Posted in Fun Lists

Tropes I like in Books

“Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world.”

First line in Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Today I wanted to talk about a quite popular topic I guess: book tropes. Tropes are certain elements or themes that appear in a wide range of books and many tropes are even adherent to specific genres.

Tropes aren’t necessarily bad but some can feel overused and unoriginal. That is not always the case so I wanted to discuss some of the tropes I really like to see in books. They are the things that grab my attention when reading the synopsis of a book and ultimately makes me want to read it. For each trope I mention, I’ll also give you some book recommendations in case you’re also a fan of that specific trope.

The Chosen One

Definition: A character embodies the Chosen One trope by being the only one who can solve a problem e.g. slay the dragon, save the world from total destruction, overturn the corrupt government. They can be tasked with this through a prophecy or because they possess some ability or skill set that no one else does.

Why I like it: This is a very unpopular trope at the moment, but I still really enjoy reading about a chosen one. I like reading about how the character handles the pressure of whatever task he/she needs to complete. It gets very psychological because the character questions themselves about who they really are and what their morality is like.

A LOT of books contain the chosen one trope but here are a few I really enjoyed:

A Strong Friendship

Definition: A friendship between two or more characters that makes you wish you were friends with them too. It’s deep, wholesome and central to the plot.

Why I like it: I will always prefer a strong friendship to a romantic relationship in my books. Characters sanity and logical sense often goes out the window when they are in a relationship. I don’t want that. I want characters who care for and understand each other but still insult the other on a daily basis. They need to keep each other grounded after all.

Here are some examples of beautiful friendships:

Royalty Out of Their Element

Definition: I’m going with a very broad definition here. A member of a royal family that is somehow thrust out of their comfort zone. Examples are leaving their home to go on a quest, being kidnapped, suddenly being forced to make life or death decisions for their kingdom.

Why I like it: This is really just a fancy way of saying that I like royalty in general in my books. I like how a royal person can start of by being a bit entitled and naïve about the world and then learn through their mistakes. With a bit of development these royals often display strong leadership skills and maybe some intelligence.

Additionally, I really prefer my books to be quite political and a royal main character is just the best way to achieve just that.

Here are some books with awesome royals:

Medieval European Setting in Fantasy

Definition: The story takes place in a setting reminiscent of Europe in the Middle Ages in terms of political structure, architecture, way of life etc. This does not mean that everything is exactly the same but that the author has used it for inspiration and can change whatever they like.

Why I like it: I’m European and have spent a lot of time studying Europe. A fantasy story set in Europe is familiar and easy for me to get into. The Middle Ages is also just a time of great turmoil which can be a foundation for many conflicts.

Books set in a medieval-Europe-inspired world (there’s a lot but here are 6):

Hate-to-love romance

Definition: Two characters despise/want to kill each other for justifiable reasons but then realize that their strong feelings are actually love. The characters are often forced to spend time together in a situation that makes them see the other character in a different light e.g. a dangerous mission, homework assignment or they are trapped together.

Why I like it: When I read about a romance, I need it to be passionate and fiery. In my experience that most often occur when love blossoms from hate.

Here are some books where characters hate each other before they make out (naturally, slight spoiler):

Tyrannical Government

Definition: A tyranny or a corrupt government that functions as the main obstacle for the main character. It’s often embodied by a single person (e.g. president, ruler, king) that needs to be removed for our heroes to win.

Why I like it: As mentioned earlier, I find it fascinating when books revolve around politics. Even though it often appears in fantasy books, these political themes are what connects the books to our real world. It gives me something to think about. I also just like seeing how these villains abuse their power to their own gain. It’s a different kind of power in fantasy book where the villain often has some kinds of great magical abilities.

Here are some books with governments that are seriously bad:

That was a long one. Do you like some of the same tropes as me? Or did I mention tropes that you absolutely despise? Let’s chat in the comments.

Happy reading!

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