nothing hits me in the gut more. More than that, I enjoy pontificating aboutΒ how far a character can be redeemed (one great copout I totally approve of is for the baddie to redeem themselves and promptly die- yes, I’m sneaking in another trope that I am totally a sucker for πŸ˜‰ )

the young elites#7 Descent into *DARKNESS*– kinda can’t include the redemption arc without talking about how much I love the opposite. Though this is done far less, I am so excited to read when a hero becomes a villain. Perhaps it’s because it’s like a form of *evil wish fulfilment*; maybe it’s because it’s such a fascinating way into the human mind. Either way, give me all the anti-hero story arcs please!Β 

game of thrones book#8 Moral ambiguity– well, if I like the last two, it stands to reason this would be on the list. Basically, I like the good, the bad and everything in between. Give me all the characters I don’t know whether to root for or simply hate (thanks GRRM)

 

 

Harry_Potter_and_the_Philosopher's_Stone_Book_Cover#9 Dark backstories- including dead parents– yes, you read that right. I’m one of those *MONSTERS* that actually appreciates when the parents are killed off before the story begins or something nasty happens in the protagonist’s past… Really though, this can’t come as so much of a surprise given how often I’ve talked about the need for darkness in books and why bad parents in books can be totally necessary. I won’t go into too much detail, as I’ve spoken at length about this before, but I personally find it can be essential to a lot of storytelling and can be an exercise in empathy for the reader.

geekerella#10 Rags to Riches/Cinderella stories– here’s another one that I cannot stop reading! Every time I see a Cinderella retelling, I pick it up. And whenever a character goes from incredibly sucky circumstances to being raised far above their station- I eat that stuff right up! I’m a glutton for this kind of narrative!

 

red sister#11 Ridiculously overpowered characters or magic systems– this one’s a weird one for me to include, cos it skirts super close to the Chosen One line- and I’ve made it pretty clear I’m not a fan of that. That said, when there’s magic in a story, I want a bit of a show. I find it so entertaining when there is endless possibility when it comes to a magic system. I love when fantasy breaks all the laws of reality. And for this to happen, it means a lot of the characters have to be able to do the impossible. I especially love it if the protagonist in the world has multiple abilities that make them stand out from the crowd- like Fitz in the Farseer Trilogy and Nona in Red Sister. It’s notΒ just that talented characters are interesting to me, I get hyped to see what they’ll do with all that power!

So let me have it- what do you think of all of these tropes? Do you love them or hate them? And which tropes (unpopular or not) do you secretly love? Don’t be shy!

 

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106 thoughts on “Tropes I don’t mind (and some I even like)

  1. Nicole says:

    I love redemption arcs, too. They’re super important — I’m a big fan of finding hope in even dark situations and so the redemption of bad guys is huge for me. (I’ll admit, though, I like it better when it’s not just “the love of the right person will make you good”. Smething like Vader or Snape that’s got more depth to it is better.)

    I’m not usually a fan of the enemies to lovers trope, though, unless it’s more of a misunderstanding and less true enmity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      I totally agree with you there!! And yeah I get what you mean- it often feels purer when it’s not for love- I definitely agree that it should have more depth (and particularly love Vader as an example).

      Fair enough! I do generally see those as being in somewhat different categories, although I’m happy when there’s overlap, but get why others wouldn’t like it as much.

      Like

  2. Ola G says:

    I am a sucker for tropes 5-8. I like my books dark, but never so dark there’s no saving grace! πŸ™‚
    On a different note, never considered Fitz an overpowered character – maybe because he pays such a terrible price for his power that it really seems not worth it in the end πŸ˜‰ I always read it along the lines of one of my favorite tropes – “with great power comes great responsibility” πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      So glad you agree on those!
      Well I see what you mean- and definitely think that the “with great power comes great responsibility” aspect πŸ˜‰ I just also think that’s it’s cool when the main character can do magic in more than one discipline like Fitz- it makes them feel special (without some corny reason for it)- although I’m also a fan of when the extra power comes with strings attached as well πŸ˜‰ Hope that makes sense!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ola G says:

        Yes definitely πŸ™‚
        Actually, overpowered protagonists were one of the reason I stopped reading several series – Kate Daniels comes to mind, and Rothfuss’ Kvothe, not to mention Sanderson novels πŸ˜‰ It’s too close to Mary Sueism to be comfortable for me! πŸ™‚ But having or acquiring an edge and branching out like Fitz – that’s a different story altogether, and one I appreciate πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Janereads says:

    Ooh I love all these tropes you have listed. Maybe I’m easily pleased. I think if someone is a great writer and creates characters who I care about and an interesting plot, I don’t really mind the trope. My favourite is definitely “secretly a sweetheart”. I love it when the bad boy is secretly a total marshmallow trying to hide his true feelings. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Margaret @ Weird Zeal says:

