Discuss Darlings

Come discuss with us! All honesty is honored and treasured.

I always end up contradicting myself at some point, whether it’s in a book review, discussion post, or something else entirely. I think most of us do, yeah? Here are a few things I think we readers (or is it just me?) contradict ourselves in (none of these are direct quotes from reviews, but there have been similar lines):

#1: On flawed protagonists.
Review/thoughts for Book A: “The heroine was such a bitch, and I absolutely hated how awful she was sometimes. Why couldn’t she be nicer?”
Review/thoughts for Book B: “The main character was WAY TOO PERFECT. I hated how unrealistic she was.”

Yup, I’m totally guilty of doing this. There are very few instances when I like mean/too flawed characters (I usually like them if they’re the crazy, psychotic kind of mean) and also little times where I like perfect main characters. I don’t really know what I like anymore. I am confusing myself!

#2: On world building.
Review/thoughts for Book A: “There were huge chunks of paragraphs full of info-dumps just for the world building. It was too much for me to take in. Too much background and history.”
Review/thoughts for Book B: “I don’t understand how anything started. There was no background story, and nothing was explained.”

Ha, so true. Usually, when I read, say, high fantasy books, I would skip all the info-dump-y parts with all the kingdoms, etc. etc. But I also like knowing how things came to be.

#3: On love interests.
Review/thoughts for Book A: “The guy was so arrogant! I couldn’t stand how he had this stupid bad boy attitude.”
Review/thoughts for Book B: “The love interest was really nice and all, but he was so boring. Snoozefest.

This isn’t what I normally say–I love nice guys, even if they can get boring–but I have a ton of friends who would rant to me about annoying, fake-ish bad boys and boring nice guys.

That’s all I can think of for now, but I am positive that there are more. Sometimes I want to reach into the deepest part of my brain so I can ask myself what I really want. I mean, I would love everything to be perfectly balanced, but not all authors can accomplish that. So which side would I rather be on?


Do you guys confuse yourselves, too? Or is it seriously just me?

About Aimee

Aimee loves being a little bookworm (okay–she doesn’t like being little). She also loves chocolates and sweets but is freaked out by the thought of possibly getting diabetes.

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41 thoughts on “How We Readers (Sometimes) Contradict Ourselves

  1. Yup guilty! I think a lot of it is because I’m a mood reader so on the day I’m PMS’ing the “hero” in NA is probably a douche and the day I’m feeling a little less psychotic I’m all aww he’s so sweet lol. I’m totally guilty of the world building thing, it’s such a hard thing for authors to balance! I don’t envy them!


  2. OH MY GOSH YES THIS POST. I am so guilty of it as well, you know. Us readers are a spoiled bunch. But we know what we want, because all of us have our favourite books that are just absolutely perfect *ahem Harry Potter* So I don’t think it’s COMPLETELY a double standard, because there is a middle ground, but only a few books are going to be perfectly in the middle. And that’s why I never decide whether to read a book based on only one review – because everyone is different! :)


  3. LOL this post. The world-building thing, I’ve seen a lot! I don’t actually mind if there’s not much world-building, as I like to be left to decide things for myself, it’s the too-much one that bugs me.

    I’m guilty of the flawed heroine thing though. Oh-so-guilty. They can’t be too nice, they can’t be too mean. THEY CAN’T BE TOO PERFECT! What can I say? maybe we’re all just really fussy haha


  4. HAHAHA. This post is great, and very, very accurate! I’ve noticed myself do this a few times, but I never noticed how prevalent it was until reading this post.

    Also, because I’m a huge mood reliant reader, I can say that I thought the book was mediocre one day, and the next thing it was amazing and worth 5 stars. Of course, my change in opinion isn’t too drastic – what I say in my reviews is truly what I think, but my overall opinion can change depending on my mood.


