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Top 5 horror/thriller tropes that don’t scare you

Hello bookworms!! Welcome to Top 5 Tuesday!! This week’s topic is top 5 horror/thriller tropes that don’t scare you. Which means, we are in the spooky month of October!!

I actually don’t read a lot of thriller books (and no horror books), so… not exactly sure what I was thinking when I wrote these prompts. It’s entirely possible that I wasn’t thinking at all. But here we are anyway!! So, with that in mind, most of my responses will be fantasy based. Because if there is one thing I DO love, it’s a dark fantasy thriller.

If you missed the October-December topics please see this link. Top 5 Tuesday was created by Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm, and is now being hosted here @ Meeghan reads.

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top 5 horror/thriller tropes that don’t scare you

Monsters

Grim Lovelies by Megan ShepherdYeah… monsters don’t really scare me. But when I say monsters, I mean the fictional kind. You know, vampires, werewolves, zombies, giant things made of clay with teeth that will rip you apart. In fact, I’d say it’s possibly the opposite. Sometimes I fall a little bit in love with the monsters. I’m sorry, I was trained by the Sarah J. Maas’ of the world to see the monster as a love interest. And now I can’t stop.

Favourite monsters include Cardan, Rhysand, Nikolai, Morozko, Victor, Jaxon… but one of my all-time favourites is Prince Rennar from Megan Shepherd’s Grim Lovelies. I don’t know what it is about Rennar, but I would totally just hand him my trust, wholly unearned. Yes, I will live with you in your creepy, evil palace.

Blood magic

Lakesedge by Lyndall ClipstoneI do know that lots of people find this squeamish. But honestly, I cut my fantasy teeth reading this when I was a teenager. And with the amount of needles and blood and whatnot I’ve dealt with since childhood, blood could be water for all I care. So this one is probably less scary, as opposed to icky for some. Also, one of the things that usually goes hand in hand with blood magic, is self-harm. Even if it’s not purely intended for self-harming reasons.

A recent story that has blood magic that I’ve fallen in love with is Lakesedge by Lyndall Clipstone. Lakesedge is a gothic-inspired fantasy take on the Hades and Persephone mythology, and it is SO GOOD. Highly recommend. And there’s really only a little bit of blood… 👀

Necromancy

The Old Kingdom #1: Sabriel by Garth NixJust like with blood magic, I’ve been reading necromancy stories for a looooong time. I was maybe 16 or 17 when I really remember reading one. Although these are less about zombies than actually reawakening the dead, with the original occupant’s soul still inside. And then controlling them. Which, now that I’m thinking about it, possibly more creepy than I let myself believe before.

My first love of necromancy is still probably my strongest. It helps that the characters are so delightfully unsure of how to do anything that it could end in disaster at any turn. And that book, of course, is Sabriel by Garth Nix. This is the first book in the Old Kingdom series (yes, we’re so far beyond a trilogy with a prologue and then an extra story now that it is AMAZING. If you haven’t read Sabriel, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s still my favourite of Nix’s books, even after all this time.

Vengeful spirits

The Wicked Deep by Shea ErnshawI guess this is probably more common in movies,  but I just don’t really find this spooky in books. (Have I been jump scared by them while watching the latest Nancy Drew tv series? You bet.) But, ghosts aren’t super creepy to me in books. Maybe it’s that they can’t get you from a jump-scare perspective because there’s no music? But whatever it is, I can read all the ghost stories by book with not a care in the world.

I think one of my favourite actual vengeful spirits story is The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw. If you don’t know the book, it’s amazing. It’s about three dead sisters who were killed for witchcraft 100 years ago, and every year, they come back and take over the bodies of three girls for a month. And local boys start drowning. The ending is a bit sweet for me, but the the story itself was atmospheric and dark.

Demon possession

Mortal Instruments #1 City of Bones by Cassandra ClareI will preface this by saying that I have never seen the Exorcism in full, but all the cuts I’ve seen of it are not remotely scary. Maybe this should be a subcategory of monsters, but I’m putting it out here by itself anyway because I am running out of tropes (and had to google classic horror tropes just to get these). Maybe I’ve just never seen it done well?

In saying that, the only time I can think of (in recent years) that I have read about demon possession is my reread of The Mortal Instruments. Which, despite being tropey and somewhat problematic for other reasons, is FILLED with a lot of these. Monsters, check. Blood magic, check. Necromancy, maybe not in TMI, but I’m pretty sure it’s in TID? Vengeful spirits, uhhhh, ok maybe not that one. But demon possession? Hello Master Herondale, nice to see you again.

Postscript

If you’re wondering why I don’t read horror books after this long list of things that don’t scare me, that’s totally fair. And the main reason is this: I don’t like psychological horrors. At all.

Also, as soon as you bring clowns, sharks, creepy dolls, giant spiders or creepy children into things, I am out that door. Just no.

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What are 5 horror/thriller tropes that don’t scare you?

until next time, happy reading! Meeghan xo

19 Comments

  • Kristina

    I haven’t found any horror books that I found enjoying either.. though i’ve seen lots of recommendations, I haven’t looked at them 😬 scared to have more lemons tbh ahah

    Same! Though I haven’t seen much in my thrillers, and I don’t do fantasy, even movie/tv show wise I do prefer the vengeful spirits & demons too! I watched so many real lofe ghost adventures before sleep that they don’t bother me at all 😂 Though I do prefer them more real than fictional, I love them!

  • journeyintobooks

    Great post, I feel the exact same way about fictional monsters fantasy books took all the scare factor away from them and I would be more likely to run into their arms than away from them 😂😂

  • Louise @ Monstrumology

    None of these scare me either! I used to be scared of everything when I first started exploring horror but now I’m more scared of things that are likely to happen to me in real life. When I watched the first Hellraiser movie I was fine when characters were being ripped apart by demon chains but I almost passed out when a guy caught the back of his hand on a loose nail 😂

  • dbsguidetothegalaxy

    I bypassed this prompt entirely by ranting about horror movie tropes 😂😂 Yes, I love zombies!
    There’s ghosts in the New Nancy Drews series?
    I was trying to think what type of trope is ‘postscript’ 😆 oh I love shark movies😆.I’ll watch them all!

  • Sofii @ A Book. A Thought.

    OMG, I love your list, I literally feel the same way. 👏🏻 👏🏻 I feel like to scare me there has to be a lot of dark atmosphere created or a creepy setting or something like that because the monsters like you say, definitely don’t manage to scare me. But I would continue to read about them, just for fun. 😅

    • meeghan

      Same!! I kind of … love the monsters?!! Am I supposed to?? Has fantasy ruined my fight or flight instincts and now added a swoon in there?! Yes. It’s now fight, flight or swoon. 😂😂

  • Mary

    Honestly, The Exorcist is one of the least scary films I’ve ever seen. It’s pretty over the top and ridiculous, which is probably just because it’s a product of its time, but if you’re looking for a good exorcism movie that’ll scare you, there are tons out there. One of my personal faves is The Possession, and not just because it has Jeffrey Dean Morgan!

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