Favorite Tropes

Hey readers! Today is Tuesday and it’s time for another Top 10. This bookish meme was hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and has been going since June 2010! Since January 2018 Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today it is all about my favorite tropes/themes in books.

1. Locked Room/Closed Mystery. You know, the ones where there’s a small group of people, isolated from the outside, and someone turns up dead. One of them just be the killer, but who? It’s even better if it was a locked room, where no one could get in or out, so how did the do it? Check out Cards on the Table or Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie for more.

2. Shakespeare retelling. I love the Bard! Any strong Shakespeare connection and I want it! One exception is Romeo & Juliet. I think that one’s overdone. See The Dead Father’s Club by Matt Haig or Light Thickens by Ngaio Marsh.

3. Unreliable Narrator. Sure, that’s what they say happened, but how do you know for sure? This one is so much fun as it makes the reader treat the book as a puzzle. No examples here, because it’s kind of a spoiler.

4. The heist. I love these! The problem of planning a really good crime and then the way it inevitably falls apart. Try Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo or Not A Penny More, Not A Penny Less by Jeffrey Archer.

5. Lone Survivor. Where our main character is stranded or trapped and has to survive alone. Sometimes there’s help coming, but sometimes they’re being hunted. Try The Martian by Andy Weir or The 39 Steps by John Buchan for a really old school take.

6. Redemption Arc. Give me someone who’s down and forgotten, with a debt to repay. But don’t give me someone really evil – that’s too much. I just love someone who is trying to change. Marvel’s Black Widow or The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson.

7. Theater. Not quite the same as the Shakespeare theme, this is just a book set during the production of a play. I don’t know why, but I love this so much! Theater Shoes by Noel Streitfield or Exit Actors, Dying by Margot Arnold.

8. Epistolary books. Those are books told in letters. For a middle grade, try Letters from Camp by Kate and Sarah Klise or Sorcery & Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede for older readers.

9. On board a train/boat. Maybe it’s because I’d love to travel more, or maybe it’s the fact that it’s another kind of Locked Room, but I eat these up. There’s The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie or Night Ferry to Death by Patricia Moyes.

10. Metafiction. Books about books, characters who know they’re characters, authors who insert themselves into the story, any or all of these. When it’s not well done it’s just aggravating, but when it is – wow, I love that. Try Woman with a Blue Pencil by Gordon McAlpine or Poison by Chris Wooding.

What are your favorite tropes? Which ones do you hate? And tell me any recommendations you have based on my faves!

7 thoughts on “Favorite Tropes

  1. So many good picks! I’m partial to theatre and Shakespeare retellings! I can’t get sick of the latter, when it’s done right. I feel like it’s been ages since I’ve stumbled upon any really good ones though so that needs to be fixed ASAP!

    Liked by 1 person

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