Random Stuff I Love Reading About || My Favorite Tropes

Happy Friday, everyone!

As usual, I’m late to the party, but today, I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon and spill the beans about tropes I absolutely love reading about! Amidst my transportation troubles – I still haven’t figured out the car situation and might’ve torn up my arm and my favorite pair of jeans during a disastrous attempt to steer my bike off the road onto the bicycle lane (darkness ∧ horrible visibility in the rain β‡’ Naemi totally misjudges the height of the curb and gets flung about two meters across the pavement) – I feel like I could use the positivity, you know?

So, in no particular order, let’s get to eleven tropes that I just can’t resist! Although they won’t automatically ensure that I’ll love a book, the mere prospect of a somewhat satisfactory execution will have me grabbing anything associated with these buzzwords! πŸ˜‚


Trope #1: Girl Disguises As Boy To Get Access to Something Denied to Her

Okay, fine. When I said these weren’t in any particular order, I might’ve lied… If there’s one trope whose inclusion is almost certainly guaranteed to make me read a book, it’s this one!

To be honest, I can’t even tell you why I love it so much. Maybe because there’s something enormously satisfying about seeing a character refuse to give up their dreams no matter how high the odds are stacked against them or how stupid the surrounding societal conventions are. Maybe because this trope often goes hand in hand with intense training meant to provide manly physical prowess and I love when characters have to put in a ton of work to get good at something. Maybe because I never really stopped being a tomboy at heart.

Come to think of it, though, I also wouldn’t mind reading the opposite scenario, where a boy has to disguise as a girl to achieve something he wants! It’s just that, excluding Shakespeare, I don’t think I’ve read any super memorable books with that twist yet πŸ€”


Trope #2: Undercover Royalty

I suppose I’m just a sucker for people lying about their identity 😎 While my love for undercover royalty may not quite live up to my love for undercover girls, I am still obsessed with this trope!

And honestly, I don’t care what form it takes. Sure, the best case is probably when royals pass themselves off as commoners so that they can see what life is actually like for the people they rule over and what those people think of them, but I’ll take any variation I can get! Royals pretending to be someone else because their throne was overthrown and they’re scared of being killed? Check. Royals running away and going undercover because they’re scared they will never be able to live up to the role assigned to them? Check. Royals not even knowing they’re royal because their parents hid them away or lost them straight after birth? Bring it on!


Trope #3: Music Scenes Written by Knowledgeable Authors

Music is a huge part of my life, so of course I love seeing it in books! Having characters get so lost in practicing that they are fully immersed in their own world or channel all of their emotions into music because they are otherwise unable to face them is one of my absolute favorite things to read about, and I want more of it!

That is to say, I want more of it when authors can actually write it… Because boy, there’s nothing that pisses me off quite like a music scene where it’s blatantly obvious that the author has never played an instrument in their life and couldn’t even be bothered to google the basics!! 😑 If you can’t do the beauty that is music justice, don’t even bother! But if you can – go right ahead!


Trope #4: Suicidal Characters Who Think the World Would Be Better Off Without Them

Umm… Please don’t judge me too harshly? Or get super worried about me, for that matter? πŸ˜…

I realize this trope might not be entirely unproblematic, but I can’t help it! It’s so good! There’s just something oddly therapeutic and soothing about reading about depressed characters, and besides, we all know I have a faible for the macabre. Plus, books that make me cry are always my favorites, and people wanting to kill themselves is cry-worthy, okay?


Trope #5: Slow-Burn Hate-to-Love Romances – If They’re Forbidden, Even Better!

Yup, I’m evil to the core. Not only am I a fan of my favorite characters contemplating suicide, but I also love when their love life is thoroughly messed up and complicated…

Still, I know for a fact that I’m not alone on this one, so you can’t judge me! You can’t seriously convince me that you’d rather read about some bland, insta-lovey couple with no obstacle in its path than two people who slowly overcome differences, prejudices, and mistrust before they eventually end up together!


