There are some overdone plot devices that get a lot of flack. None more so than the infamous love-triangle, right?
Personally, I’m not on the love-triangle cheering-squad. It’s awkward. I mean, I think, realistically, any romance is going to be awkward. But if someone genuinely can’t decide between two guys, I think they’d start to wonder about themselves. Also, it gets me in epic books. When you’re fighting for your survival, or leading a rebellion, or saving the world, or waging guerrilla warfare on an army, what’s going to be going through your mind? Who do I like better, Tom or Harry? Really?
(And I’m not saying all love triangles are like this, obviously. I’m speaking from the stereotype, which is very broad, I know.)
A large stereotype of the love-triangle is the “good boy” versus “bad boy.” This also manifests as “the boy she’s known her whole life” and “the boy she just met.” And these can change around, of course. Like I said. Speaking from the stereotype.
I know a lot of people go for the bad boy. They’re “cooler”, right? They can win fights, run a thousand miles without rest, handle a weapon, have a connection with something paranormal, or are, in the least descriptive of terms, “hot.”
Myself? I do not go for the bad boy. Practically ever. Like, woah, people! He’s violent! Volatile! And usually very, very jealous once he gets the girl. And did I say violent? They’re usually assassins!
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (I’ve only seen the movie, so I’m not an authority or anything.)
Jace was all creepy-creepy demon-hunter (the first time she met him, she thought he was murdering a dude in a night-club. Warning bells, Clary?) Simon, on the other hand, she’d known for a long time, he had a sense of humour, and he had pretty much been there for her her entire life.
Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
Luke is all creepy-fairy-assassin dude. (Though he plays the flute. Bonus points.) He doesn’t have a soul. And he’s tasked with killing the main character. (Warning bells, Dee?) James on the other hand, has known her for a long time, has an epic sense of humour, and has pretty much been there her entire life. (I sense a pattern!)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Gale is all let’s-start-a-rebellion-in-which-everyone-will-die. He cared for her family, and knew her for a long time, yeah, but he had a pretty cruel streak, some anger issues, and not much conscience. (At least by Mockingjay.) Peeta on the other hand, had saved her life years ago, had a brilliant sense of sarcastic humour, and kept on doing whatever he could to save Katniss’ life. He also valued human life. A lot.
Now don’t mind me, but I see some obvious choices here. Uhhh, hellooo, girl? Some of those guys would have killed you/let you die at some point in the story. So what is with this whole, “I go for the bad guy, he’s more masculine and dangerous and hot!” thing? What is appealing about a guy who has killed people? In my mind, no comprehendo. At all.