  5. Haha! So true! I think it’s all about finding the right balance. The love interest can be a bad boy but don’t make him a douche that I don’t know why the MC likes him. The main character must have flaws but just enough to keep her from being unlikable. But then again, I’ve read books wuth really unlikable characters and still ended up liking it because of the psychological aspect of it. See? I’m contradicting myself even know! :P great topic, Aimee! :)


  6. This is such a funny topic to touch on because it is SO TRUE. I agree with you about world-building as I am a lazy reader who just wants to skip to the butt-kicking and action sequences. BUT at the same time, I hate books with complicated plot lines that don’t even bother to explain themselves. All in all, this post just made me realize how conflicted I am haha. :P


  7. I totally contradict myself so often! We’re often looking for the golden middle. For the most part I know which side I prefer, for example, I rather have too much worldbuilding than a plot-hole-fest. But yeah, if I would analyse my reviews I’m sure I’m not very consequent.


  8. I think everything depends on context! If we take the world building example, if it’s a really boring book with literally no plot and a crapload of world building, of course we’re going to be like INFODUMPS!! But if it’s a book which has a nice balance of plot while still having a large focus on world building, we’d just accept it as a richly built world.
    So really, I’d say anything works as long as it’s written well and makes sense in the context of the book haha


  9. I think there’s definitely a fine line between all of the extremes you’ve given examples for. For instance, world-building. Pages upon pages of info-dumping are obviously annoying, but so is a complete lack of info. But an author who incorporates details about their world subtly and naturally into the flow of the story will probably not get many complaints.

    So, honestly, I think a lot depends on the author’s skill, like with “unlikable protagonists”. If the author can portray them in a way that makes sense and still seems authentic, even while they’re being awful, I’m personally less likely to complain. If a character is just ridiculously rude and nasty but doesn’t have enough development to support her behavior, then I’ll complain. And perfect characters are NEVER realistic (unless they’re pretending to be perfect for some reason).

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think sometimes we are looking for a happy medium which is kind of our ‘perfect’ individual or perfect amount of information, but every author is different, every book is different and everytime you read, I feel like we react slightly differently to the experience we are undertaking. Therefore, I definitely believe that whilst we may seem a little hypocritical, our own personal needs/desires/wants from the book we are currently reading are always changing.


  11. Haha. I know I’ve done similar things. But I don’t think it’s an either or thing. I don’t have to not like something and like the exact opposite.

    And as for flawed characters. I think there is a huge difference between a jack ass character and a flawed one. Very nice characters also have flaws. Very likable characters have flaws.


  12. Guilty, guilty and guilty as charged!! I don’t like my main characters perfect, but weak girls annoy me. So yes there goes that and also don’t put too much world-building in a book but then you have to have everything connected. Sometimes I really admire authors that manage to please us. I mean we’re a really tough crew to please ;) Great post, Aimee :)


  13. I noticed that with my review too. If every one reads all my reviews, they might think I have split personality and the type of person who can’t make up her mind. I don’t know why though but I always see flaws in all characters I have read. Either they’re too young or too old, too perfect or too lame, or whatever. The same with romance, I also complain when it’s too slow or too fast. Or maybe we’re just hard to please?


  14. The protagonist thing is something I’ve noticed too many times to count. It’s crazy how much we want our flawed characters and mean girls and then we just tell everyone how over we are the character we wished for. Yeah, but there’s a difference between info dump and giving information in a great way that’s not overbearing and I’d rather have info-dump actually than nothing at all since I can skip info-dump (as you said), but if I don’t know anything.. Well, that’s when things get complicated. Love interests well, I just have to connect with them :) I don’t think nice guys are boring and bad boys are necessarily arrogant, so I do like them both if they’re done well :) All depends on the books and the chemistry really ;) Great post, Aimee!