Trope #6: Tight-knit Sibling Bonds in Families with Many Kids

As proof that I’m not a completely horrible person, I would like to point out that there are also wholesome tropes I like. And well-written sibling bonds are right at the top of that list!

While siblings are present in numerous novels, I feel like they’re often pushed into the background or used as plot-devices. There’s nothing like a sick little brother to force an unlikely heroine to go on a quest, you know? But I want those sibling relationships to actually be relevant to the story! I want each sibling to have a unique personality, and I don’t only want to see more than the sick sidekick or the evil usurper trying to steal an older sibling’s power. I want close relationships that include everything from anger, jealousy, and tears to banter, goofiness, love, and unconditional support. Coming from a family of six, I guess I just like seeing my own experiences reflected in literature, so big fictional families in particular always worm their way into my heart! πŸ₯°


Trope #7: Animal(ish) Companions

Look – even if the companion in question is nothing more than some talking blob of light, I will be transfixed! I absolutely adore when characters, especially in fantasy novels, have some creature by their side that just gets them, teases them, and is able to pick them up when they’re feeling down. Particularly if that creature is mysterious, somewhat disturbing, and magical!


Trope #8: Unnerving Forms of Artificial Intelligence

Would you honestly expect anything different from someone who wrote her master’s thesis in computer algebra? Of course I think artificial intelligence is one of the most interesting fields ever!! πŸ€“

Particularly if you can’t be entirely sure of the A.I.’s motives. Potentially murderous computer programs that might’ve fallen victim to coding glitches or ethical dilemmata no one ever considered are some of my favorite things ever, and so is getting to explore the question of what makes something sentient. Artificial Intelligence gives so much room to explore cool scientific concepts and intriguing philosophical questions, so obviously, I adore when books include it!


Trope #9: Super Nerdy Scientific or Mathematical Details

Speaking of math and science, I generally can’t get enough of them! Especially when there are lots of nerdy details involved! πŸ€—

Of course, having loads of math in the books is the very best option of all, but in absence of that, I’ll also take anything full of logical-sounding pseudo-scientific explanations… Which is why hard science-fiction and high fantasy with extremely complex, rule-based magic systems are some of my favorite genres ever!


Trope #10: Boarding Schools

Have I ever been to boarding school? Nope. Would I have wanted to go to boarding school? Nope. Not unless the boarding school in question was Hogwarts, that is!

But I love, love, love reading about them! Normal or magical, there’s just something so atmospheric about boarding schools. Following the protagonists to their classes, watching them find their place within the school’s social hierarchies, getting competitive over fictional sports, analyzing the different teachers, and curling up with a cozy blanket while exploring holiday traditions is fun. The school setting is just such a cool backdrop for virtually any other kind of plot, and I can’t get enough!


Trope #11: Books about Books

In spite of my somewhat questionable tastes in tropes, I’m afraid I am going ultimately going to have to out myself as a basic book nerd after all. BOOKS ABOUT BOOKS ARE THE BEST THING EVER!!

I don’t even care what form the bookishness takes. If it’s a book about someone who likes to read, give it to me. If it’s a book about a writer, give it to me. If it’s a book about libraries, give it to me. If it’s a book with a magic system based on books, give it to me. Just bring on that literature!!


And that was it for today! Let me know down below what some of your own favorite tropes are, and whether we have any in common! Also, if you have any book recommendations for me that include these tropes – DO NOT HESITATE TO TELL ME!!

40 thoughts on “Random Stuff I Love Reading About || My Favorite Tropes

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I’m glad we agree! 😊🀴🏫
      And no, I actually haven’t read Dark Matter yet! I’ve heard great things from loads of people, though, so you saying that has only further cemented its spot on my TBR πŸ€—

      Like

  1. Janette says:

    I love this list of tropes Some of them are among my own favourites especially the animal companion one. Have you read The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart. That’s a great example of that one.
    I’m really sorry that your transport problems are continuing. I hope that you manage to get something sorted soon as your bike journey sounds positively dangerous. Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I’ve seen The Bone Shard Daughter floating around, but, no, I haven’t read it yet! I didn’t even know it featured the animal companion trope, so now you’ve definitely got me intrigued πŸ€— Thanks for the recommendation!!

