Monday, October 24, 2011

Acceptable Love Triangles

At this point, you're probably thinking, wait, did I read that title right?  To which I say... Yes, you did because even I, a self-professed love triangle hater, can acknowledge that there are some love triangles which actually advance a story, and ever since Malinda Lo's defense of love triangles, I've been thinking about which ones I might say I thought were acceptable...

**Spoilers maybe if you haven't read some of these books.  I mostly speak in general terms but still thought I should warn you regardless.

1. Mimi/Jack/Schuyler

  • What: the Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz
  • When: Books 1-4, I think
  • Why: Because for one, hallelujah, it's a boy who's choosing between two equally acceptable girls.  And two, Schuyler is the girl from the 'light' and her mother is the Angel all the other fallen vampiric angels follow... while Mimi is Jack's other half, the other pair to the dark Angels.  Having a love triangle where Jack is essentially choosing between light and dark and which side of himself he wants to embrace, regardless of whether or not his choice will lead to his death, is acceptable, I think.

2. Seth/Aslinn/Keenan

  • What: the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr
  • When: throughout the series
  • Why: To be honest, I'm a little iffy about this one. It was painfully obvious from the start who Ash would choose but the triangle was directly tied to the plot.  If Keenan and Ash got together, then Donia as the scorned Winter Queen would forever be their enemy.  If Seth and Ash got together... well, then, where does Keenan the Summer King fit and how would their subjects react?  In general, there is something to be said about how Marr resolved this issue.  Resolving it via plot and also having the guy get a backbone / some pride and back out before it's too late = win win situation.

3. David/Laurel/Tamani

  • What: the Wings series by Aprilynne Pike
  • When: throughout the series, but I like it the most in Illusions.
  • Why: In Illusions, I finally grew to like this triangle.  Why?  Because it started to reflect Laurel's inner struggles and what type of life she wanted to choose.  Finally it seemed like David was the guy who represented the SAT scores and the college admissions and who would stay by her side through all the "normal" activities while Tamani was the guy who would always understand Laurel's faerie activities, who would take her to Avalon, and who has known her her whole life.  And more importantly, I loved that Laurel actually said NO to both guys (though it was a kind of weak "no," since she and Tamani have make-out sessions after that).

4. Damon/Elena/Stefan

  • What: the Vampire Diaries series by L.J. Smith
  • When: throughout the series though I don't think they portray Damon's role well enough in the t.v. series
  • Why: Because to me, they represent two different sides of human nature.  In the t.v. series, Damon is much more tame; he has his vampiric moments when he's like screw-all-of-you-i-will-kill-this-chick but most of the times, he seems to fight for Elena's affections by struggling to be the better man.  Which is not how I remember him from the books.  In the books, Damon is very much the "dark prince." He is glad to be a vampire; he revels in taking blood from other people and influencing others. He doesn't apologize and is increasingly stubborn. I can't remember him ever denying his nature as "the bad boy." I think he even asks Elena to be his Dark Queen or something like that... Whereas Stefan is the tortured soul fighting for his humanity.  He is the "good guy."  So to me, it makes sense that there would be a love triangle; naturally, Elena would choose the good guy... but we all have some darkness in us so she also somewhat identifies with Damon.  (This is where the t.v. series screws up... especially with this season.  Role reversal much?)
-Another example of this type of triangle can be found in All You Desire, the second book of The Eternal Ones series by Kirsten Miller.

Basically, the only ones I find acceptable are the ones that tell you something about the character... and even then, I still don't like to read them.

Anddd, either my brain is fried or I literally cannot think of other love triangles I find acceptable.  My companion post (Hated Love Triangles) will be put up tomorrow.  Let's just say that that list is much longer than this one :).

What do you think?  What triangles do you find acceptable?  Do you agree / disagree with the ones I've listed?

I welcome any and all opinions :).


  1. I actually haven't read any of these books (I know! I'm awful) but I appreciate that you did a post on this because there ARE times when love triangles advance the plot and are crucial to the story... then there are others when they really don't seem to matter at all. I put up a similar post with questions last week about relationships in YA, and one of those topics dealt with love triangles and if they ever have a place in books.

    Brenna from Esther's Ever After

  2. I totally agree with you! the only ones I haven't read are the wings series, but all the other love triangles I really like. I especially love TVD love triangle (I'm a complete Damon fan). I agree that the tv show gets him a little bit wrong, but I still enjoy it (and ian somerhalder)

    The Cait Files

  3. Love this post! Although, I've never been much of a fan of Mimi. So that one I could do without. But I love the love Triangles in the other books. :) I have my favorites, of course, but they're still pretty fun!

  4. I'm not a fan of the Wicked Lovely series, but I thought the relationships in this book were rather...unstimulating? I'm not sure that's quite the word, but something was missing. A twist that I wouldn't have seen coming, but would have worked for me, would have been for Aslinn to choose Keenan instead. That would've spiced things up.

    The triangle in A Beautiful Dark worked pretty well for me, too.

  5. I love all your posts about your YA pet peeves. Definitely this one. And actually, I think the only true love triangle I've ever tried is the one in my NaNo novel, which hopefully won't come off as too forced. But I agree with you--if you're going to have the triangle, PLEASE make it say something about the character.

    (Not even going to lie right now. I still think Mockingjay would've been better had Katniss decided she didn't need Gale or Peeta.)

  6. lol Chessie, wait 'till tomorrow's "Hated Love Triangles" post. I actually mention the Gale/Katniss/Peeta one too :).

    @ Kaye - I can see that. I love Melissa Marr's writing, but Aslinn also did come off as rather passive for me too. I also wanted to her to be with Keenan because while Aslinn was passive and lacked appeal for me, Seth was way too perfect... and Keenan was the only one with spine between all three of them.

    @ Sarah - yeah, I'm not that much of a Mimi fan, but I do like that she's a strong character at least and not the totally bitchy other half, you know? She is bitchy, but she's also redeemable, which a lot of boy-centered triangles don't do.

    And also, I don't know if I'd agree with any triangles being fun ;P.

    @ Cait - yes, definitely. I love TVD on t.v. too. Just figured the one on the TV wouldn't really fit what was I trying to say here.

    @ Brenna - definitely. The Wicked Lovely one seems the most plot-advancing because it's the most directly tied to the plot. I think it'd be really fun to see another type of political thriller love triangle. (Side note -- are there many political oriented things in YA anyways?)

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  8. Completely agree with The Vampire Diaries. They both provide different choices for Elena, which makes her decision a reflection on her chosen path. In regards to the TV show, I don't really consider it the same series. Yes, the characters all have the same names and some similar physical traits, but honestly, that's where the similarities end. Everything else is different.

  9. I was curious to read this one because personally I have yet to enjoy a love triangle. I find it acceptable that more than one person is interested in the same girl/guy and that the girl/guy might need a little while to figure out his/her feelings, but anything of a longer duration just gets me irritated.

    I can appreciate your reason for those particular books. Thanks for the discussion.


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