Happy Tuesday, friends! Today I’m doing a tag, which is my first in a while.
This is the In or Out Book Tag, created by my pal Rick from BookTube. Essentially, you give your thoughts and opinions on different tropes and other book-related topics, and say whether you’re “in” (you like it) or “out” (you dislike it). So let’s get into my opinions!
1. Reading the Last Page First: this is something my mom used to do all the time. She didn’t want to waste her time with a book that was going to have an unsatisfactory ending which, honestly, I respect. But, it’s not something I do myself. Verdict: out
2. Enemies to Lovers: I have no strong feelings about this trope tbh. Sometimes, it can be so good and I love it. Other times, it’s just awkwardly toxic without actually being outright terrible. BUT I think I’m going to have to go with an in verdict because I will often overlook the toxicity if the relationship is fun.
3. Dream Sequences: sorry Rick, but I don’t actually hate dream sequences. Are they my favourite? No. But, once again, I don’t have strong feelings. I do lean towards out though, because I find they can be convoluted and lazy sometimes. Like, instead of showing us, the author will “show” us through a dream sequence. Just be a better writer idk. Verdict: out
4. Love Triangles: okay this might be somewhat controversial, but I don’t hate love triangles. I think when they’re well-done, they can be good. HOWEVER, they are more often very poorly done and just not enjoyable. So this is an out verdict from me.
5. Cracked Spines: I literally do not care if my books’ spines get cracked. Wish it was me, tbh. Books are meant to be used, not to be displayed perfectly and never touched. Verdict: in
6. Back to My Small Town: I’m not really a fan of this trope. It’s not something I gravitate towards in books or movies. It’s actually usually something that’ll make me go “hmm, maybe not” if I see it prominently in a book’s description. But if I read a book with the trope in it, I usually don’t hate it. It’s just not really something I’m interested in reading. Verdict: out
7. Monsters Are Regular People: now this trope is one that I should love, but I feel is so often done poorly. When done well, it is so good. But it’s usually just a cheap twist. “ooOoo maybe wE’RE the baD GuYs”. So it ends up being one of my favourite tropes in theory but not in practice. Verdict: in in theory, out in practice
8. No Paragraph Breaks: okay this is something I have strong feelings about. GIVE YOUR BOOKS PARAGRAPH BREAKS. Please, I am BEGGING. If I look at a book and it’s a solid block of text, I’m not reading it. If I can’t tell who dialogue belongs to, I’m not reading it. Sorry not sorry. Verdict: out
9. Multi-Generational Sagas: I LOVE multi-generational sagas so much. As soon as I hear a book is a multi-generational saga, I am immediately 19x more interested in it. 10/10 god-tier trope. Verdict: in every time
10. Re-Reading: I like rereading! I don’t do it a ton because there are more new books I’d rather read, but I am a fan of rereading. I typically reread at least one favourite book every year. Verdict: in
11. Artificial Intelligence: another one I have no strong feelings about. I am super interested in AI in real life, but I’m not really interested in fiction about AI. So I guess this one is an out verdict.
12. Drop Caps: I think drop caps look super fun and fancy, but they won’t make or break a book for me obviously. Imagine if I rated a book up or down because of the drop caps lol. Anyway, this is an in verdict because they look fun and cool.