      And I think I’m getting closer to a solution, thankfully πŸ˜… My parents suggested passing my dad’s car onto me because it’s very old and probably doesn’t have that long of a life left anyway. That way, my dad can take his time looking for a new car instead, knowing he will actually need one long-term, and I won’t have to make a really rushed decision and spend a ton of money on a vehicle I might not need any longer than a year… So things are starting to look up!

      Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Ummm… I feel like this is a bad time to admit that I have actually read the first three Expanse books, but wasn’t a the biggest fan… πŸ˜… Sorry!! However, I did love all the science-y stuff in them, so your recommendation skills are undoubtedly flawless! I just wasn’t a huge fan of how the characters were written and somehow felt more and more disconnected from them with every book. But the world-building and plot were epic! And I’m glad we at least agree on those other two tropes! πŸ₯°

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Line @First Line Reader says:

    Even though I knew about most of these, I still loved reading your explanations for them! 😍 If I read something about a girl disguised as a boy, I immediately think of you because you’ve talked about your love for that trope so often! But you really have me intrigued by that opposite idea of a boy disguised as a girl. Like, please! I’d love to see that! Especially in a scenario where it isn’t a joke but the stakes are equally as high as in the girl’s case.

    I love royalty of almost any kind so I’m with you on your #2 and you also reminded me that I have Finnikin of the Rock on my TBR. I think it’s the book that has been on there the longest so I should really get to it at some point πŸ˜…

    I also almost agree with you on #4 about suicidal characters but not quite. You know I love a depressed character so it’s not that but them thinking the world is better off without them? That’s just a character begging for pity and I hate it. I think it’s because so many of these characters actually say/think that sentence exactly and it’s like they just want someone to contradict them meaning they’re not depressed enough (for my taste). Their suicidalness also seems more based in low self-esteem than anything else which I why I don’t think Jude fully embodies this trope although I can understand your inclusion of him. He actually has valid reasons for not wanting to live and I think that’s what I need from characters like that.

    I shouldn’t be able to recommend you stuff anymore but have you read The Great Library series by Rachel Caine? It’s a book about books where owning books is forbidden. I’ve read the first three books which I really enjoyed but then I had to wait for the fourth one and forgot all about it πŸ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      The boy-disguises-as-girl scenario would be so good if it were taken seriously!!! 🀩 I don’t think I’ve ever seen that trope used for any purpose other than comic relief, which is probably why I don’t like it as much as the girl-disguises-as-boy one… But if the stakes were equally high, you bet I’d grab that story immediately!

      And yes, royalty is the best! Or, at least, fictional royalty is πŸ€” I’m not so sure if I’m really a monarchist at heart when it comes to the real world, but I do love reading about my kings, queens, princes, and princesses! I wouldn’t set your expectations exorbitantly high for Finnikin of the Rock, though. In many ways, it’s a pretty basic YA fantasy story… But the royalty trope and politics involved still sold it to me!

      I think I might actually agree on your suicidal characters point to some extent, though. I also don’t like when characters actually say or spell out the part about thinking the world is better off without them – or, to be more precise, I hate when their suicide or suicide attempts feel more about receiving pity than wanting to escape the pain that comes with REALLY believing your life has no meaning. Although there’s also a very fine line between the two – like, Thirteen Reasons Why already teeters dangerously close to the melodramatic pity party version for my tastes, which is probably why I like it a lot less than the other books on that list… But generally, yes, I AM a fan of characters thinking the world is better off without them, particularly when they have valid reasons for thinking it! 😁

      And no, I’ve never even heard of The Great Library series! πŸ˜ƒ I’ll have to see if I can find it somewhere without violating my book buying ban!

