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Getting in the middle: Love triangles

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True Blood love triangle: Eric, Sookie and Bill

Love triangle a la Charlaine Harris: Eric, Sookie and Bill

One of the highlights of this month’s group read pickNightshade by Andrea Cremer — is the fantastic love triangle. Sure, the love triangle is a tried plot point in romance. To the point it can be tired if not done right (or at least uniquely). That’s the beauty of the love push-and-pull in Nightshade, it’s a true triangle. Both options are good. It’s one book where friends will end up on opposite “sides” and wonder “how could you possibly want her with him?”

The protagonist Calla has two strong options in Ren and Shay. One knows her world, has known her forever and wants to take care of her in the way her community (werewolves) expects. But Shay offers her freedom, choice and is supportive. Both are hot guys with tinges of rule-breaker. But neither is a bad guy or the perfect guy. They’re just both good options. (For the record, we’re 100 percent Team Shay because we like a guy who encourages a woman to think for herself, even if that means not choosing him.)

In typical VBC fashion, we put the call out on Twitter for favorite love triangles, and oh did we get responses. Here are the most popular ones (with attributes to the first person to tweet the triangle to us).

  • Calla/Shay/Ren in Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (@VampBookClub, @TheSpinecraker)
  • Rose/Dimitri/Adrian in Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead (@Personafied)
  • Eric/Sookie/Bill in the Southern Vampire Mysteries/Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris (@CiaraNGhabhann)
  • Clary/Jace/Simon in The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare (@rebeccamvj)
  • Anita/Richard/Jean-Claude in the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton (@KO_Hawkeye)
  • Faythe/Jace/Marc in the Shifters series by Rachel Vincent (@bookwormbabble)
  • Adam/Mercy/Sam in the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs (@BeasBookNook)
  • Dana/Ethan/Erlking in Glimmerglass by Jenna Black (@CLMcCune)

Do you agree with the Twitter followers’ favorites? Tell us which love triangles are your favorites? What does it take to make a triangle work?

17 Responses to “Getting in the middle: Love triangles”

  1. Kim Mullican says:

    I am a total Truebie! I can’t wait for the new season! So, this has to be my favorite love triangle!

  2. I love True Blood, especially Eric. I think that for a love triangle to work there has to be equal elements physical attraction and denial of the attraction plus a situation tht arises which makes one of the parties suddenly look good in the eyes of the person fighting their attraction. They begin to second guess their initial repulsion or denial of the attraction which complicates things even more.

  3. Cem says:

    I hate love triangles. I used to be okay with them, even though I never really enjoyed them much and then I started reading more and more books with them and my dislike went to hate. They just, with exception when they’re very well done, rub me the wrong way. I tire of them wondering most often: do they really need to be there?

    And, don’t hate me for this, I disagree about the Shay/Calla/Ren triangle being an example of a good one. Shay isn’t needed at all. Or, he could be just a friend, or just some random person with the right comment here or there to lead Calla to her discoveries. I find little to like about Shay, he’s a good guy sure, but I find him so bland. Ren on the other hand, I love. I don’t believe he’d stop Calla growing or taking charge either, and I think he’d learn to encourage it as well. Now, Nightshade lovers, don’t hate me for this because I totally respect the other opinions, but for me, the love triangle just doesn’t work.

    For a love triangle to work for me, it has to be exceptional. Well written, as equal as possible, and with real reasons. I have to like both guys enough to consider the girls indecision justified. They need to allow growth as well or they tend to just fall flat. Love triangles that work for me: Marc/Faythe/Jace (tho she picked wrong ;)) in Shifters, Tucker/Clara/Christian in Unearthly. And to a certain extent, the one between Alex/Lacey/Brendon in The Cresent works as well, I don’t like Alex all that much, but the story really works.

    I’ve found, more and more lately, that if I’m reading a book with a love triangle in it and I am solidly on one team, I tend to just feel irritated and almost want to put the book down when the girl is with the wrong guy. I’m impaitent and I’m like ‘hurry up and realise you’re being a moron please’. At which point, the rest of the story has to be good enough for me to push on and try and ignore it. I fully believe a series can be ruined for me, if the main character picks the wrong person. I get far too involved and wrapped up in storylines 😉

    Disclaimer: I mean no offence to anyone who likes love triangles, I just hate them 🙂

    • iamjenai says:

      “And, don’t hate me for this, I disagree about the Shay/Calla/Ren triangle being an example of a good one. Shay isn’t needed at all. Or, he could be just a friend, or just some random person with the right comment here or there to lead Calla to her discoveries. I find little to like about Shay, he’s a good guy sure, but I find him so bland. Ren on the other hand, I love. I don’t believe he’d stop Calla growing or taking charge either, and I think he’d learn to encourage it as well. Now, Nightshade lovers, don’t hate me for this because I totally respect the other opinions, but for me, the love triangle just doesn’t work.”

      I AGREE with Cem! HAPPY that im not the only one who didnt like Shay and love Ren!

      the best is Adrian/Dimitri and Rose, funniest love triangle for me was the Richard/Anita/Jean Claude conflict.

      i love eric but i love bill more!

    • Ina says:

      I totally agree with you guys!! I soo love Ren!! Shay is a nice guy but he just doesn’t appeal to me. I certainly hate it when Calla was thinking about Ren for a moment but would always end up with Shay lingering in her thoughts..
      At the time of this post, I still haven’t finished the book, jsyk.

