Lola’s Ramblings: Do you like Love Triangles?

November 5, 2015 Lola's Ramblings 40

LolaRamblings

Lola’s Ramblings is a feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews where I ramble on about a book related or a non-book related topic. These are discussion type of posts where I talk about a topic and readers can weigh in on the topic in the comments. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like tours, cover reveals, memes, challenges, recaps or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are discussions of a certain topic and my point of view on them. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.

If you would have asked me a year or two ago I probably would have flat out mentioned I hated love triangles. If a book had a love triangle I wouldn’t read it. Now my opinion is a little more nuanced. I won’t see a love triangle and think yay, but it also won’t stop from readign the book if it sounds good. I think love triangles can be done well and can even add some tension and drama to a story and romance, but only if done well. I will read a book with a love triangle, as long as it’s a book that appeals to me. Can a love triangle influence my opinion of a book? Yes it can, I can detract or add a star solely for the romance if I feel strongly about it. It really matters if I enjoy the love triangle or not, but I give books with love triangles a chance now. So I thought it would be interesting to think about what I mean by a well done or well written love triangle and dedicate a post to it. Plus I would love to hear your opinions on this topic!

What makes for a well written love triangle?

visions

  • It’s not only about the love. I prefer books that have a love triangle to also feature other plot points. More clearly I want the book to not only focus on the love triangle, but also other topics and plot lines have a place. Even in a contemporary Romance I think there is enough room for extra plot beside the love triangle. I just want to have other topics that get some attention and not only focus on the love triangle and the drama that surrounds it. I also think that having a book deal with other topics beside the love triangle helps to not make the love triangle too overwhelming as there are other topics that get attention as well.
  • Both love interests stand a chance and are likable. I want both love interests to stand a chance. I want to doubt who’s going to “win”. If I know from the beginning with 100% clarity who’s going to win, the love triangle only frustrates me, as I already know what’s going to happen and it’s frustrating waiting for the main characetrs to figure that out as well. So yes I want both love interest to be likable and actually have a chance to win. I am okay if I suspect someone is going to win, as long as it’s not too clear. I want to understand the drama and tension, because I am not sure who’s best for the main character either.
  • No matter how wins, I am okay with it. I like it when authors can write a love triangle and no matter who wins I am okay with it and understand why that love interest has won. I want to understand the main character their decision and if possible even like the outcome. With a great love triangle even if I am team B and team A wins I am still happy with it and understand why team A won.
  • Don’t drag out the choice or resolution too long. What consist as too long I am not sure on, it’s more of a feeling than an exact sience. At a certain point it just feels like things get dragged on and I don’t like that. I want there to be a resolution eventually and not just kept another book or three waiting and reading till we hear who wins. If a love triangle happens in a standalone book, waiting till the end can be frustrating, but in a series where a love triangle spans even more books it can be even harder to be okay with the love triangle if things get dragged out too long. Sometimes it can take books before I get impatient, sometimes even one book takes too long. It really depends on the book and how they are written.
  • The Legacy HumanHave a clear winner/ decision. I like it when the main character has to make a choose and really picks on of the two. I don’t like love triangles that are unresolved or where conveniently the decision is made one way or another. If your book is going to have a love triangle, make sure it has a solution too.
  • Second love interest not only introduced for the sake of drama. I have read so many books where a new love interest is suddenly added later in a book or series and the sole purpose of the character seems to be to create a love triangle and drama for the relationship/ building romance. I don’t like that, I want the both love interest to be real and interesting people and I want it to feel realistic why they are there and not feel like they pop in, just because it makes for a nice drama plot point.
  • Unconventional love triangles. There are love triangles where there are two possible love interest, but it isn’t as white and black as normal. For example Visions by Kelley Armstrong has one. Most people will see Team A as an option, but in the story person A isn’t ready for a relationship yet and so he isn’t a real otpion for the main character. When a team B pops up you could say it’s a love triangle, but it isn’t in the traditional sense of the word as there is no battle or conflict as Team A isn’t an option yet. It’s written just a bit differently. I also like love triangles that are more traditional, but just have this original piece or twists that makes them interesting. I even read a book where there was competition between the boys, but the main character wasn’t really thinking about romance yet, that was an original way to handle it as well. Or even situations where there are two love interest, but the focus isn’t really on the who should I pick drama.
  • Main character has a bond/ connection with both of them. I want to see both sides and understand why the main character sees something in either love interest. It has to be believable and I like it when both love interests are good for the main character. If one of the love interest isn’t interesting or likable I don’t believe the love triangle and it won’t feel realistic.
  • Picking Teams. I am not sure why, but sometimes it’s just fun to pick a team and see who wins. I like how there are always two sides to a love triangle and how there are people who are for either teams. I also think that’s a sign of a well written love triangle and proves that both teams are well written.

