Hey y'all. Top Ten Tuesday's a meme hosted by Broke and Bookish's blog, and this will be my first post in this meme-dom.
1. Because bad people are bad, and boringly bad
I'm as bad as my aim.
I noticed it for the first time in some fantasy novels, when the explanation given for why the villain committed cruel acts essentially boiled down to "Because he's evil" (Eragon, chapter 42, paragraph 25).
I look for characters that aren't single-minded, but a lot of powerful villains in fantasy tend to obsess about conquest and domination.
2. Black-and-white view of the world
No space for ambiguity here.
You're either good or evil. Whenever I come across a YA novel that seems to polarize characters on either end, it becomes less about characters and more about values. Am I being implicitly fed a message of "Be this way, or your life will suck"? Allegories can be good reads, but they also run the risk of sounding preachy.
3. True love at first sight
I liked the 1990 remake of Romeo and Juliet with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes because the movie rationalized their quick attraction with each other with the influence of drugs. They died before they could have the chance to try to "live happily ever after," so sure, why the hell not. Attraction at first sight is fine, but mutual love at first sight comes across as lazy to me.
4. Unnecessary love triangles
Relationship stories that are centered around a love triangle are okay with me because I know what I'm getting the moment I crack open that book, but it's annoying when a love triangle is forced into a story that doesn't need it in order to create extra drama. Love triangles are everywhere in YA now...
5. Novels with a secret religious agenda
The people were screwed, but then God saved the day! I have come across some religious characters that I've liked, but I don't appreciate going through a secularly-marketed fantasy novel and then finding out that it was a 100,000-word religious tract. :( It's disappointing, especially if the story was a good read until I hit the religious punchline(s).
6. Filler scenes/dialogue/monologue
It happened in the beginning of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and it happened consistently throughout Fifty Shades of Grey. Plodding through several hundred pages of word fodder isn't my idea of fun. I want to experience the story with the characters, but filler scenes don't really do much to get things running. No wonder characters are rarely shown peeing or pooping in books.
7. Deus ex machina
Dose X Machina
Last-minute miracles that come out of air and usually make no sense.
8. Lack of character conflict
That's cute, but I wouldn't read 300 pages of cuddling.
I read a book like this and it was boring. Everyone was nice and understanding to each other, which was fantastic for them and pointless for me.
9. White is the default race
In a lot of books the default race is white, and some authors tend to perpetuate this assumption by describing non-European characters by their races. In City of Bones, Cassandra Clare describes most characters by their physical features but points out an Asian couple sitting in the club, which implies that everyone else was White, because otherwise she would have said something like, "Oh, check out that White couple sitting in the corner."
What I prefer is that either everyone is identified by their race (Europeans rarely are, unless race is the focal issue of the piece) or no one is, unless a character mentions a specific detail or so. I like it when characters are described by their actual physical features so that I don't just resort to mental stock images of racial stereotypes when trying to envision characters.
10. It's okay to be a controlling creep as long as you're hot
Would these look less creepy on a hot girl?
If Edward Cullen were a shriveled-up, pasty (oh wait), and smelly kid who perched on the edge of Bella's bed every night, teenagers wouldn't be swooning over him; they'd be recoiling in alarm and demanding a restraining order for poor Bella.
This also reminds me of Gerard Butler in Phantom of the Opera (2004) as the Phantom. His character is supposed to be hideous beneath the mask, but teenagers swooned and moaned about how they would have totally chosen the Phantom because the he was way hotter than Raoul. I wanted to pull my hair and yell, "No, that's just the actor! The Phantom is actually ugly!" Or maybe they're just into that sort of facial deformity/scarring.
Speaking of teenagers swooning over the Phantom based on looks, I just came across a bizarre transcript of a forum discussion on the topic... Click here to check it out.
Here's a line from that transcript:
the phantom was soooo sexy! i'd do him!
Thank you for reading!
What turns you off when reading a book?