Feral Friday - Love Triangles

It’s Feral Friday! And we here at Book Nerd Reviews thought we would discuss a topic that really sends us feral.

This week, we’re talking about love triangles and teams:

Kristy’s say:

Love triangles is clearly an increasingly popular phenomenon in YA. But, I have to admit, I am not really a fan… but sometimes a triangle will capture my heart. For me, love triangles in general tend to be a little too boring or predictable, not to mention unrealistic in most situations. Although I love my fiction, I prefer realistic situations when it comes to matters of the heart. Honestly, how often in real life do two amazing guys fall in insta-love with you? Especially to the point that they will sacrifice their own happiness, fight or even die for you?

Realism or not put aside, in most of these melodramatic triangles you generally have two amazing choices, which generally results in you, as the reader, liking one of the possible love interests more than another.

This however leads to the expectation that you pick a “team” or “ship” for a couple. However, I don’t pick teams; I just don’t see the point in it. In my opinion, more often than not, there is only one suitor that the main protagonist will ever end up with - so no matter what I think of any character, there is generally no hope for one of the poor love interests.

If you want to take the most popular example, let’s look at Bella, Edward and Jacob. I don’t think there was ever any doubt that Bella would (always) pick the sparkly Edward, so therefore I never felt the need to pick a team - Bella had already picked it for me. Now, this isn’t saying anything about Jacob (actually, I preferred him), but I don’t think the hopeless pup ever had chance - so I don’t invest my hopes in wanting something that clearly isn’t an option.

Other triangle examples of where I think that the decision was made and therefore there was really no hope for the other lovestruck smuck are: Clary/Jace/Simon in The Mortal Instruments, Tessa/Will/Jem in The Infernal Devices, Bianca/Lucas/Balthazar in the Evernight series.

But yes, sometimes I do prefer the character that is destined for heartache. However that is because I like that character better - either due to the fact that I think they are a better rounded character, or because I don’t actually think much of the character who will ultimately win the heart of our endearing (or not so endearing) female (mostly) lead. But, I do not classify this as “shipping”, as this is generally based on characteristics that I personally find appealing (or off-putting about the other character) and based solely on my personal likes, not what the lead characters wants or needs.

But what about those ones that it doesn’t seem to be obvious who will end up being the winning part of the duo in the triangle? These are the triangles that I prefer. I like it to keep me on my toes, and I hate to see one of the characters fighting (and often embarrassingly) for something that will never happen. But how do I pick which suitor I am going to “ship” for? Well, that would then boil down to which suitor I like most. And this is even harder when (although it is rare) where both contenders are equally as appealing.

I am currently reading the Throne of Glass series, and the love triangle in this series is in its infancy, and it could still go either way, so I am hoping that our endearing Captain Chaol will get a happily ever after. However, this as this is based solely on my preference for his character, and maybe this would not be best option for Celaena.

Another example of where I don’t think the choice was blatantly obvious is The Hunger Games - and if I am going to be honest, I preferred Gale - although I never actually thought she would end up with him. (Poor Gale). This love triangle was very interesting, as it could have gone either way (or in the end Katniss could have chosen neither) as both Peeta and Gale offered qualities that Katniss needed or wanted - and, it wasn’t the main focus of the story either which I liked.

I guess, on some level, that most people pick their “team” based on preference of one character or another - however, is it fair to do this? Shouldn’t we be picking teams based on the best interest of the protagonist? Or based on the protagonist’s wants, needs or feelings? If this was the case, I don’t think there would often be a need for “teams”. But of course, we are human, and when we get so caught up in a world, we cannot help but project our own preferences into that world or onto the characters.

Pick a team, don’t pick a team, be Switzerland - I don’t mind what you choose - I just hope that you enjoy the story along the way and that you get your happily ever after!

And although I said earlier that I generally find triangles to be unrealistic; if two hot and equally as charming, nice and caring men want to fight (preferably shirtless) over me - well step right up, I am ready for my front row seats to that event!

Melissa’s say:

I’m going to say it… I really get into a love triangle - when it’s done properly. I hate insta-love, and I’ve said that many a time on BNR, but when it’s done right, a love triangle can make a book even more memorable.

