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?
- 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.
- Have 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
- 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.