Hello bookworms!! Welcome to Top 5 Tuesday!! This week’s topic is top 5 bad tropes done well. Which means, we are in November, and we’re ALLLL about the tropes!! And after last week’s ‘tropes I dislike‘, it’s time to put my money where my mouth is (but not literally, because gross — there are so many germs on money) and come up with 5 books that do the tropes I dislike… well. Which might be harder than I thought?!
Also, I had such a great time reading all of your tropes you dislike, that it reminded me of more that didn’t make my list. And so I think I promised half of you that we would come back for another round of this or something similar later — maybe early next year?
top 5 bad tropes done well
Hmm… A book where I did not hate the love triangle… If I’m finding this hard, then I’m not looking forward to the others. Actually, I do have a pick, but it’s probably because I’m not entirely sure if it IS a love triangle. It’s kind of hinted at, or I could be reading into it more than I’m supposed to be…
Lakesedge — Lyndall Clipstone
There are monsters in the world.
When Violeta Graceling arrives at haunted Lakesedge estate, she expects to find a monster. She knows the terrifying rumors about Rowan Sylvanan, who drowned his entire family when he was a boy. But neither the estate nor the monster are what they seem.
There are monsters in the woods.
As Leta falls for Rowan, she discovers he is bound to the Lord Under, the sinister death god lurking in the black waters of the lake. A creature to whom Leta is inexplicably drawn…
There’s a monster in the shadows, and now it knows my name.
Now, to save Rowan — and herself — Leta must confront the darkness in her past, including unraveling the mystery of her connection to the Lord Under.
Mary Sue characters…
OK, so I’m going into bat for a character that a lot of people think is a Mary Sue. And I’m kind of cheating here, because I don’t think Celaena is a Mary Sue at all. And if you know the story well (which I don’t particularly want to go into, because I’m not about spoilers) then I think you have to admit she was trained from a very young age to be handy with a blade. She has a lot of determination to learn new things. And even when you get to book 3 she’s not great at new skills (in fact has disastrous results at times) — and she trains ridiculously hard to get better.
Throne of Glass — Sarah J Maas
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men — thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.
Weirdly, this one was easy… But there’s only one character who came to mind. So I’m going with “Kerri Maniscalco nailed it” rather than “Meeghan doesn’t actually hate this trope”. Because I do. I could list 15 characters who I would rather see killed off than return in the sequel.
Kingdom of the Wicked — Kerri Maniscalco
Two sisters. One brutal murder. A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself… And an intoxicating romance.
Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe — witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin… desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.
Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked — princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…
Amnesia / memory lapses…
Annoyingly, this one was also easy, but more because I knew what the opposite would be when I wrote last week’s post. Because this book is ALWAYS going to be my exception to the rule. In fact, the reason I love the way this book deals with it, is because it’s not used as a plot device. It’s the premise of the story, which actually makes it amazing.
The Rook — Daniel O’Malley
“The body you are wearing used to be mine.”
So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.
She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.
In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined.
OMG. I hate this so much. To the point where I had completely written off in my head that this could even be a thing in this series… And to be honest, I don’t really think it is, but Sam @ Fictionally Sam added it to her list when we spoke about it. So here we are. I, personally, don’t believe Cardan or Jude have a knife kink. *cough* I think Cardan has a Jude kink, which is very different. But I do love this trilogy.
The Cruel Prince — Holly Black
Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.
And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.
Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him — and face the consequences.
As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
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What are your top 5 bad tropes done well?