Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. How it works is that each Tuesday the host assigns a topic and then posts their top ten list that fits the topic. Every blogger can create their own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well and link to the host’s. The topic for April 2nd, 2019 is: Top Ten Things That Make Me Immediately Want to Read a Book. I’m going to talk about my favourite tropes/elements in the sci-fi and fantasy genre in this post and also recommend one diverse book that uses a particular trope well.
1. The Chosen One
This has become a well-worn trope thanks to the success of Harry Potter and the million other books that followed the same recipe. However, I will be an eternal fan of this as I think that we still have scope to add more diversity. People of colour, neurodiverse people, disabled people and people across the gender and sexuality spectrum need their own chance at this kind of narrative. I hope more #OwnVoices stories with this trope are picked up until white, cis and straight is no longer the default.
Diverse book with this element: Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
If my blog design didn’t give you a hint, I’m an astronomy freak and absolutely love everything related to space. I don’t read as much sci-fi as I’d like but books like The Illuminae Files and The Martian are what I secretly want more of. Again, there’s a lot of scope for marginalised authors here and I think the success of authors like Nnedi Okorafor and Yoon Ha Lee will pave the way for more such stories.
Diverse book with this element: A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna
3. Enemies to Lovers
I’m not really a fan of romance in sci-fi and fantasy as they can be complex enough without adding a romantic subplot in. However, this is a particular subset of angsty romance that works for me if done well. I don’t ship any sort of Draco x Hermione situation where the bully/abuser becomes the romantic interest but when two people come from warring nations or have clashing world-views and sparks fly, my heart actually melts.
Diverse book with this element: Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa (Goodreads)
I love the mystery genre too but gravitate towards older titles like the stories by Arthur Conan Doyle or Agatha Christie. Combining that with a sci-fi or fantasy setting, when done well, is the most mind-blowing thing ever! This also can potentially mean a lot of red herrings and plot twists. I must admit that it’s also easy to go wrong with it as the reveal may fall flat or may be sacrificed for the sake of the overarching plot, but my favourite books always contain a dash of whodunit that keeps me glued to the pages.
Diverse book with this element: Descendant of the Crane by Joan He (Goodreads)
As much as I love a benevolent king and queen or a dashing prince or princess, I’d much rather read about the common folk rising up against a tyrannical ruler. This is the kind of tale an ordinary person can relate to even in a completely fictional world. There is a myriad of possibilities with this as it can centre around court politics, consist of a special set of people who must work together or feature a reluctant protagonist. I feel like the stakes in such a story is really high from the get-go, so it makes for a compelling plot.
Diverse book with this element: Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri
What bookish tropes do you enjoy? Are there any tropes that are used exclusively in your favourite genre? What words in a blurb make you add a book instantly to your TBR? Let’s discuss in the comments section below.