Love triangles, a trope most of us really don’t like. Not only can it take away from the plot of a book but it can hinder character development and sometimes it just feels like a meaningless thing thrown in for extra tension or drama. It’s kind of like those filler episodes for tv shows that are added to prolong something. Pointless.
I avoid such books at all cost. If the synopsis of a book even hints at a love triangle I won’t read it. However, there are those books that don’t hint at it in the synopsis that I end up picking up. Sometimes I enjoy them despite it and sometimes I don’t (more often than not I don’t). But the fact that I do enjoy some of them got me thinking – are there exceptions?
Some of my favorite books have a love triangle thrown in at some point. Do these love triangles take away from the plot? Do they screw up the character development? Do they feel completely pointless? Well, they are some of my favorites so the answer to all of the above is no. To me, they didn’t take away from the books.
So, if I have exceptions to a trope I otherwise can’t stand why is it that they are exceptions? What makes them stand out?
*warning possible spoilers for the books pictured bellow*
If you don’t want to be spoiled scroll to the bottom and tell me if you have/don’t have any love triangle exceptions and why.
- The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
The Infernal Devices is a very popular series. Does it have a love triangle? Yep. There is a very clear love triangle between Will, Tessa, and Jem. The biggest thing about this particular love triangle, however, is the respect each of the three characters has for each other. It’s never a means for tension or drama. Will and Jem don’t fight over Tessa. Will and Jem are practically like brothers. Tessa loves them both. All of that is why this love triangle works and the majority of people love it. Nothing was lost in making it that way. The plot was fantastic, the character development on point, and it added something really special to the story.
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I question whether this particular love triangle is actually a love triangle or not because it never felt that way to me. Gale, Katniss, and Peeta. For this one, there was definitely some tension. But I feel like The Hunger Games was intense in general. The reason why this love triangle didn’t put me off this series is because while Katniss obviously cared for both boys there was the respect Peeta had for that and the fact that over time you start to see the very definite line between who Katniss is in love with and who she just loves. I always saw Gale and Katniss’ “relationship” as being more of a sibling type relationship. I know what you’re thinking, “But they kissed!” and they definitely did. However, I remember Gale saying the only time she paid any attention to him was when he was in pain. Of course she did, they grew up together and cared for and helped each other. It’s easy to get those feelings confused. Plus, everything is so crazy in this series that none of the character’s have a moment to think about anything beyond survival. I’m getting off point here – the main thing is I, again, felt there was respect in the relationship between the three. It didn’t take away from them as characters and it worked so well with the plot.
- Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Again, I’m iffy on considering this one a love triangle as it never felt that way to me. It isn’t even readily clear at the beginning of the series (i.e. the first book and most of the second) that it’s headed toward the possibility. The romance definitely adds a lot of tension to the series, especially in the second book. It even becomes borderline annoying. However, the biggest reason why I didn’t mind the ‘love triangle’ between Warner, Juliette, and Adam is because of the fact that she was never actually in love with both of them at the same time. She wasn’t with Adam when she fell for Warner. Per Juliette’s character development she became someone who didn’t exactly fit with Adam anymore. People can grow out of other people, there was a very realistic quality to that. The person she became fit so well with who Warner became and they really made each other better people. The above is all reasons why I felt it worked and also why I’m still not sure if I would actually consider it a love triangle. For me, I felt the whole thing really furthered the plot in an incredible and unexpected way.
The running theme in all of the above love triangles is the fact that it didn’t take away from the character development, plots, or ruin the books with too much unnecessary tension (though of course there was some tension in two of them). If anything I felt like it was the perfect companion for the plots and didn’t distract too much from where the books were going.
But that is just my opinion.
What do you guys think? Do you have exceptions when it comes to love triangles? Do you share my opinions? Or do you have a different one entirely?
I’d love to know. 😊