      And speaking of acquiring books for free, I guess I should probably say that I agree with the Warbreaker plans you suggested in your last email but was too tired and lazy to respond and let you know that πŸ˜… So in case you didn’t already figure my silence meant agreement, here’s the confirmation!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Line @First Line Reader says:

        Yeah, I’m also not exactly sure if my love for royalty would extend to royals in a contemporary setting πŸ€” Sure, it works in Red, White and Royal Blue but I wouldn’t say I love that BECUASE it was about royals. And don’t worry, my expectations for Finnikin of the Rock isn’t all that high but it was the royalty that drew me to it in the first place and I just have to try it.

        I’ve not read Thirteen Reasons Why but only watched the show so I think I know what you mean about that. And maybe I’ve just read too many cases of characters saying that line out loud so I don’t connect that trope with anything good πŸ˜…

        And I did think your silence meant confirmation but thank you anyway πŸ˜„ It’s also been confirmed that I need to start a few days earlier because it just got announced that season 2 of Young Royals is released on November 1st so I’m not going to care about Warbreaker for the two days it takes me to watch that πŸ˜„πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

        • abookowlscorner says:

          Yeah, same, I also don’t think I like Red, White & Royal Blue because of the royalty πŸ€” It’s Alex and Henry’s entire dynamic that has me drawn to that one!

          Trust me, if you’ve seen the Thirteen Reasons Why show, there’s no need to read the book – it’s one of those rare cases where the show is way better πŸ˜… I mean, the book isn’t terrible, but the side characters are about as fleshed out as the ones in Elantris…

          Also, you’ve successfully managed to distract me from Warbreaker before we even started – I’m way more interested in Young Royals! 🀩 But I suppose that means we’ll at least have something fun to talk about if the book gets too unbearable πŸ˜‰

          Liked by 1 person

  3. volatilemuse says:

    Love this post. The first trope puts me in mind of Yentyl, based on a short story by Isaac Bashevis Singer, that Barbra Steisand made into a film about a young Jewish girl in Poland who dresses as a boy to study the Talmud.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. jan says:

    I love all of these tropes!! When you said books about books I immediately thought of inkheart, and I wasn’t surprised to find the book in your graphic. Girl-disguises-as-a-boy is timeless, and I want more books featuring the opposite (boys disguising as women) as well because that is just as awesome. The only point I feel I might disagree on is about suicidal characters – for me, it only works if it’s in an, idk, fantasy setting with ‘i have to die to save the world’ kind of thing. Or characters who go on these suicide missions because they’ve come to a point where they no longer care whether they live or not. Or you know, characters who get themselves killed to save someone else.
    Great post!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Yay, I’m glad I’m not alone! And I had a feeling you might he happy about the Inkheart inclusion… 😁

      From the sound of it, though, we’re definitely not alone on the boys-disguising-as-girls front either, so authors really need to get onto that. It would be so epic if done right! 🀩

      Our suicidal opinions do diverge a bit, however πŸ˜‚ Characters sacrificing themselves to save the world or someone they love are alright, I guess, but they just can’t compete with those truly depressed protagonists who want to die simply because they no longer see the point in living! I’m afraid I inevitably fall for those characters ever single time… πŸ˜…

      Like

  5. Sophie @ Me & Ink says:

    Oh no, I’m sorry you injured yourself (and your jeans) on your bike!! *sends you all the positivity and hopefully some new jeans*
    The girl disguises herself as boy is a good, rare trope. It reads as a fun, intense adventure with a lot of importance too. But you are right it is rarely vice versa~~ I can only think of Achilles doing it in The Iliad but it isn’t a major plot point really!
    Suicidal characters can be written well or poorly, but I like that books provide space to talk about these feelings, especially when there is still stigma around depression/suicide in society. I feel like people want to/more comfortable to delete the thoughts than actually listen so books talking openly can be really important. It invokes a lot of emotion for sure!
    Ahh… So many of these tropes, no all of these tropes are amazing and I love them too! I could honestly gush about each one but then we will be here all day πŸ˜‚ thank you for the recommendations though, I need to read them. I am definitely curious about the scientific/mathematical detail books!
    Thank you for this post and all the fabulous tropes mentioned! πŸ’—

