You love her, she loves him, and he loves somebody else. You just can't win.
Originally posted Nov. 11, 2014.
I’m going to get down to business.
God. I hate love triangles. With a burning, fiery passion of a thousand suns. I can’t STAND them anymore. And if I read another book with a love triangle, and if that book is less than exceptional, well…
Now, don’t get me wrong. In my earlier reading years, I didn’t mind them as much. But to be honest, they’re grating on my nerves.
So I just got a book in the mail. It’s called A Thousand Pieces of You. By the title, I can tell there is going to be a love story involved between the named characters in the blurb: Marguerite and Paul. Simple enough.
But then I flip through it, and I see a name. Theo. Now, not only is Theo the name of my own protagonist for my story (shameless plug), but it’s a boy without the name Paul.
I thought “Maybe Theo’s a brother. A friend. Someone else.” But then I made the mistake of reading some of the goodreads reviews. Someone wrote this:
I find it so ironic that, when I read this, I’d been having a lot of conflicting thoughts about love triangles and transcendental love. Guess what? They get a special shoutout here because both these feature heavily in A Thousand Pieces of You. Let’s be honest here, two male characters were named. What else were we expecting? Of course there would be a love triangle. And it’s the type where we see Marguerite oscillating like a pendulum. Back and forth, I love you, oh but I love him more. Come to think of it, technically, it’s a love square but you’ll have to suffer through that one on your own. I did my share already.
My first thought was Oh, no. Not again.
So. Love triangles. Screw them. I hate that they’re just so EVERPRESENT in this society. Like that’s supposed to be what people want. “OH NO WHICH BOY DO I CHOOSE WAH” “Um the world’s going to shit—” “BUT I DON’T KNOW WHICH BOY LOVES ME MORE!” “Your base just got bombed.” “BUT WHICH BOYYYYYYY????”
And oh! Another part of this review!
Instant love, this isn’t, per se. All three characters grew up with one another so I suppose their relationship growth occurs naturally. But in its place we have transcendental love. Unaware of such a concept? Well then you are not missing out. The short definition is this: love where both characters feel blinded by their feelings, heightened by the moment and incidentally, reality is dulled and nothing else matters. When you think about chasing a “murderer” across dimensions on a clock, you’d think the situation was pertinent. The pace is pretty much stagnant in the first half; we don’t get anywhere. It takes a chunk of the beginning to establish the situation, location and past. And even then, “love” comes first. In fact, even as it picks up, love still transpires.
This was my problem with the Shatter Me trilogy (mostly Ignite Me) by Tahereh Mafi. I didn’t care about the love triangle and the transcenedental love. I wanted to know more about the world that Juliette lived in. I wanted to know more about the fucking conflict. Not about her at odds with which boy to choose. Oh, boo hoo. You’ve got two boys (at least) fawning over you. That’s NOT the most pressing thing in your life, sweetheart.
Hunger Games. Shatter Me. Twilight for Pete’s sake. = Books where I didn’t care about the love triangle. Or in which they made me mad.
Divergent/Insurgent/Allegiant (especially) = books where the love was alright, sometimes overshadowed the plot. It was cute at first, but quickly grew old.
Delirium by Lauren Oliver—the love was central to the books and the disease, so I can’t harsh on it that much. But the triangle though. and don’t get me started on the ending of Requiem
Matched by Ally Condie—I’ve only read the first book so far. And the ‘matching’ is central to the story. So you can get away with it. For now. As long as Xander stays understanding and awesome.
The PJATO/HOO series’ by Rick Riordan are okay examples. There’s a love triangle here and there, but nothing that overshadows the plot.
Good examples of how to do love right:
The Legend trilogy by Marie Lu. The Under The Never Sky trilogy by Veronica Rossi. The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett.
These are the books I loved. The romance didn’t feel forced or omnipresent. The characters cared about each other as people. There was no love triangle. The societal conflict was always in the forefront. These authors had their priorities straight.
So here’s some advice for how to do love triangles: