[Top Ten Tuesday] – #139 – Romance Tropes I Trash When Reviewing

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.


This Week’s Theme:
Romance Tropes I Trash
When Reviewing

Initial Thoughts:

It’s not that I hate these tropes…well, actually…

(Part of me feels like I talked about all of this nonsense before but that’s okay because this stuff needs to be repeated again and again.)

Additional Pages Caused By Miscommunication

I’m not saying I’m some seer communicator (because I’m not) but the drama caused by miscommunicating is so extra. The only true benefit of its existence is that so often the falling out is ridiculous it’s funny. Full stop.

The “Stumble Upon Scene” Moment

Are all these characters are actually Wizards imbued with the magic of Perfect Timing or what? Like…why do you never stumble across me taking your fries without permission or something. I am certain that would get my ass whooped before any other situation that involves me talking to your “nemesis/rival”. Ridiculous trope here with overly convenient writing. Hard pass.

Actually Ugly versus Snowflake Ugly


It’s difficult to chirp this out since everyone imagines characters differently but I think it’s safe to say “Snowflake Ugly” is still a good 7/10 on a hot-or-not scale (higher being sexier). I get that all non-Hufflepuffs want to be Hufflepuff and be super “modest” about their appearance but so much of this is externally-derived appreciation from others rather than knowing yourself to be beautiful. I mean…yeah, it’s a nice boost of confidence but the caveat I see is that never are these characters look like a forest troll. They get a fucking love triangle in most instances and that’s like…Y U COMPLAINING?!

The Cure All Romance

Get the fuck out.

While I do agree that love/romance can make a person change, what I cannot throw my money at is the many situations where one party causes the others illnesses et al. to magically be better, fixed, removed from conscious thought or the subplot altogether. Like curing cancer-tier specialness. Goodbye, you trope. I will just say that you can still be a fully realized individual who loves and is loved and who may still carry your own backpack of traits, issues, and what have you.

Normalization of Abuse and “Fixing” People

Don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying these stories don’t exist but the inclinations toward a myriad of character arcs with overly negative onsets of romance to promote the possibility of mending the love interest “to be different than who they were” is a bit of a doozy. Sure sexy times can form the basis of an end game relationship (ish) but all those stories that feature a “captive” or “slave” or “[insert really shitty situation here]” role that low-key incites a Stockholm Syndrome vibe is like…wut?

Romance Over Fantasy

Please exit stage left.

I get that romance is a great addition to stories as a driving force for people to act on their emotions and progress the plot…but if there’s political intrigue or a world with intricate magic systems etc. then I don’t need some romance taking precedence 24/7 in plotting. Worst of all is when the person you gallantly defend someone you’ve just met from a gunshot or some life-threatening injury because “omg they could be the one”. Get outta here.

The Inability to Function Without Romance

I’m not one to say I should judge how someone grieves or wallows or what have you. I get that life can easily become shitty when a part of yourself is lost with a relationship when they move on or you break up. But it’s a bit confusing when characters are so in love by 50-pages in that they can’t carry forward or do anything when their not-significant other is swimming in drama (or just literally not knowing of your existence as a hero). Let’s just skip work or start failing all of our assessments — solid role model.


Or maybe I’m just an angry person hating on all kinds of love…naaaaah.

Are there romance tropes you hate or love to hate or just have criticisms for? Let me know!


afterthoughtAn // twitter
anotherafterthought // goodreads
picturevomit // instagram


21 thoughts on “[Top Ten Tuesday] – #139 – Romance Tropes I Trash When Reviewing”

  1. I’m totally with you on most of these, especially the last one. I call it “Bella-Swan-I-Can’t-Live-Without-Him Syndrome”. I hate when characters lose all independence because of a romance. You functioned OK before them, you can function OK without them.

    And the “ugly” duckling that always finds herself in a love triangle. Ugh.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Miscommunication is the worst. There are circumstances in which a slight miscommunication and a bit of awkwardness are understandable, but so many works of fiction take it to such unbelievable extremes. There are times when I actually have to stop reading or watching things because the whole time I’m just sitting there thinking “Why don’t these characters act like people? Nobody is actually that obtuse!”

    Great list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely. Not to forget those ‘big commotion’ of a scene they make because they’re so hurt (which is understandable…I guess) but they don’t be like “hey…why abc?” Like can you imagine if the love interest is knees-to-the-ground next to your assumed best friend and you’re like *rage* and wondering why they’re proposing…when in actuality, they’re just tying their shoe. Ridiculous LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “Snowflake ugly” is such a great term. Some genres are chock-full of that type of character.

    I think I wouldn’t mind a “romance over fantasy” trope as long as the book is marketed as such. Like, just don’t trap me in until it’s too late to get out, you know? 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am forever using this Snowflake Ugly coinage. Heathens don’t know what’s coming.

      The issue with fantasy-romance is that, since I primarily (typically) read in the YA bracket, it would seem to me that romance being a large proponent in fantasies is like a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. I’d be okay with it to be in the long haul/end game type of narrative (re: book 3 is where it’s fully fleshed out etc. But for so many romances to fully bloom by the middle of book 1? Naaaaaaahhhhhh. Not that I’m saying it’s impossible but improbable perhaps.


  4. Hahaha I love this post so much – I laughed a bit too hard at the forest troll comment though. And that snowflake ugly is such a great term, I agree 100% about everything you’ve written there. And romance over fantasy, yes yes yes. I mean, I LOVE romance but when the book is marketed as fantasy and there is a lot of romance and basically not even a big room for the world to develop and such, it’s so aannoying. Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In all honesty, I would love to be a forest troll. Away with the mundane life. But I’m glad that also made you chuckle at it! I can think of far too many “fantasies” that are romance-driven but that might also be due to it being in the YA genre where it is seem more of a necessity (?) Who knooows.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ok first of all Snowflake Ugly is the best new term ever. I whole heartily agree on all of these but primarily the Normalization of Abuse and “Fixing” People. I hate, hate, hate when books try to normalize abusive relationships to be “he just cares about me a lot, etc.” Like HELLO GURL GET YOU OUTTA DAT RELATIONSHIP STAT.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Use Snowflake Ugly to your hearts desire!

      I think there are many books that can do the abuse part right because when it happens, sometimes it can be quite difficult to tell. But then there are so many other times the character dismisses it knowingly and I’m like “BUT YOU JUST SAID IUDASYU&HDUSAIDHASUD”


  6. This list is so on point, Joey! Every time I read a book with a romance cures all trope, I want to fling it out of the window. Same goes with normalisation (worse still, idealisation) of abusive relationships. A jealous control freak of partner isn’t swoon-worthy — it infringes on personal liberties. Why would anyone want to support that? Aaaaand, ditto on the romance over fantasy. Makes me sad when a great premise and intriguing world gets sidelined and the author forgets to develop their ideas to the fullest potential.


Have some thoughts? Leave a comment below!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.