* Note: All these things are inspired by books I recently read, but I’m not going to specifically name any of the books because karma is a scary, scary beast. Yes, yes, I’m a cow…ard. Hur hur. Geddit, geddit? Uh, moving on…
1. Unhealthy relationships which are hailed as awesome ones.
Look, I get it. I get that no relationship is perfect. Mr. Cow and I fight quite a bit (mostly his fault, of course), but at the end of the day, we love and support each other and we make sacrifices which we don’t rub into each other’s faces, at least not unless we feel like it. But recently, this happened in a book:
I thought this was a good conflict, because you know, sometimes people behave like dicks. What is NOT good is the fact that the MC totally fell apart because of her assholey husband, dropped everything including the Once in a Lifetime chance, and flew across the country to make up with this man-baby, and that was the happy ending. Just, no.
2. Major subplots which are never resolved.
I don’t usually mind questions that are left with vague answers, but in this case, it happened with a major subplot — I could even argue that this is the main plot because it was mentioned in the blurb — and there was no answer, not even a vague one. I still have no clue what the heck happened, which might be okay for small subplots, but not ones which are a selling point to the book. (I mean, I picked up the book because this very plotline sounded so interesting. BWARGH.)
3. Books without meaningful female characters.
By “meaningful”, I don’t mean female characters need to be the main characters, but they do need to exist for reasons which are completely independent of their male counterparts. I’m not interested in books which delegate one-dimensional roles to the female characters, like “the wife/girlfriend/LI”. Also, can we please have more than just the ONE token female character? We do make up half the world’s population, after all.
4. Books that are obviously wish fulfillment for the author.
These kinds of books become embarrassing to read, because I feel like I’m taking a peek into some hormonal teen’s diary. I blame the beta readers, the agent, and the various editors at the publishing house for this. I mean, really, at some point, did no one think to point out that 100 pages of sex with a wood nymph goddess thingy is kind of gratuitous?
5. Good guys are good, bad guys are bad.
I hate black and white morality. Mostly because I feel that such simplicity insults my intelligence as a reader. Most people aren’t all good or all bad. I like complex characters, flawed MCs who do shitty stuff and antagonists who give you pause and make you think, “S/he has a point…” Give me your despicable good guys and compassionate baddies anytime.
What are your pet peeves when it comes to books?