Friday, January 2, 2015

Love Triangle, Shmove Triangle

I didn't plan to write a Love Triangle. Really.
In writing Becoming Beauty I struggled to reconcile my love for the classic Beast with my dislike for the Prince he transforms into. Somehow that struggle translated into the creation of two distinct male characters: the crabby Beast and his companion, Jack, who both fall in love with Bella.  That, of course, results in romance, humor, and a fair amount of jealousy. Yes, it's a Love Triangle. Since it came up in a review* (notice I'm not ranting here), I thought I'd give you my take on Love Triangles in literature by discussing a few prime examples:

The Twilight Conundrum:
Bella, Edward, and Jacob (blech)

Although my main character has the same name as Stephanie Meyer's, I hope my Bella deals with the entanglements of the heart in a more mature fashion. Bemoaning your sad, sad life while two men who would do anything to make you happy fight over you seems like a waste of time, waterworks, and hunky-hunky men. Also, the resolution of this Love Triangle was a little creepy, if you ask me. Especially if you're either one of the men. (Really, why should Bella have her cake and eat it too? No one else is offered that option. And in my mind, underdog Jacob--pun not intended--is a much more likable character. Sunny, daring, and fun rates higher than Ice Man in my opinion.)

Teen Angst and Tigers--The Tiger's Curse Series:
Kelsey, Ren, and Kishan (better)
This is another Young Adult series featuring two beefy brothers who fall for the same girl. Though certainly less well-known than the Twilight Series, The Tiger's Curse introduces the Love Triangle between Kelsey and the beautiful Indian brothers, Ren and Kishan. I think the key is that the audience knows which of the two Kelsey prefers, even if she hasn't figured it out completely. (She is a teenager after all. What do they know?) The only possible flaw is that Kelsey actually acts like a teen, which can be annoying at times. Unless teen angst is your thing.

Love & the Supernatural--The Mortal Instruments: 
Jace, Clary, Simon...& a few more thrown in for fun (fantastic!)
Recently finding its way to the big screen, this Love Triangle is much more on target. Not only does the audience know who Clary prefers, but so does she. Clary is a fabulous female lead with brains, skills of her own, and a certain level of maturity. The behind-the-scenes tension (beyond the engaging plot) that drives the story is the will-they-won't-they of her relationship with dynamic Jace. It's a stellar example of a Love Triangle done very well. (And let's be honest, there's probably more than one Love Triangle in this series...) My only beef is with Jace's character. I have a hard time loving and rooting for someone so erratic that I want to throw a shoe at him. (Though that's better than Twilight, where I wanted to throw the entire series of books at Bella Swan's head.)

Shadowhunters meet Old England--The Infernal Devices
Will, Tessa, and Jem (FABULOUS!)
The prequel series to The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices follows the path of seemingly normal Tessa who stumbles onto the world of shadowhunters, werewolves, and vampires. Will and Jem--gentlemen, best friends, and comrades in arms--both claim her attention from the get-go. The reader quickly learns who Tessa prefers, but whether self-destructive Will is capable of letting her in is another matter entirely. Indeed it's Will's actions, paired with Jem's kindness, that push her into Jem's arms. (Can you tell I LOVE this one?) However, over the course of the series, Will's true character is revealed. Cassandra Clare does a magnificent job of presenting two equally wonderful heroes and a dynamic heroine who could choose either one. My only issues are a) the finale (though it's perfectly satisfactory, it has issues similar to--if less creepy than--Twilight) and b) the fact that they haven't made this into a series of movies yet! Seriously, the costumes alone would be amazing!

This obviously isn't a comprehensive list. I could add The Selection Series, The Mocking Jay Series, as well as a load of others. But I'd rather know what you think. What are some of your favorite Love Triangles in literature? Or do you condemn them altogether? Please leave me a comment! 

*By the way, my favorite criticism of Becoming Beauty was that it contained a Love Triangle within a Love Triangle. One reader in particular found this difficult to stomach. My only rebuttal is it's all part of the Beast's history and Bella's path to becoming Beauty. (Did you see what I did there?) 

FYI, dear friends, I didn't set out to write a Love Triangle. I set out to write an origin story

* * *

If you'd like to learn more about Becoming Beauty and jump into the conversation, here are a few links:
Barnes & Noble
Also, each of the above books' titles are linked to their webpages. So you can quickly jump to any you'd like to learn more about. As always, thanks for dropping in!

No comments:

Post a Comment