    Fake dating is SUCH a good trope! 😍 I also love a good redemption arc AND a descent into darkness, though only if they’re done really well! I can be picky about that…
    And I’ll be honest, I don’t mind the Chosen One trope that much, since it often includes the ridiculously overpowered character, which I LOVE! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      I know right!! I’m glad you agree there. Fair enough!
      hehe fair enough- I can understand why people like that, cos I basically like something very similar- I think it’s just because it’s been done so many times that if someone comes in and says “oh the reason you’re so powerful is cos you’re the chosen one” it always bugs me (though I’m a fan whenever it’s turned on its head, at least a little πŸ˜‰ )

      Like

  5. littlebookynook says:

    I absolutely LOVE the forbidden love trope, and enemies to lovers. There is always just so much angst and desperation, it gives me so many feelings. I don’t like misunderstandings, but that is because it just makes me super anxious. And hell yes to redemption arcs!!! Darth Vadar is one of my favourite redemption arcs, because we always knew there was good in him….*sobs*. Great post!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. lucindablogs says:

    Apart from enemies to lovers and fake dating I am here for all of these! I also love the nerd to hot person trope (as long as it’s done well) but my personal fave is complicated villains with redemptive arcs – I can’t stand a pure evil-for-the-sake-of-it character!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    I’ll admit I’m trash for the enemies to lovers trope as well (and I love Simon and Baz from Carry On, how excited are you for Wayward Son too?!) Also fake dating is a favourite one of mine; you know how it’s going to end (it’s kind of obvious when you’re reading a romance or YA contemporary book) but it doesn’t stop it being a guilty pleasure of mine! πŸ˜€
    Great post. πŸ™‚ ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Gemma says:

    I agree with many of these and I usually hate the overpowered characters but for some reason it works with Nona Gray πŸ™‚ I think it’s because every time someone seriously pisses her off or tells her she can’t do something Nona just like levels up! I can’t wait for Holy Sister.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sarah says:

    It’s almost scary how much I agree with you! πŸ˜‚ Totally am a sucker for the redemption arc and Cinderella stories. Haven’t read anything about fake dates yet so will have a look into that but think it sounds awesome! πŸ˜„πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Nicola @ Thoughts on Fantasy says:

    Such a great post! I’m a secret (and often not-so-secret) fan of so many of these too!! I LOVE enemies to lovers, forbidden love, secretly a sweetheart and redemption arcs. And I actually really get what you’re saying with the last one – even though I’m also not a fan of the chosen one trope I do sometimes just love it when one character is really ridiculously powerful and pulls out all the stops to magically take down some enemies. I know it’s a convenient way for them to succeed, I still often find it thrilling (if it’s done well of course).

    I think the only one on your list I’d personally put in my “hate” category is misunderstandings. They just frustrate me too much! I know it’s realistic that people don’t always say what they’re thinking… but when all the problems could be solved just by characters properly communicating with each other it still irks me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Thank you! I’m so glad you agree there! And I’m so glad you get what I mean- it’s one of those ones that can be great as long as its done well. It can definitely add to the thrill and I especially like it if it raises the stakes in some way.

      I think that’s really fair- a lot of people hate that one and with good reason… I just kinda see why it happens and I just see it as part of the whole tragically-can’t-be-together kind of trope (although like you said, it’s usually easily resolved and unnecessary, so I don’t totally get why I’m okay with it πŸ˜‰ )

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Rose says:

    I think I love most tropes except insta-love and love triangles because I feel like those are the most frustrating to read about. Fake dating and morally grey characters are by far my favourites though – there’s so many different directions the plot can go with those tropes!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The Cozy Pages says:

    Enemies to lovers, fake date, great magic, even chosen one. I like them. Hadn’t really thought about the descent into darkness one but… yeah…. that makes for some colourful reading! I dont mind the misunderstanding one but I don’t like the β€˜missing the opportunity’ over and over again to admit a secret.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Madam Mim says:

    I… Have strictly mixed feelings about this list haha I do love a redemption ARC, ridiculously overpowered magic systems and dark backstories… But forbidden love always winds me up, I’m just there like “it’s not supposed to be this hard!! Give yourself six months, go get drunk, you’ll get over it!!” Yeehhh, can’t do it!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. snowlyramble says:

    I agree with you on these tropes for sure! I love a good hard guy with a soft centre haha, as well as the enemies to lovers trope (when done well). I think darkness is always an exciting feature to add too πŸ™‚

    Other than that I love a good heist (especially with a cocky but unlucky character), as well as some good angsty storylines.

    Lovely post as always!!

    Liked by 1 person

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