I don’t mind a bit of romance in my books. In the current YA market, it is almost requisite for books to have romance. I don’t think this is realistic, because I and most of the people my age who I know do not have any serious romantic relationships, and I really wish that there were more friendships. Romance that is awesome and fun and makes sense is okay, but the worst is when it’s romance for the sake of romance, especially in books like the Splintered series by A.G Howard.
There are a lot of things I like about the Splintered books- the wild Wonderland, the magic the powerful female characters-but I thought that the romance was 100% unnecessary. Before we get on to the main discussion, I’m going to show you this signed UnHinged card that I won in a competition. AG Howard seems like a really cool writer, and this is the first autographed thing I’ve ever gotten !
I get why love triangles are written. And occasionally they’re written really well, like in the Infernal Devices, which worked out well. (SPOILER: This love triangle ends up in a similar way) But Alyssa didn’t need romance. She was had awesome magical powers, she could skateboard and make mosaics, but the romance in this book was written (I feel like) just for the sake of having romance, because all teenager books have romance so this one should too, right.
Love triangles are pretty common in books and very, very uncommon outside of books (at least in my experience). I get why they’re attractive- in the Hunger Games, Katniss has to choose between dark and dangerous Will, and friendly and forgiving Peeta; in the Infernal Devices Tessa has to choose between reckless angry Will and sweet an loving Jem (though both of these characters have dark and cuddly sides as well) and in The Selection America has to choose between someone totally different to her- Maxon and someone who is her home- Aspen. In short, love triangles represent two different sides of the heroine- the one which longs for safety and the one which longs for danger and adventure. (It’s a book so adventure is usually gonna win out at some point) In Splintered, Morpheus is the dark past and dangerous one while Jeb is the sweet and loving one.
But why is romantic love always at the centre of love triangles? I feel strongly for my friends and I have been torn between them at times. Why do heroines need to turn into indecisive idiots whenever a (inevitably good looking) boy steps into the picture? (This is particularly noticeable in Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but most heroines encounter this at some point) I love Alyssa, and her courage and willingness to fight for Wonderland was enchanting. The books setting and struggles was very believable, but the romance was not. The romance was a fun aside that had no relevance to anything, made the heroine weaker (I don’t think that love makes you weak- I’m just saying that it’s often portrayed that way) in terms of decision making and was not real.
How do you feel about romance in books? Have you read Splintered, and if so, was the romance unnecessary? And I’m planning to do a Question of Fiction or if YA characters went to highschool later this week, so ideas for characters are welcome!