Friday, July 22, 2011

How Love Triangles Ruin Books

Okay, here’s my rant. Haven’t we seen ENOUGH love triangles? Can’t authors think of some other plot device for our heroines? Do they all have to be caught between two guys forever, the same two guys in every book? Love triangles are becoming so tired and worn out they are a cliché in themselves.

It seems all teen romances these days are cursed with the classics love triangle. One unremarkable girl (and how do all these unremarkable girls always get not one but TWO hot, amazing guys to fall in love with them? By being passive, average, and unexceptional in all ways, of course) is caught between two guys. Ever notice how it’s never a girl fighting another girl for a guy? It’s always two guys and one girl. One of the guys is always nice, sweet, caring, nurturing, and a bit of a pushover (and hot as hell). The other guy is always mysterious, dark, dangerous, troubled, and usually a bit of an a-hole (oh, and of course also hot as hell).

Usually the mysterious guy treats the heroine like dirt, which of course makes her love him more. He is completely condescending, smug, and acts like he’s superior to everyone around him, especially the annoyingly passive and sweet other guy in the love triangle.

And here’s the real problem with love triangles. They are completely predictable. In EVERY SINGLE ONE, the heroine ends up with the mysterious guy. It sort of ruins the book for me. I mean, if I pick up a book, and by 30 pages in the love triangle is established, then I already know who she’ll end up with. So what’s the point of using a plot device that gives away the ending? It’s infuriating. You know what else is infuriating? That women are insulted time and again, shown to be shallow idiots who are so easily manipulated by the allure of the mysterious guy. Really? SOME women like nice guys. If they’d mix up the love triangles a little, it would still be interesting, but noooo… in EVERY SINGLE ONE the heroine picks the same guy.


  1. I see what you mean and I can think of more than a few titles that this has happened, but I tend to put these romances into the background of the story in my head so that they don't irritate me. I love when a story doesn't actually include a love interest at all :-)

  2. I don't even mind a love triangle if it can be pushed to the background. But usually they take over the story and nothing else happens, which is especially disappointing in books with a good premise that goes nowhere because of the romance.

  3. AMEN! I couldn't agree more; the love triangle is a serious turn-off for me as a reader. In fact, I'd say it's the number one reason books end up in my DNF file.

    To be fair, I can think of a few examples that I was okay with - Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series comes to mind - but that was because Rose's heart never really changed. It helped that the conflict in love interests wasn't the main plotline, too...

    I recently reviewed Seers, where the love triangle was (without warning) pretty much the whole story. It was painful.

  4. I like the triangle if done well, but you are right, we see it time and again and it's the same formula. I think readers who like that kind of story will not tire of it, however. Sort of like the Harlequin romances...they writers all use the exact same formula, and some people just like it! Let's see a hot chick dump both the guys and be independent!! :)