So what is a love triangle? I think that a love triangle requires one character, who has the affection of two other characters. Does this love have to be reciprocated by the protagonist? I think it does. I think that, in order to be a love triangle, both love interests have to be a possible outcome. No unrequited loved. This is not a "rule", but merely my opinion.
So many readers, these days, complain about love triangles in YA books. Have they lost their charm? Back when Twilight was published, I don't remember anyone complaining about love triangles. Then again, there weren't a lot of YA books, and those YA books didn't feature love triangles. Twilight's success made the triangle trope famous, and whether intentional or not, more love triangles followed.
I, for one, would like to read a book where a guy and girl go on an ordinary date.
When done right, love triangles can be engrossing and it can add tension to an already fantastic book. And we all read to escape reality, so what's the harm in writing about a little love triangle?
With these thoughts in mind, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite (and least favorite) triangles. I will try to not "spoil" the books mentioned, but you have be warned.
Celeana, Chaol, and Dorian from Throne of Glass. This is another love triangle that just works. Both Chaol and Dorian are great possible love interests, and each compliments Celeana in a unique way. Celeana also doesn't come off as "wishy washy", because she actually makes a choice by the end of book one. The story isn't over, though, and I honestly have no clue who she'll end up with. This is a love triangle done right.
Juliette, Adam, and Warner from Shatter Me: I will try not to "spoil" this series, but I do think Juliette ended up with the right guy. Even so, I felt manipulated. We are meant to feel one way about the two main love interests, only to have them make a 180 turn in the final book. This is not only confusing, but frustrating. And I don't think it's fair to the readers.
Nikki, Jack, and Cole from Everneath: This is not a love triangle, based on my definition. And maybe that's why I chose to use it as an example. My disappointment with this triangle had nothing to do with who Nikki ended up with, but how Brodi Ashton used a particular plot device to get to the end. One particular love interest becomes a completely different person, and I realized there was only one way this love triangle could end. Knowing this sucked the life out of the "love triangle", and I lost interest.
I appreciate how relationships grow and mold a character, but not every love triangle is good. And not every love triangle is bad. I try not to judge a book, based on whether or not it has a love triangle, but we all know that's easier said than done.
Now, I've come to the conclusion that I don't like it when love triangles feel forced. Or when authors seem to mold characters a certain way, and when they manipulate our feelings to root for one character over another. You can't change a character's personality, without sacrificing what made the love triangle a love triangle.
On the other hand, I tend to appreciate love triangles that really challenge me. I appreciate when the author present two love interests that are both good choices. I just don't want the choice to be obvious; I want to be surprised. Yes, this is a personal preference, but I wonder if anyone else out there feels the same way.
So what are your favorite love triangles? What are some of your least favorite love triangles? Are you turned off when you hear that a book has a love triangle? Do you still enjoy reading them? Let me know your thoughts below.