I think every reader has pet peeves. Whether it’s a character type or a plot device that’s over-done, we all just have things we don’t like seeing in books. I’ve decided to start exploring and explaining some of my pet peeves in different genres on the blog, partially just to discuss them and also because I think these posts might also help understand why I may rate certain books the way I do. To start with, I want to talk about my pet peeves in high fantasy.
#1: Opening with a training/sparring scene
This isn’t a deal-breaker for me by any means, but I just get so tired of this being a common fantasy opening. And I feel like if a book does open with a training scene, there are really only three possibilities to the character conglomerations. It’s always:
- Girl MC and the guy who’s been her best friend/that she probably likes
- Guy MC and his best buddy(and if it’s a high fantasy focused on the royalty, it’s always the prince and generally the captain of the guard)
- Guy MC and his worst enemy who wants to take him down
While it may not be a deal-breaker for me, if a book starts off like this then I feel we’re already off to a rocky start.
#2: Arranged marriages
This is another one that also feels tired to me. It’s not so much the plot device of the arranged marriage, but how it pretty much always plays out. For some reason, I really see this most with main characters who are women, and it often feels like a shortcut to undermine their agency and give them something to fight against. Then, they find the strength they always had and stand up for themselves, etc. Also, whenever a book features an arranged marriage it’s almost guaranteed that there’s also going to be some sort of love triangle in my experience.
#3: Threat of sexual assault solely to increase the dark/danger factor
Harrumph. Much virtual ink has been spilled on this topic, so I’m not going to go too much into it. I have no problem with sexual assaults being portrayed in books, but I do have a problem when it becomes a plot device to simply increase the danger factor for women characters. I know this happens in all genre, not just high fantasy, but I feel, based on my reading experiences, that it’s more common in high fantasy. Every time I think about this pet peeve I re-read this post by Maggie Stiefvater and mentally give her a standing ovation.
Let’s chat: What are some of your pet peeves when it comes to high fantasy books? Do we share any of the same ones?