Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Tropes

Did I mention that I like Dark themes and angst? Well if I haven’t proven that yet, we’re going there today! Also note, this post will contain spoilers for some of the books mentioned (particularly The Song of Achilles).

How We Got Here

Half Bad

by Sally Green

This trope is one of my favorites. You start at the end of the story and give a weird, tantalizing setup. Then the rest of the book is explaining how you got to that point. It’s popular in movies (Deadpool) and television (the first episode of Breaking Bad), but I also love when it’s used in books. It’s basically a way of working in extensive backstory and flashbacks, another favorite trope of mine

Half Bad starts with teenaged Nathan in a really brutal situation: kept outside in cage, manacled, and forced to train in combat. When he tries to escape, the manacle on his wrist releases acid that melts his skin to the bone. He’s doing his best to cope with the abuse, using his “trick” of not caring about anything. And then suddenly the first section is over and we get to see exactly what led to this messed up situation in the first place.

Undying Loyalty

Dragon’s Winter

by Elizabeth A. Lynn

I love books where the primary ship is solidified before we even meet them, or at least where the couple gets together early. I love seeing the love and the bond between characters tested by hardship, especially when they are deeply devoted to one another.

One of my favorite examples of this trope is Dragon’s Winter, because we start out with Azil and Karadur already as friends and lovers, but then we get to move forward in time to after Azil has unwittingly betrayed Karadur, been kidnapped, tortured, and finally returned. To see their love survive that kind of test is so beautiful! 

Despair Event Horizon

The Song of Achilles

by Madeline Miller

This is a very specific and weird trope that I love, but it’s basically when a character has a complete and total breakdown after having something really horrible happen to them. Specifically I love it when they just lose their shit when their partner or lover dies. I love happy endings, but if I’m in the mood for tragedy I want balls-to-the-walls, no-coming-back-from-this-shit kind of tragedy.

Which is exactly why I love The Song of Achilles so much. After Patroclus is killed, Achilles loses his fucking mind. It’s not healthy to give up on life after a partner dies, but this is fiction and, for me, this is the just so damn romantic.

Break the Cutie

The Hunger Games

by Suzanne Collins

Break the cutie is a great trope, because it takes a character who is defined by their positive aspects and allows the stark contrast between their optimism and the gritty reality of the world to come into conflict. 

Hunger Games is a great example of Breaking the Cutie, especially when it comes to the character of Peeta. There’s a lot to complain about with The Hunger Games, but one thing I think it did really well was being super mean to Peeta. If you like books that heap suffering on your favorite characters, The Hunger Games is where it’s at.

Food Porn

Redwall

by Brian Jacques

I don’t love the term “food porn”, but I do very much enjoy what it entails. What’s not to enjoy about authors lovingly describing plate after plate of savory, juicy, ripe, tender, roasted, sizzling, candied, overflowing… everything. Food porn is just fun and it’s a great way to do world-building. 

I love food porn in general, but as a vegan the feasts at Redwall Abbey have stood the test of time for me as a food porn favorite. Brian Jacques makes vegetables sound so damn delicious. I loved this series as a child and to this day I remember learning how to bake scones to pass out in elementary school while I presented my book report on Redwall.

2 thoughts on “Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Tropes

  1. These are some interesting tropes! Agreed on the food porn one haha. Some authors have a gift for describing food, but as a vegetarian I can’t help but notice meals almost always include lots of meat, so having some nice vegetables meals sounds great!

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