My Top 10 Book Tropes

11/10/2019 Discussions, Lists, Reading 4

As I spoke about a while ago, the word ‘trope’ gets a bad rap. In a lot of people’s eyes it’s another word for a cliche, but I personally don’t think that’s fair.

For me, only overused tropes are cliched or bad…There’s nothing wrong with a trope in itself. In fact, I think we all have things that we love to see in books, and if it’s something that’s commonly seen, then that’s a trope.

So here are 10 tropes I personally love:

Anti heroes.

My love of anti heroes is well documented (I’ve written enough posts about them anyway!), and for me, it’s just part of loving modern fantasy. Morally grey characters are a staple of books by the likes of George R.R. Martin and Joe Abercrombie, and it’s one of my favourite things about Grimdark fantasy. What can I say? I just love complicated characters!

Examples of anti-heroes: Locke Lamora from The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, half the characters from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, Logen from the First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie.

Found families.

The saying ‘friends are the family you choose’ is true in the case of this trope, and it’s one that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside! I love stories where characters (epecially lonely misfit characters!) find people they come to regard as family, they’re so close. This is honestly one of my favourite tropes!

Examples of found families: Harry Potter and the Weasleys from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, Kaz’s crew from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, the Straw Hat pirates from One Piece by Eiichiro Oda, the Gentleman Bastards from The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, Saga from Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames.

Friends to Lovers.

Romantic relationships blossoming is always nice, but between people who already have chemistry and a history? Even better! I especially like the slow burning tendency of these types of relationships as they slowly figure out that they’re meant for each other!

Examples of friends to lovers: (I’ll say the book not the couples here to avoid spoilers!) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, the Darker Shade of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling.

Enemies to Lovers.

I may love the friends to lovers trope, but I’m also a big fan of the enemies to lovers thing too! I just like seeing the turnaround from hate to love in these relationships, and they often end up being the most passionate!

Examples of enemies to lovers: (Again, I’ll say the book not the couples here to avoid spoilers!) The A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Mass, Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo, The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh.

Robots with feelings.

I really like any kind of ‘robots becoming sentient’ storyline, but I prefer the version where they come to care about people, rather than when they decide to take over the world!

Examples of robots with feelings: Abel from the Constellations series by Claudia Grey, Lovelace from the Wayfarer series by Becky Chambers.

Awkward Geniuses.

I love, love, love incredibly clever characters who are severely lacking on the social front! I just love that mixture of being both highly competent and also completely useless, and they’re generally a cute and quirky bunch!

Examples of awkward geniuses: David from the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, L from Deathnote by Tsugumi Ohba, Lisbeth Salander from the Millenium books by Stieg Larson (not that you could accuse her of being cute…more badass!), Sam from A Song of Ice and Fire, Sherlock (both in the Arthur Conan Doyle stories and the TV show!).

Dysfunctional/quirky families.

When I say I like ‘dysfunctional families in books’, I’m not talking about the likes of the Lannisters! I mean the quirkier kind…The ones who love each other, but are kind of wacky and unusual. I feel like this is a trope I don’t see enough though, as I could only think of two examples off the top of my head!

Examples of dysfunctional/quirky families: the Weasleys from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, the Bennetts from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Ragtag bunch of misfits.

This is kind of similar to found families, but I just love a load of characters who don’t really fit in anywhere else banding together. Whether they choose to team up, or are forced together, I just love the misfit dynamic, and how they usually grow to trust each other and care for one another.

Examples of ragtag bunches of misfits: Tyler’s squad from Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman, Nona and friends from the Book of the Ancestor series by Mark Lawrence, the Night’s Watch from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin.

Gruff mentor characters.

I like mentor characters in general, but my favourite kind is the gruff or unfriendly kind, who’s super tough on them, but gradually comes to care for their mentee (even if they’d never admit it!).

Examples of gruff mentors: the Hound and Arya from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, Haymitch and Katniss from the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Piccolo and Gohan from Dragon Ball Z by Akira Toriyama.

New in town.

I also love stories about people going into a new town or even just a new place and having to fit in and make friends. It’s just really heart-warming to see!

Examples of new in town: Along for the Ride and The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

So what tropes to you love? Have you got any other examples of the ones on my list (because if I haven’t read it, I’ll probably want to!)?

4 Responses to “My Top 10 Book Tropes”

  1. Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books

    Ahh I love these tropes, great picks! I’m especially a fan of the found families, always warm my heart and my favorite of the lot has to be the friends to lovers one. I love when there’s history and chemistry between the characters like that 🙂

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