[all photos credit to: Goodreads.com]
So I’m a big fan of dystopian novels, perhaps it is a product of my generation where the end of the world and dystopian ideas are often spread in theory and fear. Something about a horrible society where people struggle and try to rise up strikes me and encourages me to pick it up and read. One thing I have noticed, and I am sure many of you have, is that dystopian novels have taken on a new flavor that seems to be overpowering the dystopian part and becoming more of a romance novel.
Now as you can see from above, all these books are recent YA novels (mostly directed towards females), and each have been categorized either officially or by fans as dystopian. Now, I am not in anyway bashing these novels, some of them I quite enjoyed myself, and if I had deep issues then it would be in a review on a different post. I’m just using them as my poster children so to speak about this topic. Each one of these is set in a society where rules are set, people aren’t free, and there is a government or force to rise against to change the fate that has been set for them. As they try to break out of (x,y,z) mold romance blooms, and then it sort of blooms again with another person. Now the main focus of the book has come to light-a love triangle. It seems to be the magic formula for many YA novels directed at young women nowadays. Again, sometimes this is great when done properly and it actually drives the story or characters well. On a side note: I go nuts when said female suddenly turn useless or weakens because of said love triangle.
Some of these worlds are built up very well with a strong structured sense of realism: Hunger Games for example. Others seems a little more wishy-washy and use the dystopian world as a launching board as to why this love triangle is happening and why it is so difficult. I feel they lose the gritty, adventurous, sense of urgency that you would expect from a dystopian novel. It seems alright to have A) Loose description of a world gone wrong and the female protag is put in a difficult situation. B) Girl loves a boy already/boy loves the girl already/or mutual attraction. C) Something pulls the girl away from boy #1 and puts her with boy #2 who loves the girl/wants to take girl away from boy #1/girl develops some feelings for boy #2. D) This now is the important part of the story about her struggle to pick which boy to love, and less about overcoming the issue of her society.
Maybe I’m being too nit-picky, I’m sure a lot of people love this kind of stuff in a story. In my opinion though, if it is more about the love triangles and awkward teenage feelings, then market it as a teen romance, not a teen dystopian. It would be nice if the romances often times weren’t so…cardboard cut out as well. One boy is usually the sweeter childhood friend and the other is a more rough edged person who may or may not have met before but just now have time to really get to know. Not always does this formula get thrown in…but often it does.
I know some of you may think I’m being silly because this is meant for young adults and I’m an adult, but I give young people a lot of credit to what makes a good story and what doesn’t. I feel they can see through the cheesiness as much as I can-because when I was a teenager I often did. Sure I liked parts of Twilight when it first came out, but there were a bunch of parts where I was yelling at Bella for being a twit and how the triangle was filled with flaws and overbearing vampiric boyfriends.
Again, the books shown above I’m not saying are bad books or bad stories, not even that all of them shouldn’t be in dystopian genres. Though some really shouldn’t either. I’m just saying it would be nice to have a YA dystopian novel directed at girls that maybe had the girl standing on her own and not falling this way and that into a triangle of love that detracts from the story? Hello run on sentence. So, that’s my rant, and I’m off to try and find a YA without a triangle because I need a break.
What are you opinions about this rising popularity of dystopian love triangles?