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Love Triangles Explained: Decoding the Drama of Love Triangles in Romance Novels

Updated: Jun 7

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Love Triangles Explained

Ah, the love triangle—the ultimate rollercoaster of emotions in the realm of romance literature. Is there any trope more tantalizing, more tumultuous, and more talked about?

In the vast tapestry of romance literature, few tropes elicit as much fervent discussion and passionate debate as the love triangle. It's a narrative device that has captured the imaginations of readers for generations, weaving a web of intrigue, emotion, and desire that keeps us eagerly turning pages late into the night.

But why is it that love triangles hold such a powerful allure? Is it the magnetic pull of forbidden love? The tantalizing uncertainty of who will ultimately win the protagonist's heart? Or perhaps it's the opportunity to explore the depths of human emotion and desire through the lens of fictional characters.

In this blog post, we're diving headfirst into the heart of this beloved (and sometimes controversial) storytelling device. From exploring the inner workings of love triangles to dissecting their popularity and real-life parallels, we'll unravel the complexities of this timeless trope that has left an indelible mark on romance literature.

So, grab your favorite romance novel, settle into a cozy spot, and join us as we embark on a journey to decode the drama of love triangles in romance novels.

What is the love triangle trope?

Imagine a delicate dance of affection, where not one, but two suitors vie for the affections of our protagonist. The love triangle trope, as the name suggests, revolves around a romantic entanglement between three characters, often leading to a tumultuous journey of self-discovery, heartache, and, of course, passion.

Are love triangles bad?

Some readers adore the delicious tension and emotional depth that love triangles bring to a story, while others find them frustrating or predictable. However, whether love triangles are "bad" ultimately depends on personal preference and how skillfully they are executed within the narrative.

How do love triangles work?

Love triangles typically unfold as the protagonist finds herself torn between two equally compelling love interests. Each suitor offers different qualities, sparking intense chemistry and emotional conflicts. The tension mounts as the protagonist must navigate her feelings and make a choice that will ultimately shape her romantic destiny.

Why are love triangles so popular?

Love triangles tap into a primal aspect of human nature—the desire for connection and the complexity of romantic relationships. They offer a compelling mix of passion, uncertainty, and emotional stakes that keep readers eagerly turning pages. Additionally, love triangles allow for exploration of character dynamics and growth as the protagonist navigates her romantic dilemma.

Do love triangles happen in real life?

They certainly do! While love triangles may seem like a product of fiction, the complexities of romantic relationships in real life can sometimes mirror these dramatic entanglements. Human emotions are messy and unpredictable, and love triangles, albeit perhaps less dramatic, can indeed occur.

How do love triangles end?

In the world of romance novels, love triangles often culminate in a resolution where the protagonist makes a definitive choice between her suitors. This decision can lead to heartbreak for one character and fulfillment for another, ultimately paving the way for a satisfying conclusion.

Love Triangles in Popular New Adult Romantasy and Young Adult Romance Books

Now, let's explore some captivating examples of New Adult Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy books that skillfully weave the love triangle trope into their narratives. Each of these books masterfully weaves the love triangle trope into the story, adding layers of tension, emotion, and depth to the storylines and characters. Whether you're drawn to epic fantasy battles, dystopian romance, or Victorian-era intrigue, these captivating tales are sure to keep you spellbound until the very last page.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass bookcover
Throne of Glass: New Adult Romantasy

First up is Throne of Glass. In this epic fantasy series, readers are introduced to Celaena Sardothien, an infamous assassin with a complicated past. As Celaena navigates a dangerous world of politics, magic, and intrigue, she finds herself entangled in a gripping love triangle.

On one hand, there's the dashing Captain of the Guard, Chaol Westfall, whose loyalty and strength captivate her. On the other, there's the enigmatic Fae Prince, Dorian Havilliard, whose charm and hidden depths draw her in. As Celaena's feelings for both men deepen, she must confront her own desires and make a choice that will shape not only her destiny but the fate of the kingdom.

"I claim you, too, Aelin Galathynius," he whispered. "I claim you as my friend."

