Saturday, January 12

{Royal Rantings} Can a ship ruin a book?


To clarify, in this post I'll be concentrating on novels that have a romantic sub-plot, however, are not strictly romance novel. I feel like the answer to "can a romance novel be ruined if you hate the ship?" is a pretty obvious yes, because the relationship of the protagonists is the main focus of these novels.

With that being said, my answer to the question in any novel with a ship is the same - a yes, but perhaps a more tentative one. Depending on a variety of things, disliking, or even downright hating a couple can have totally different results when it comes my overall rating and enjoyment of a novel. 



Take Six of Crows as an example, which is well-written with an amazing plot and fantastic characters and three ships. I personally adore each couple (and character), however, even if I didn't, all the things I've just listed would be able to make up for it. 

On the other side of the coin, we have the scenarios where the ship can totally sank a book for me: 

(1) the romance is a massive part of the book, which means that disliking it equals disliking a massive amount of the novel

(2) the romance may not even be that big of a deal in the novel, however, I hate it so much (e.g. because it feels unhealthy) that I am unable to enjoy the rest of the book

(3) not liking the ship makes me hate one or more protagonists, and characters can make or break a book for me

So, yes, I absolutely believe that a ship can screw up a whole book - at least as far as I'm concerned. Still... when I tried to think of any examples my mind went totally blank. Well, a shit ton of romance novels came to my mind, but like I said above, this post is not about those. Thus, I found myself scrolling through my goodreads shelves, looking for potential candidates for this post, and woah, I found quite a few. 

To begin with, many of my teen favorites - aka the novels of the Twilight era - have highly toxic relationships. They go from weird to controlling to creepy as fuck, and they are exactly the type that could ruin a book for me today. Yes, indeed, I'm having a cringe attack thinking of how I used to be so into these series.

      

I'm not sure if I'm reading better books - aka ones with something to make up for a relationship I dislike - or maybe I've just become more accepting, but I was actually struggling to find any novels I've read lately where the ship ruined a book for me. There certainly are ships I dislike, but I either (a) accept the character's/author's decision, or (b) there's so much to enjoy in a book or series that the ship feels insignificant compared. 

      

Either because I hated the love interest (And I Darken), couldn't fully forgive for his past mistakes (Starflight), preferred the other guy (The Naturals), or thought the romance would have been more meaningful as a friendship (A Thousand Perfect Notes), these four books had me dissatisfied with the romance, BUT still loving the plot, characters etc. This showcases that the romance doesn't necessarily make or break a novel


Let's chat!
What are your thoughts on this topic? Who are your least favorite and favorite couples? Did your love/hate for them 

10 comments:

  1. I’m reading Twilight for a university course at the moment and my professor is exposing every bit of the novel! Not like I wasn’t aware of the creepiness before, but looking at these books in an academic setting has made me question all of of my book choices at aged 10. While I think the books are very easy to get through and entertaining, the romance is a huge no.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved reading your reread review of Twilight on your blog, and fully agree - the romance is very unhealthy.

      Delete
  2. Hmmmm, I adore romance, so I can honestly say I have never felt there was too much romance in a story, but I have read books where the pairing I was rooting for didn't happen, but I have grown to expect this when I read books where there are male/female friendships.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel like you're far more forgiving than I am when something you want doesn't happen haha. I have accepted some pairings I wasn't happy with, but when I'm VERY opposed to a couple it takes away from my enjoyment.

      Delete
  3. I'm not sure if I had any experience myself in which the romance ruined the ENTIRE experience, but there were definitely several instances in which the romance made me take 1~2 stars of my final rating. The ones I can think of: The Hunger Games (probably the only person in the world who couldn't stand Evelark, lol), The Ember in the Ashes series (I preferred characters with their separate love interests) and even Six of Crows, as I really didn't like Kaz and was not rooting for the main romance. I think it probably has to do with the hype and my own expectations, though. I love ships and am always looking for new couples to follow, so when I know a book has a very hyped one, I'll immediately be excited. When the couple doesn't work for me, though, I feel like I was let down by the whole book, which is probably why I lower my rating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel the same way as you - well, with the exception of romance novels, where not liking the couple can ruin the whole experience for me. Haha, I love all the couples you mentioned (with the exception of The Ember in the Ashes which I haven't read.) I definitely have read books because I heard the ships are great - Six of Crows, for example, I bought because everyone was praising the ships. Also, YES, that's the feeling I meant - feeling like the whole book let me down.

      Delete
  4. I think it depends on how much the romance is part of the story. Because for example, taking Twilight, I would argue that it is a romance book. It's just a paranormal romance, so the romance is the main feature and the plot is actually the sub-plot, if that makes sense? And yes, those relationships are really toxic as far as the examples you gave and I've read. But I still love Twilight because nostalgia. But I can see how it is toxic and agree with people who complain about those aspects of the romance.

    So yeah, I think if the romance is really, truly a sub plot you can enjoy the book without enjoying the ship. But I think there are a lot of fantasy and paranormal books which are actually paranormal romance, or fantasy romance (like An Enchantment of Ravens) but aren't marketed as such so some people are really confused ahout what they are getting.

    Interesting discussion!

    My recent post: https://oliviascatastrophe.com/2019/01/4-mini-reviews-shakespeare-edition/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I 1000% agree with everything you wrote. If the romance is the focus of the novel, a badly written couple can definitely ruin the whole experience.

      To add to that, I feel like if there are multiple main characters and canon ships disliking one won't ruin the enjoyment. For instance, disliking a Six of Crows ship is not that big of a deal, imo, because there are two other big ships to root for.

      Thank you!

      Delete
  5. Great post! I love how you considered all the possibilities and explained your reasoning. I definitely have a lot of those "Twilight era" books where if I read them now, I would hate the romance. The Hush, Hush series is one of them :') I've read The Naturals too, and honestly can't remember much of it, but I went and reread my review and apparently my biggest issue I had was the love triangle, so I guess the romance ruined that one for me too!
    Hope you're having a great day :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thankfully, The Naturals love triangle ends in the second novel, but - even if I put aside the fact that I preferred the other guy - I'm confused why it was there in the first place. It didn't add anything to the plot or characters, really, and (for me at least) cheapened a cool story. *shrug*
      Thanks, you too! :)

      Delete

Your comments are what keep us going so we take the time to reply to each and every one you leave for us. We'll always try our best to visit your blogs and leave a comment for you in return. :)