It’s not that a love triangle needs to have all these points, usually one or two are already enough to make me like the love triangle. This is merely a list of things I like to see or appreciate in boosk that have a love triangle and which probably makes me like the love triangle more.

Well Written Love Triangles in my opinion

Destiny Rising

  • Camp Boyfriend by JK Rock. This is one of the first books that changed my opinion about love triangles. It was a well written love triangle, where the main character has one camp boyfriend and school boyfriend and then both of them collide when her school boyfriend also goes to camp and they are both camp boyfriends. There is also a strong focus on self exploration and development and I really liked how the main character handled it. Only minpoint is that you have to wait till the end for the resolution, but still it was well done and had a clear choice. Oh and the authors proved me wrong and the guy I hadn’t expected to win, won. Love it when a love triangle surprises me.
  • True Calling series by Siobhan Davis. I really like how Siobhan has written this love triangle, both boys stand a chance, even though I did have my expectations who would win. It also didn’t matter for which team I was as I was happy with how it ended. The main character makes a clear decision and the decision isn’t dragged out till the end of the last book, bonus points for that!
  • Cainsville series by Kelley Armstrong. This is the love triangle I mentioned earlier. It’s not really a love triangle in the normal sense, but there is some sort of conflict and two possible love interest. And so far I like how it handled as it works for the main character now, but things might change. It’s more who’s right at this moment and how that might change.
  • Singularity series by Susan Kaye Quinn. I am not even sure if this one counts as a love triangle, but it sort of has the build for it. Again another original love triangle, as there are actually two girls who could be considered love interests. Both girls are very different and have a different appeal and what choosing that side means for the main characetrs. Very interesting. So far there hasn’t been any focus on the love triangle or drama it could create, but it does play a role.
  • Debt Collector Season Two by Susan Kaye Quinn. Aagin calling it a love triangle doesn’t really do it justice. there are two potential lvoe interest, there is a decision in the end, but how it plays out it is well done. Only at the end there is some drama about it, but up till that point there isn’t really much drama in the who should I choose sense. Which is something I like.
  • Freya’s Inferno by Sonja Bair. There are two love interest, but there isn’t really any drama. The main character knows both guys and they see each other as competition, but the main character isn’t really busy worrying about the romance, but more focussed on the issue at hand. Which was a refreshing take, this might change in the next book, but so far I liked how this one was set up.

These are all 5 star books or where one of the books in the series got a 5 star rating with the exception of Freya’s Inferno which was a 3 star book, but had an unique enough love triangle that I wanted to mention it. So all of these are pretty much among my favourite books and have a well written love triangle.

Do you like Love Triangles? What is a well written love triangle in your opinion?

40 Responses to “Lola’s Ramblings: Do you like Love Triangles?”

  1. Mary Kirkland

    I do. I’ve been reading a series by Leah Brooke called Desire Oklahoma where most of the couples in this town are love triangles and it really works. I know I’ve read others but this series is my favorite for the love triangles. I like them to work out and not take the entire book for everyone to get one the same page.
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    • Lola

      That sounds like a series where love triangles really work, might have to check it out! It’s nice when the love triangle get’s worked and not have it take the entire book or series. It can take a while, but usually I prefer it if we also can see the results of the love triangle decision and how it goes on after the decision has been made.

  2. Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    More often than not, I do not enjoy love triangles, Lola, because I feel like they are mostly added for the drama effect. However, I won’t not read a book because it includes a love triangle, and I have ended up really enjoying some books that have them. Especially if the love triangle is just a little part of the plot, and there are a lot of other things happening, too. Or if it really helps the character development of one of the main characters.
    One series where I really enjoyed the love triangle was Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, because the love triangle really helped the main character realize a lot of strength in herself. And there were some very interesting things going on with the other characters in the triangle as well.
    Great topic!!
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    • Lola

      I don’t like it when the love triangle only get’s added for the drama, it has to be believable to make them work. Since I enjoyed some books with lvoe triangles I am not as opposed to them anymore as I was before. If the love triangle is only a small part or it really helps with the character development it feels more part of the book and integrated into the story, I like that.
      I have tried to read Shatter Me, but the writign style didn’t work for me. I do like the sound of how the love triangle helped the main character realizes new things about herself.