Inception by Bianca Scardoni

Inception book cover
Inception: YA/NA Paranormal Romance

Inception follows Jemma Blackburn in an urban a spellbinding paranormal romance series. She's just your average high school kid until she's thrust into a world of vampires, magic, and danger. As Jemma navigates the treacherous politics of this new dark world she's discovered, she finds herself caught in a mesmerizing love triangle.

On one side, there's Tracy, the brooding good guy who's supposed be her guardian (long story here) but is fighting his duty every step of the way. On the other, there's Dominic, the seductive older guy that every girl wants but has eyes only for Jemma. As tensions rise, secrets unveiled, and loyalties are tested, Jemma must confront herself and decide where her heart truly lies.

"The butterflies began waltzing in my belly again, this time to the sweet melody of his words. Words that were meant for me."

The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection book cover
The Selection: YA Dystopian Romance

The Selection is a YA romance set in a dystopian society where a lottery determines who will compete for the heart of a prince. The book follows America Singer as she navigates a whirlwind of romance, intrigue, and betrayal. Caught between her duty to her family and her growing feelings for two very different suitors, America finds herself in the midst of a captivating love triangle.

On one side, there's Prince Maxon, whose genuine kindness and dedication to his kingdom stir unexpected emotions in America. On the other, there's Aspen, America's childhood sweetheart and a member of the lower caste, whose presence ignites long-buried passions. As America grapples with her conflicting emotions, she must navigate the complexities of love and duty in a world on the brink of revolution.

"Break my heart. Break it a thousand times if you like. It was only ever yours to break anyway."

The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

The Infernal Devices book cover
The Infernal Devices: YA Romantasy

Set in Victorian London, this captivating series follows Tessa Gray as she discovers a world of demons, Shadowhunters, and dark magic. Amidst the danger and intrigue, Tessa finds herself torn between two Shadowhunters, Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs, in a heart-wrenching love triangle. On one side, there's Will, whose sharp wit and brooding demeanor conceal a painful past and a fierce loyalty to those he loves. On the other, there's Jem, whose kindness and compassion offer Tessa solace in a world of darkness. As Tessa's feelings for both men deepen, she must confront the secrets of her own identity and the truth about her heart's desires.

"I am catastrophically in love with you."

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone book cover
Shadow and Bone: YA Romantasy

In this mesmerizing fantasy series, readers are transported to the magical world of Ravka, where darkness threatens to consume everything in its path. Amidst the chaos, we follow Alina Starkov, a young soldier with a hidden power that could save her country from destruction. As Alina navigates the dangers of her newfound abilities, she finds herself torn between two men who represent different paths and possibilities. On one side, there's Mal, her childhood friend and fellow soldier, whose unwavering loyalty and deep connection to Alina offer comfort and stability. On the other, there's the Darkling, a powerful Grisha whose seductive charm and promises of power tempt Alina to embrace a darker path. As Alina grapples with her own destiny and the choices before her, she must confront the truth about love, sacrifice, and the darkness that lies within us all.

"I've been waiting for you a long time, Alina. You and I are going to change the world."

Dissent by Josephine Lamont

Dissent book cover
Dissent: New Adult Dystopian Romance

Set in a dystopian future of the USA, this pulse-pounding series follows Mara de la Puente as she discovers the world she thought to be true is nothing but a lie. Kidnapped by Dissenters, Mara is thrown into danger and intrigue, finding herself torn between two rebels vying for her heart. On one side, there's Wes Calvernon, whose tough exterior and brooding demeanor conceals a painful past and a fiercely loyalty to those he loves. On the other, there's Matias Alvarez, whose kindness and compassion offer Mara a sense of safety in a world of lies and deceit. As Mara's feelings for both men deepen, she must confront the secrets of her own identity and the truth about her family.

"I will always come back for you."

There's No Debate— You Gotta Love a Love Triangle

Love triangles may provoke heated debates among readers, but there's no denying their

enduring allure in the world of romance literature. So, whether you're team #TeamA, #TeamB, or rooting for a surprise contender, one thing's for certain—love triangles are here to stay, keeping us captivated and craving more with each turn of the page.

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