  15. Are you talking about me? Lol. Just the other day I was guilty of this. “The story was fast paced. The beginning was a slow read…” Whuuuut?? I’m so cray cray I probably shouldn’t infect other people with it. Great observation Aimee :)


  16. 1. It depends on the flaws and their good sides. Sometimes they have one specific flaw that annoys the crap out of me. But I certainly prefer it over those TOO perfect characters. I can’t stand those anymore.
    2. Hahaha, yes. Word-building is very tricky, because you need to find the right balance between too much information and not enough.


  17. *guilty* I do this as well! In fact, I think I even contradicted myself recently all in the same review. But you’re right, the balance is really hard because with world building there’s a thin line between info dumping and perfect integration, love interests still confuse me (as in how I gravitate to them confuses me) and well…I think how I feel now just depends on my current mood. Actually, I don’t honestly know anymore… :S But this was a great post! (Now I’ve got a lot to think about :D )


  18. I was thinking of this literally a few hours ago. I feel like sometimes I’m too highly critical over books, but it’s not my fault! Sometimes books are well written, and sometimes they’re not. There are times when you can overlook certain flaws because the story overall is great, but other times EVERYTHING is going wrong, so that particular aspect is annoying. xD


  19. The accuracy for this post is just out of the park I tell you – ha! I completely agree with each and every example here, and am definitely guilty of contradicting myself quite a lot. I think it just depends how you feel each element works in the book and sometimes an element can work in one book, but the same element might not work in another book for whatever reason, you know?

    Thanks for sharing, and WONDERFUL post! <3


  20. I think you have some interesting points! I usually like characters that and situations that are a happy medium. I love a good background story, but not so much that it detracts from the plot.

    Cool post! :D


  21. Yeah… I’m guilty of these at times haha. When it comes to world-building I’d rather get all the info at once but if the world is unraveled gradually in about 30% that’s all well for me too. As long as I’m not still questioning what’s going on, I’m a happy reader. I can be incredibly picky with my main characters too! I’d definitely prefer one that wasn’t perfect though, cause then at least there could be some potential growth. Great discussion topic!


  22. Guilty as charged! I’d like something that’s just right but not all authors can strike that balance so yeah, I have to pick sides. With world-building, I totally want the details. Yeah, I get lazy sometimes and I skip some parts but I still want the details just so when I have questions, I know where to go back. I don’t like it when I have a lot of unanswered questions. As for flawed protagonists, I always prefer the ones who are not perfect. Sure, that character can be perfect for me but he/she has to have some flaws, otherwise I wouldn’t relate to him/her or worse, I’ll hate him/her. For the love interest, hmmm… this one’s very interesting. I’ve encountered both types of fictional guys and I usually like the good, nice ones. Like Simon in TMI (I used to like him more than Jace) and Jeremy in The Summer I Turned Pretty. I don’t know why, but I tend to empathize more with the underdogs.

    Great post, Aimee! :)


  23. Changes from book to book, doesn’t it? Normally I like action in my reads, keep things moving. Recently read Railsea, which is basically train pirates (nice!) and loads of quirky prose and totally different from the incredibly boring rubbish I’d just finished, and I was loving it… then halfway through I was pig-sick of the whole thing. Then I picked up The Monster Variations, hated it for the lack of action… and by the end thought it was one of the best things I’d read all year. That was all because of the characters, mind you.
    Great post.



  24. Yup, I do it too. *sigh* Mine is particularly with the info-dumps vs. no info at all. But truly there IS a fine line between the two!! I’m not so much with the guys. I appreciate the arrogant and the nice…although there’s also a fine line between dark and snarky and SHUT UP AND LEAVE THE BOOK, YOU ANTELOPE. (Which I’ve been known to shout at a few paranormal jerky boyfriends in books…*cough*) So I totally get this! You’re spot on!


  25. You are right! Especially with the world building, because I want to know all the details, but I don’t want them served on a platter. It takes a talented author to show the world without info-dumps, but hey, I can be picky as a reader if I want!