That being said, I’ve read some books where they just did it all wrong, and subsequently it left me with a sour taste in my mouth…

Why is it that I am drawn to a good love triangle? I think when it’s done in a way that doesn’t detract from the main story itself, it can help enhance the excitement you feel reading the book. I mean, who wouldn’t want two hot guys fighting over them? As a reader, I feel we always tend to side with the guy that has the qualities WE most like ourselves, instead of thinking about what the protagonit might want or need, but isn’t that part of the fun when you become engrossed in a story?

I am a little older than a lot of other YA readers, and so you won’t find me running a fan club for my fave boys, but there are definitely some fictional guys that left a lasting impression on me over the years!

My favourite love triangle of all time comes from The Iron Fey series. I am talking about Puck/Megan/Ash. Whilst I kinda knew who Megan was going to pick, I know I would have personally gone with Puck the whole time. His sense of mischief and playfullness is a quality I really liked about him, and I crushed on him heaps through.

I also really enjoyed The Chemical Garden series and the sub plot love triangle there with Linden/Rhine/Gabirel. This was different to traditional love triangles. Rhine is married off to Linden against her will and sees him as the enemy, but as the series progresses, we see some really soft, sweet parts of Linden. We always know that he will never actually have anything with Rhine, but it’s still there.

I think for me personally, the less overt the love triangle - the less it’s shoved in my face, the more receptive I’ll be to it, and the more I’ll WANT something exciting to happen. If it’s forced on us Twilight style, it’ll probably leave me feeling uninspired about the whole thing.

Kristy and I have two very different thoughts behind this today, but we both agree that we want people to enjoy the story either way - even if your protagonist picks the “other” guy than the one you like!


We would really love your opinion on this topic - love triangles: love them or hate them? Or are you a bit like Kristy and I and are really protective of your precious books? Please let us know in your comments below!

What do you think?

  • I don’t mind a good love triangle, emphasis on the good. Sometimes I am happy with the guy the girl picks (Ash and Peeta) and sometimes I prefer the other guy, but am glad he doesn’t end up with the heroine because he deserves someone who can love him fully ;) I have never been more torn than between Will and Jem. I can honestly say I love them both equally.
    I loved Throne of Glass and have to say that I am partial to Captain Chaol.
    I don’t hate love triangles, (I confess I am writing a book ATM with one in it) but it’s really nice to read a book without them.

    • Kristy says:

      I agree with you that sometimes you are happy when a character doesn’t end up getting the girl as he deserves better! But yes, Will and Jem was a tough one as they were both great characters - but in my mind there was never a doubt on who Tessa would pick :)

  • Julie S. says:

    While I enjoy a good romance and a good heartbreak story, I don’t like it when several guys are pining after this one chick and she can’t seem to decide what to do with herself. THAT, is a bad love triangle lol.

  • I agree, love triangles are predictable and they’ve been used over and over and over by YA authors. Sometimes, there’s NO NEED for a love triangle..just simply go on with the story and don’t include it. I wonder if authors could see our discussion posts about bloggers disliking love triangles…

    Some love triangles are really good though like Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Dare You To by Katie McGarry. I really enjoyed the love triangle on those books because IT MADE SENSE.

    Great topic, loves!


    • Kristy says:

      Anna and the French Kiss was a great love triangle! I forgot about that one when I was writing this post. But yes, it made sense, which is why I enjoyed it!

  • […] Kristy and Melissa @ Book Nerd Reviews tackle the topic of love triangles. […]

  • I also don’t mind love triangles. It’s a good element that makes or breaks a story. When it was written so effortlessly good, it makes it even more exciting to read a book, like Melissa said. But when it sounds so forced, it can be a hating point of a reader. I don’t ship as much as what others do that they will fight whom is better for the protagonist. But I do say who I like most for her.

    I agree with both of you that WE choose the person WE want for ourselves not for the lead. I don’t know I guess most of us imagine and put ourselves in the protagonist’s shoes without really emulating her character her experiences. There were times that I chose the heartache over than the real love and it’s frustrating at times but I now realized that we don’t get to choose it for the protagonist.

    There are also times when it was so obvious that there’s no love triangle like the case with Jace-Clary-Simon. It’s a given. But people still choose and fight over who should be. Though these teams, shipping, and love triangles, also I actually helps big time with the marketing of the book, PR speaking. Haha.

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