Love triangles seems to be one of those tropes that completely splits book twitter seemingly like Marmite, you either love them or you hate them. Me? I’m indifferent. If done well, they can add a whole new aspect and depth to the story. But if done badly, I’m looking at you Meyer, they can absolutely ruin a book for me. In this post I’m going to be talking about some love triangles that I loved and others that were just so, so bad, so buckle up buddys… we’re going in.
I have to start with the absolute belter of a love triangle that’s featured in Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao. Two guys, one girl… we all know the story right? They go all macho, macho trying to prove ones better than the other blah, blah. Well, Zhao says fuck the patriarchy in more than one way with this book. It’s basically like that Spider man meme… you know the one:
The characters basically just look at each other and go ‘ you’re hot, he’s hot, were all hot, so lets just get together yea?’ There’s no male bravado, no one upping each other. In fact for a good part of the book I thought the guys were gonna fob the MC off and just get together and I was here for it. They basically flips all tropes on their head with this book and makes the boys soft cinnamon rolls, even if one of them could totally kill you, and the girl the ‘looks like could kill you – would absolutely kill you.’ It’s just the *chefs kiss* of love triangles and, as well all know, triangles are the strongest of shapes (if you know, you know).
Next up is Judgement Day by Josie Jaffrey. Now, I will admit this does have the whole male bravado, overbearing male ego shiz in it, but it’s Vampires so it’s meant to be dramatic and tension filled. I just really loved how, though the MC is kind of adamant that she doesn’t want said guy, and instead wants a lovely little sunshine girl, we all know she’s lying out of her arse, and Jaffrey sure takes us on a hilarious and tension filled journey while she finally figures it out. The guy is also extremely respectful of our MC, waiting for her to initiate any physical contact between the two of them. He may be infuriatingly handsome and knows it, but he never pushes her into any decision, instead letting her realise she wants him in her own time… legend.
My final ‘positive’ triangle is more of a square? A Quadruple? A … whatever the word is, and it’s The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant. Now, I will admit that romance doesn’t play the largest part in this story, but our MC does have three suitors vying for her attention in some way. But the main thing this book taught me? Girls don’t want Prince’s who can buy them pretty things, or rogues who can sweep them away on a life of adventure. No girls, and by girls I mean me, want someone who threatens to decapitate someone and parade their head round if they hurt you:
“I’ve never been able to fight your battles. I’ve not been able to lift my hand to protect you. I cannot risk dragging my guild into this war.’ His eyes are burning with emotion. ‘But if he kills you, I’ll take his head from his body and i’ll sit it on a pike in the middle of the Lords’ table in the Miracle Court and none will ever take it down. There it will rot, the worms will eat it to bone, and all who see it will remember you.’ His voice breaks.’ Even if Corday asks my life of me in return, I’ll do it I swear.”
Yes, I love me some murderous boys… not too sure what that says about my TBH. But what I liked about the relationships in this book was that our MC called the shots in every way and, because none of our potential suitors really knew about the others, there was little to no male bravado, instead we just get to see the MC have fun and appreciate that at her age she can, and should, enjoy playing the field.
Ok, so now for the terrible, the tormenting, the love triangles that absolutely ruined the books for me. I’ll start with an easy one, the Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer. We get the typical brooding/ sunshine male tropes with this, but a simple love triangle seemingly wasn’t enough for Miss Meyer, no she had to make her MC who was all of what 16?17? Literally want to kill herself because they boy she liked wouldn’t talk to her!?! And to make matters worse, the boy that she didn’t pick, he only went and imprinted himself on their fucking daughter… like what kind of madness is this! I remember reading this at University and thinking Bella was the most dramatic bitch ever, and then that ending, that ending just made sure that I would never be picking the books up again.
Next up is The Cursebreakers series by Brigid Kemmerer and I’m gonna start by saying that she should have picked Grey! Like, it’s not even a hard choice. While I’m all for a guy with a redemption arc, for me, he has to learn, to grow, to earn the love and instead through the whole series we just had Harper apologising for and trying to fix his dickish behaviour. And she could have had scary Grey, scary Grey who I loved with my whole heart and saved me from DNF’ing the series, which I was so absolutely ready to do. Did Rhen have trauma? Yes. Did every other character in the book? Also yes, only they dealt with it in dramatically different, and healthier ways and didn’t drag down their girlfriend with them in the process. All I’m saying is, when Grey offered to take her with him in book two she should have taken his hand and fucking hauled ass away from Rhen and all his toxicity.
The final ‘terrible triangle’ is from These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan, mainly because both the ‘romantic leads’ were absolute dicks but one was by far the worst and guess what ladies and gentleman… that was the one our MC picked. I don’t know about you guys but I am through with toxic relationships, especially in YA books. I’m all for a bit of tension, drama etc, but when the two love interests are literally using our MC for their own personal gain and being toxic af in the process… well I’ll just pass thank you. This book is general wasn’t the best, but the just downright terrible love triangle made sure I wouldn’t be picking up any sequel.
And that, my fair friends, is that. Basically I don’t mind a good love triangle if it’s done well, and it can be done well. Give me all the drama, the tension, the sexiness without the toxic masculinity or demeaning your female MC and I am there, otherwise you can absolutely count me out. What are your thoughts on love triangles? Do you love them, hate them or like me are you kind of meh about them? What books do you think have done them well or terribly? Let me know in the comments!