  3. Red Iza

    I haven’t read that many love triangles, so I don’t really care. I heard it’s rather a common occurrence in YA ? The last love triangle I’ve read about was in a Jennifer Armentrout series, The dark elements. I liked the series, so it went well, but I’m afraid it’s something that you read more about in fiction than actually see in real life !

    • Lola

      I think they do happen in real life, but more nuanced or different than in fiction. I have read some adult books with love triangles, but they do seem more common in YA indeed.

  4. Bookworm Brandee

    Great post, Lola! I’m like you in that I like a love triangle if it’s done well. I like your point on both contenders being likable. If they don’t have an equal chance, then the triangle is there solely for drama. And that, I don’t like. I also agree with you in that there must be more to the plot than the triangle. Why do we care who the heroine chooses if there isn’t more going on besides her deciding? Thanks for sharing a list of books which do love triangle well. 🙂
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    • Lola

      Exactly if both contenders are likable and have a real chance the love triangle is much more enjoyable as it feels more real and not just added for the drama. I am glad you liked the list of books which do lvoe triangles well. I hear so often about badly done love triangles, that I wanted to share the books where the love triangle worked for me.

    • Lola

      I don’t actively avoid them anymore nowadays, although I find it very important that they are done well. I love your description of the tennis match, I dislike too much back and forth in a love triangle. Sometimes in a series I don’t mind it when the love triangle spans multiple books, but it depends how it’s written.
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    • Lola

      If I get annoyed it’s usually with the character that has to choose, although I also dislike it when the love interest get too competitive with each other. When a love trinagle is done well they can be enjoyable.

  5. Let's Get Beyond Tolerance

    I think you make a lot of great points. If the book sounds interesting apart from the love triangle, then I’ll still be interested in checking it out. But yeah, I want it to be done well – I don’t want it to be obvious that she’ll pick one guy over the other (or whoever who is in the love triangle) because then it does make it annoying to keep reading until the MC figures it out.
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    • Lola

      Yes it’s so annoying when it’s obvious who she’ll pick and I don’t like having to wait till the MC figures it out too. I do want there to be some doubt and make me wonder who will win, even though I might have some strong suspicions about who she’ll pick.

    • Lola

      I can even enjoy a love triangle when it’s well written. It can add something to the story. Although I also pick teams and can get more attached to one of the picks.

  6. Greg

    I pretty much hate love triangles, only because I think they’re over used. But I will admit they’re not ALWAYS bad, they have their place i suppose. I guess it depends on the execution, like anything else. In the Divergent books for example, I like that the focus is on Tris and Four. We don’t have to suffer through Tris agonizing over who she loves- we know, and can watch their relationship develop. That’s more my thing. Granted I haven’t read Allegiant yet…

    Agree about clear winners. If there’s going to one, resolve the #$% thing ! 🙂 Don’t drag it out forever…
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    • Lola

      I do agree that love triangles are a bit overused, but they can be done well. It also depends on how a love triangle is executed and I do like beign able to see them develop a relationship and also seeing what happens to the couple after they MC has picked their love interest.

      I still haven’t read Allegiant either. I want the love triangles to have a clear choice and resolve at the end. There’s a limit to how long they should be dragged out.

    • Lola

      Whew 22 books that definitely too long, a couple of books is usually the maximum for me too. I don’t want lvoe triangles to get dragged on too long.

  7. chucklesthescot

    I hate the darn things. 99 times out of 100, the love triangle becomes the dominant thing in the book at the expense of an exciting plot or the story moving forward. If I see an obvious love triangle in the blurb, I avoid the book because it is rare that I find a plot where the love triangle works, so I’d rather not waste my money!
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    • Lola

      I think it’s mroe 50/50 for me, sometiems they work and sometimes they don’t. It definitely depends on the book. It’s not fun if the lvoe triangle takes over the entire plto and keep the story from movign forward, but there are also books where there is a love triangle and the story keeps progressing.

  8. Sophia Rose

    Your opening thoughts could have been written by me in that a while ago I would have avoided a book known to have a love triangle, but now I am more moderate about them. Like you, I prefer it when they aren’t the dominant element of a story, not there just as a drama inducing plot device, the two challengers are both worth the fuss (not just a faux triangle b/c again, those types smack of useless drama), and yes, that the resolution of the triangle occur within an realistic time frame.
    Actually, that last issue is probably what put me off on this trope. I was okay with the romance conflict originally, but then I read a few where the heroine (of course) kept dinking around with both guys by loving one, but stringing along the other guy for whatever reasons. Soured the whole story and trope for me.
    I don’t really have any that I can name that I like, but could make a list of several I don’t. 😉
    Nice discussion!
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    • Lola

      That’s interesting you made the same change as me when it comes to love triangles. It’s so important that both challengers are worth the fuss like youd escribed it as else it’s hard to feel invested in the love triangle.