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Yeah, that bike ride was not one of my smartest moments… I’m lucky it’s cold enough for long sleeves so that I can at least successfully hide all the bruises 🀣

      And I’m thrilled to see so many people are on board with the boy-disguises-as-girl thing! I had completely forgotten about that aspect of the Iliad, but I also don’t think that kind of execution is necessarily the one I want. I mean, the only reason Achilles dresses as a woman in the first place is because he wants to avoid being sent to war, not because he actually wants access to something he can’t have as a man πŸ€” And there isn’t really much interaction with the women or social commentary on gender roles involved… For me, I think that desperation to have something society won’t give to you and the identification with aspects of the role you’re impersonating is what makes this trope so great, so not getting that is frustrating!

      Also, I’m 100% with you on the suicide and depression thing! I think a big reason why I love those kinds of books so much is precisely because they explore thoughts that you’re never really supposed to voice if you want to be regarded as a functioning member of society… I love that those books break that barrier at least a little!

      Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by, and I really hope you end up loving the scientific and mathematical details of you ever end up checking those books out! πŸ˜πŸ’™

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sophie @ Me & Ink says:

        Ouch, bruises always let you know they are there!

        I agree the Iliad doesn’t really get into what it means to be a woman or why Achilles would need this. I feel like it has potential in a retelling, but this just reminded me **the brain cogs slowly turn** about Wrath Goddess Sing by Maya Deane– an Iliad retelling which has trans rep so not focusing on impersonating but it can explore those themes in some manner. I haven’t read it yet though.

        I am definitely thankful that books can break barriers in their own way.

        Thank youuu πŸ’—πŸ’—

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Suhani says:

    NOOO GOOD LUCK WITH THE TRANSPORTATION SITUATION, hoping the bike works out at the end lol!

    The girl disguised as a buy is honestly such a cool trope it’s also kinda funny seeing them try to act like a boy HAHAH
    UNDERCOVER ROYALTY IS SO AMAZING, unfortunately I haven’t read too many books with that trope ( only watched a few movies, namely the princess switch , but they’ve been amazing soooo )

    In regard with the fourth trope you’ve mentioned a character who I think the world would be better off without is Peeta HAHAH 😎

    SLOW BURN HATE TO LOVE ROMANCES ARE MY ULTIMATE FAVORITE TROPE I’M SO GLAD IT’S MENTIONED ON THIS LIST!
    Oh yes we need an abundance of math in books, it’s the best option out there! I’m RUNNING to read all the books you’ve mentioned with this trope haha

    LOVE THIS SO MUCH!!! ❀ ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Haha, thanks! Injuries aside, at least all this biking is whipping me into shape! 🀣 And my arm, though still green and covered in scratches, has finally stopped hurting! πŸ₯³

      AND AHHHHH, I LOVE UNDERCOVER ROYALTY MOVIES!! πŸ€— Maybe not quite as much as the undercover royalty books, but still… They’re epic, especially around Christmas time!

      HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT ABOUT PEETA, THOUGH!! 😀😀😀😀😀 I AM SERIOUSLY THINKING OF TERMINATING THIS FRIENDSHIP. SUCH EVIL SHOULD BE FORBIDDEN!! DON’T THINK I WILL EVER FORGIVE YOU, SUHANI!!! (Even if you’re totally right about the slow burn hate-to-love romances and math πŸ₯°)

      Like

  7. Nehal Jain says:

    Wow I’ve only read like three to four books in this list the horror πŸ™‚.
    And i don’t relate to most of these tropes NGL. I relate to slow burn romance though, that’s just amazing!
    But animal companions, maths, books about books and pretty much everything in here is something that i have no strong feelings for πŸ˜‚.
    But loved this list!

    Liked by 1 person

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