I’ve been thinking recently about book tropes, and finding books we are going to love. But first, incase anyone doesn’t know what I am talking about, what is a trope? Google tells me it’s “a significant or recurring theme” and when used in the context of books it tends to mean an element of the plot (the love triangle, tragic backstory ) or a type of character (the chosen one, secret royalty, strong female lead) or the world it’s set in (magic school, dystopian society, generic fantasy world).
A lot of the time we think about tropes that we see in books as a bad thing. And they definitely can be, but a bad trope is subjective. Everyone is different and we are all going to love to read different things too. There’s a reason the same things appear in books so frequently. There’s no denying that when we find something we enjoy we want more of it. And finding a trope we love can be an easy way to find similar books that we are going to love or finding a trope we hate can help us avoid books we probably won’t like. That’s not to say that we should always read similar books to our interests, sometimes finding a book that is completely different is the best but it can help.
I can’t deny that I’m an absolute sucker for certain tropes. And I’m going to list some of my favourites and include books that fall under them. Some of my examples cross over (who could have guessed) so I’m adding them where they’re most suited even if they match multiple.
If any of these remind you of books you’ve read please let me know in the comments and recommend them to me! I’d also love to hear what tropes you love or hate too. But on to the tropes….
First and most obvious for me is my love of thieves. If you type thief into goodreads I have read 7 out of the first 10 results you get back. If a book has a thief, a con artist, or a heist of some kind then I’m interested. Bonus points if the thief is a small sarcastic little shit that at least thinks they are smarter than everyone else or has needed to do it as a way to survive and just got really damn good at it.
Space academies, navy academies, magic acadamies, I don’t care all of them. I haven’t said school because that suggests younger kids to me and I want academies where they are training to be something rather than just going to school. Give me characters who are supposed to be learning but end up getting themselves into a whole hell of a lot of trouble but end up saving the day. Or prestigious schools where the characters are just trying to get by and have to band together. Focus on friendship and teamwork rather than there being any romance (you’re going to see this a lot on my list so I’m just going to say if there are ANY sci fi or fantasy stories without any romance that you liked reccomend them to me even if they don’t fit any of these tropes!)
I can’t actually think of any books for this one and it makes me sad but think Starfleet academy (there is a book series for these that admittedly I haven’t read but I have read fan fic that was amazing and made me realise I am missing this in my life). Think the Jedi academy (are there any books set there?) think the institutes in the shadowhunter books.
Proper ones. Not just slightly morally grey characters who have done bad things but end up coming good when they have to although I like those too. But the guy who does the right thing for the wrong reasons or the guy who doesn’t do the right OR the wrong thing but does something else completely because he doesn’t gaf.
Space ship crews
I want found family and friendships, in space (without the heavy romance plot please). I want a small crew pitted against the black and only able to rely on each other. Most books I’ve read for this are a disappointment. Although I still have Avalon by Mindee Arnett to read so all my hopes are now pinned to that. The Disasters by MK England comes out later this year and sounds really good (This also somewhat fits under the Academy one in a just-been-kicked-out kind of way). Think firefly or The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers.
Again, this is similar to the previous one in that I want them friendship heavy, with cool tech, or cool abilities, or thieves and morally grey characters (i mean they’re in a gang pf course they are lacking in the morals department). Are there any futuristic Sci fi gangs out there? Best example: I loved the underground Sci fi/magic gang from The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon and I’m going to repeat Sic of Crows simply because last time I was talking about Kaz but now I’m talking about all of them.
So there are some of my favorites but what are yours? Do these remind you of any books you’ve read/heard of? If so please let me know. What are some tropes that you try to avoid as well?