      I read a lot of lvoe triangles at first where a second guy was added to the romance just for drama and it just didn’t feel realistic, I didn’t like that way of trying to add some drama and conflict to a relationship. I also have read a few of the love triangles like the type you mentioned where it starst off okay and then she keeps stringing along both guys without making a decision and that just doesn’t feel fair to either of them.
      I also could make a list of love triangles I don’t like, but decided to focus on the positive and focus on love triangles that did work for me and maybe they work for others too.

  9. Kristen Burns

    I completely agree with this whole post! I really like love triangles when they’re done right. Because, when they’re done right, when you understand why the character feels things for both people, when it’s not black and white, literally everything you mentioned, it’s emotional and heart-wrenching (which I love because I guess I’m a masochist when it comes to reading lol) but still satisfying in the end. But I too like my love triangles the same way I like all my romance, as a supplement to the plot, not as the main focus. So I think we have the same taste in love triangles 😛
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    • Lola

      Yes exactly! When a love triangle is done right it’s awesome and emotional and heart-wrenching in a good way. And indeed it’s not black and white, but complicated and I like that. It can be fun to see the character go through that drama and all the emotions and having to make difficult choices. As supplement to the plot they work best.
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  10. Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    I actually do like them! Especially when the things you said are taking place. I mean, they’re definitely annoying if it is just for drama. And YES to it being resolved (I am still mad about certain series’ endings where you have NO idea who will be chosen)!

    But yeah, if it fits with the story, I am game! And I do love having “teams” too- it’s just so fun!
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    • Lola

      They shouldn’t be added just for added drama, but if done well I think the love triangle can add something to the story. I think it’s very important that a love triangle is resolved as those half endings aren’t fun and the whole point of a love triangle is that there has to be a decisions eventually.

  11. S. J. Pajonas

    I am really not a fan of love triangles (I think you already knew that about me!) but I won’t stop reading a book I’m enjoying just because one starts happening. I WILL stop reading that book if the love triangle is ridiculous (like it makes the heroine into a stupid, blabbering fool) and there was a trilogy I read recently that had an awful love triangle and I read it all the way through because I wanted to know what happened in the main story (turns out I was disappointed all around, but now I know better). So I’m even more skeptical of love triangles now. I keep trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, but each time they turn out bad for me. Sigh. I’m picky about this.
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    • Lola

      I think it’s ncie you still give books a try even if they have a love triangle. And if the love triangle is ridiculous it makes sense to stop reading. Some love triangles are just badly done and I don’t like it if the heroine changes into a stupid blabbering fool. There are lots of books that don’t do love triangles well, so I am glad I found a few good ones as well these past few years that changed my opinion about them. Although they still are a bit of a hit or miss for me.

    • Lola

      I think the love triangle in her Cainsville series is well done, although I really want her to end up with Gabriel, it’s difficult as Ricky is a genuinely nice guy to. I don’t like it when the love triangle is added just for drama or conflict, it does has to feel natural.

  12. Lois @ My Midnight Musing

    I am definitely not a fan of love triangles. I just don’t believe in them and I’ve read far too many books that have used love triangles merely a dramatic plot device. I just find that no matter what the situation is someone will always get hurt and I hate how love triangles pit two people against each other. However, if it’s a series that I’m interested in and doesn’t focus too heavily on the triangle I sometimes wait until all the books in the series have been released so I can read it all in one sitting. In general though, I don’t mix well with love triangles. Great post.
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    • Lola

      I think they can be realistic, if they are not just added for the added drama. I do agree that often someone will get hurt, but in general love is messy and it won’t always be easy or end happily for everyone. Although I do often feel sorry for the person who doesn’t get chosen, but eventually they will move it and maybe find love too. I think love triangles do work best if the series doesn’t overly focus on it and it’s more a subplot.
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  13. Jee Ann

    I don’t have much patience for love triangles (if the story isn’t romance comedy) unless if the story’s good or the female MC doesn’t think about the boys 80% of the time. I really like it when the guys DON’T hate each other, like they’re actually friends, or they had a good past. I get annoyed when they go all macho This Girl is Mine on the protagonist. It’s so frustrating!
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