13. Happy Endings: I like happy endings!!! There’s enough bad in the world that I just want characters to be happy!! Especially when it’s a romance or has a relationship at the forefront, or the book has just been one bad thing after another after another. Like, please just let my characters be happy jfc. Verdict: in
14. Plot Points That Only Converge At the End: yes!!!! Yes!!! More of these, PLEASE! I love books with plot points that only converge at the end. Or that make you go 😮 near the end. I had that moment recently reading a book, and it hadn’t happened in so long, and it was the best. Verdict: in, 1000% of the time
15. Detailed Magic Systems: okay so I have complicated thoughts on detailed magic systems. On the one hand, fuck yes, I want to learn all about the magic and like when there’s some reasoning behind and limitations to the magic. I like when things are internally consistent. On the other hand, I don’t like being weighed down by often unnecessary details. “We can’t do this thing because I don’t have this specific rock” UGH THEN WHY EVEN HAVE MAGIC. I still want some mystery and intrigue, because it is MAGIC after all. It also depends on whether the book is strictly fantasy or more urban fantasy/magical realism. Because I am 100% more forgiving of any type of magic system for fantasy books (detailed or not), but I am very picky for magical realism and urban fantasy. For magical realism/urban fantasy, I want literally no explanation at all, as long as it is clearly magical. I think my ideal magic system is the one from the Darker Shades of Magic trilogy, honestly. There were well-defined rules, but the plot wasn’t bogged down or hindered because of it. Anyway, this huge ramble was really just to give a verdict of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, I am picky
16. Classic Fantasy Races: I like some classic fantasy races, and can’t stand others. Basically, I love dragons and am not a fan of everything else. I just find it kind of cheesy? Idk, just not my thing. Verdict: out
17. Unreliable Narrators: I’m a fan of unreliable narrators in theory, but usually not in practice, but also sometimes in practice. They’re one of those things that, when done well, are done really well and end up being some of my favourites. But I find when they’re done by a novice author, they can just be convoluted and used as a way to make up for plot holes. So I’m giving these a cautiously in verdict.
18. Evil Protagonists: like Rick said in his video, this trope is really good when it’s “you think you’re cheering for the hero but they’re actually the villain”. Like, that is so so so good. But I’m not super interested in stories about villains or from the villain’s perspective. Verdict: in when you don’t know they’re evil, out when you do you
19. The Chosen One: even though some really great books have this trope and are done really well and I don’t think this is an inherently bad trope, I do think it’s overdone and for that reason am saying I’m out. This trope really had it’s moment in the early and mid-2000s, and I think it’s time to move on. I want more stories about protagonists who step up to be the leader, not get thrust into that role. Verdict: out
20. When the Protagonist Dies: for me, this depends on the type of book. If it’s a high-stakes book, killing off one of your protagonists can be so good for the story. But I also hate it when the book is (1) low stakes or (2) was leading up to a relationship for several hundred pages just to kill one of them. So my verdict is out for most books.
21. Really Long Chapters: no thanks. I like my chapters short and sweet. I just find long chapters can weigh down a story and hinder my enjoyment. That being said, chapters that are too short can make a book feel choppy. But overall, I like short chapters better. Verdict: out
22. French Flaps: okay so I like the look of french flaps, but I find books with them hard to hold. They’re fun and pretty, but at a cost. However, I am an aesthetics bitch so I would probably choose french flaps over a regular soft cover. Verdict: cautiously in
23. Deckled Edges: tbh I don’t hate deckled edges. I think they fun and old timey. Sure, they make it harder to flip pages, but I just admitted to being an aesthetics bitch so it’s a small price imo. Verdict: in
24. Signed Copies by the Author: a book being signed is not something that will push me to buy or preorder a book, with some very few exceptions (Celeste Ng and Sally Rooney, please). I do have a few signed copies, and they’re nice and fun to have. But it’s not something I’m super into. Verdict: out
25. Dog-Earing Pages: I dog-ear some of my books, especially my used books. I used to dog-ear more than I do now, but it’s definitely not something I’m opposed to. Verdict: in
26. Chapter Titles Instead of Numbers: I like when chapters have titles, but honestly, I almost never notice. I could not tell you a single chapter title I’ve ever read. I almost never actually read them. The exception I can remember is The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness, where the chapter titles were related to the secondary plot and were fun. But overall, I never notice chapter titles. Verdict: out but not opposed
So there are my thoughts on some common tropes and book-related things! What I learned from this is that Rick and I have pretty different tastes tbh, and also that I am as indecisive as always.
But what about you? Do you disagree with me on any of these? Do you have strong feelings about any of them? Let me know!