  26. I do this too! I think middle ground is always the way to go, unless it’s supposed to be a villain or a purposefully too perfect character. I love Epic Fantasy, and the more detail I get the better, just don’t do it in info dumps. I can read 1000 page fantasy novels without a problem, but if they info dump I get bored.


  27. I remember a post that I’ve written a year ago entitled “Double Standards on Reading” wherein I also talked about loving some tropes that I actually hated. For example, I hated instaloves and misleading synopsis and yet I do come across books wherein I actually enjoyed such things. ;D What I am saying is that you are not the only one having the said dilemma. It’s annoying but what can we do? My theory is that the brain should not be blamed for this one. It should be our hearts that need to be studied.

    Lovely post, Aimee!


  28. This is SO true and I know I’m definitely guilty. I think what it comes down to is personal tastes – sometimes something that works in one book won’t work in another, or somehow something that should annoys you doesn’t. It all comes down to how you feel while reading it.


  29. Hmm, I don’t know, I don’t think it’s really contradicting. There’s a balance, the heroine doesn’t have to be nice all the time, but still be mean. Just because the bad guy is arrogant, doesn’t mean a nice guy will be boring.

    These are two completely different things. I don’t find any of this contradicting at all really. It’s all a matter of the way the author writes them.


  30. I think we can all understand this on one level or another. While I don’t think the examples you used are necessarily contradicting, just more opposites that you love/hate and want a balance for, I do know there are times when I have contradicted myself more explicitly. Like I’ll say I hate insta-love and I’ll rant about the use of insta-love in books, but then there’ll be this one book where it just doesn’t bother me as much. Not because it isn’t insta-love, it still definitely is, but because I just don’t care because I LOVE THE BOOK. You know? Like sometimes the other elements in the book can make it so you are more forgiving or more critical of things you usually notice.

    And really, our tastes change as we read so there will always be an instance where things we loved start to drive us crazy and vice versa. Nothing wrong with that! Just maybe a little confusing at times? XP



    I do love good worldbuilding, but it needs to balanced. If not then it comes across as info dumping.

    Lol it really is contradictory though.

    Loved this post Aimee <33



    And we are such hypocrites, lol. Funny thing is that I have to admit that I never actually realized how much I’ve been contradicting myself in my reviews — I’m guilty of doing every. single. one of this. Especially #1, about flawed and too-perfect characters. I complain when they become too bitchy, but at the same time hate it when they’re portrayed as perfect little fucking angels. What is wrong with me??

    But I also think that it is also the author’s responsibility to convey a character that may have a horrible personality into someone relatable, NOT hatable. Of course, authors can’t control how a reader ultimately interprets the character, but if a character is written right, then most readers won’t have a problem sympathizing, or maybe even empathizing with him/her. Balancing the character’s personality is really important in this sense. Nobody wants to read about a girl who’s always doing some good deed and then acting really humble about it, and at the same time, no one wants to like a person who’s constantly bitching about how screwed-up her life is.

    Bahaha, the love interest one really mostly only applies to contemporary books, which I don’t often read because I’ve been disappointed too many times lol. I have to say that a lot of the sci-fi/fantasy YA books feature kind of bland love interests, though. Again, I feel like in these cases, the author should have crafted out their love interest more fully, even if romance wasn’t the main aspect.

    I’m quite tolerant when it comes to world building, because I know how hard it can be to develop and share a brand new world with others, but yup. I’ve totally complained about books being too info-dumpy or being too vague at the same time. Oh, the contradictions we have made. :P Such an interesting most, Aimee, thanks for sharing!


  33. This is so true, Aimee! I have thought about this myself, but I really only mention one of the above if I really felt that there was too little/too much etc etc. But it is quite funny how one review can say: I HATED THIS CHARACTER, and another can say: UGH THIS CHARACTER WAS TOO PRISSY PERFECT.

    I think that the balance between the two is really hard to achieve, because everyone has different preferences for these things, too.



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