      As for the topic, I’m for Stefan-Elena-Damon love triangle. I just love the sweet-caring-Stefan and the dark-aggressive-Damon, and would be thrilled trading places with Elena anytime..

  4. Nachtangel says:

    It depends how they are done, sometimes I like them, but they do get frustrating too, and with some (Rose’s to be exact) I end up feeling really bad for the ‘loser’ but then again sometimes I’m sitting there going ‘OMG WHY ARE YOU SO STUPID!?’ I also hate it when it is so obvious who they will end up with, because it’s kinda like why bother with the third wheel?

    Wow thats a really stupid comment with like 5 different views ^^;; I guess I like them when they are done well and the ‘other guy’ actually has a chance…

    • Cem says:

      “I also hate it when it is so obvious who they will end up with, because it’s kinda like why bother with the third wheel?”

      YES!! Totally agree with this. Very irritating thing to have happen.

  5. Tanya says:

    I like the Anita Blake love triangle. They are both so hot and intriguing. I love Eric too but i’m not a fan of Bill, so that ‘s why Anita’s triangle won for me.

  6. Sapphire says:

    VA-I just hope that Rose’s scorned lover finds love in Bloodlines this August. I was on his team since Mead introduced the character, even tho I always knew who would win Rose’s heart. Those kind of triangles annoy me too. Everyone needs a fair chance.
    Sookie Stackhouse-I’m team Eric! Never liked Bill…
    Vampire Diaries (show)-totally team Damien! lol.

  7. Heather says:

    Rose/Dimitri/Adrian in the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead is the best triangle by far.

  8. I love the VA one. Even though I really don’t think Adrian had a chance or was real competition.

    As for Sookie and Eric, so hot I never really cared for bill.

  9. Susan N says:

    Dude I love VA. Just saying.
    And I haven’t read Nightshade. Yes I know thats crszy but i have to read it !!! Everyones been going on and on about it.. uhhhh!
    Theres also the Morganville vamps triangle with Shane and Michael. <3

  10. julie says:

    i really liked adrian it was so unfair of rose and dimitr is awesome. ):

  11. KyyK says:

    I don’t consider Rose/Dimitri/Adrian a love triangle. It was pretty obvious who Rose always loved, and who she would end up with… I think the whole Rose/Adrian thing was too forced and a waste of time…
    In my opinion the triangle of VA have always been between Rose/Dimitri/Lissa… Who knows who Rose would choose if she had to pick only one 😀

  12. Krish says:

    Okay, 1st off…. I totally agree with the Ren/Shay thing… I get that Shay is nice and all but bloody hell he annoys the hell outta me. I agree with Cem as well. Although I LOVE love triangles, I love hating them as well. I hate it when it’s so obvious and very predictable who the main character is gonna end up with, and I do actually find myself hating the character who gets the most page time… When it’s so unbalanced. And if the story carries on with that same predictable plot with a not-much-of-a-triangle love story I actually stop reading and just make my own conclusion. I love hating cliches. Ahahha anyhoo… Nightshade is a great book, new setting/idea and shiz but the triangle is a bit shaky. If you look at it or think about the situation, Shay and Ren are two very good choices (most people would think that but I bloody hate Shay) but if you look at it page-time wise Shay gets more than Ren which really frustrates me (and apparently there’s gonna be more Shay in book 2. YAY! Not).

    A series which I think had a really great love triangle was the Shifter series, the 1st/2nd book is a bit shaky but it really does get better. Amazing book, even when the main didn’t end up with the person I loved. Ahha just proves to show how good it is. Another great one is the Cassandra Palmer series, which is really confusingly good. On one hand the author keeps on hinting the other character but page-wise etc it’s hinting her liking the other. But it’s amazing. Another good one is the Hunger games. Not much of a love triangle really, if I’m honest, but it’s a great trilogy. The romance is more featured but mainly for survival. It’s hard to explain but it’s a great book. The VA series is great as well… But I’ve always been an Adrian fan so I wasn’t too pleased with the ending (or specifically more so with how the author executed the ending). So far, these are the ones I found not only really good books but with a somewhat good love triangle in their own way. The best ones I’ve liked so far anyway… Ahah.

  13. Krish says:

    Okay I know I’ve written/typed a lot already but… Yeah I’ve already read all of the books/series mentioned above… And I like all of them, some more than the other but I do like them… That is except the True Blood/Sookie Stockhouse series… Ahaha yeah shocking, but I hate it xD ahha. And errm yeah… I hate it when the love triangle is forced and/or suddenly (e.g. The girl suddenly falls head over heels for a guy but she’s so freaking confused cuz her ex is so nice etc or some shiz like that) ahahha. Anyhoo… Bye.

  14. Brianna says:

    Okay, so I agree with Sapphire. I like True Blood. I like the Sookie/Eric/Bill love triangle. I have read the books and watched the show. I will and always be and Eric/Sookie fan. As for Vampire Diaries, I love the books and show. I love BAD BOYS!!! So it will always be Damon for me, whether on the show or book. As for Vampire Academy, Adrian never stood a chance. And whoever who ever read it would know that Dimitri will and almost has always been there for her. And she lost her virginity to Dimitri, anyway.

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