My Least Favorite Literary Technique

Before I tell you what my least favorite literary technique is, I’m going to tell you which books I plan on discussing. That way if you don’t want spoilers, you can move away from this post now.

  • Tiger’s Curse series by Colleen Houck
  • Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
  • Glitch series by Heather Anastasiu
  • Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach
  • Tangled Up by Robyn Neely

My Least Favorite Literary Technique

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My least favorite literary technique is when amnesia is used as the reason two love interests can’t be together. I don’t mind amnesia as a plot point, per say, there are plenty of great books that use it well, but I do mind when it’s the sole excuse for why two characters can’t be together. Here’s why I hate it as a technique:

  1. There needs to be a stronger reason for two characters not to be together. This can be internal conflict or external conflict, it can be with just one character or both, I don’t care. There needs to be a real reason they can’t be together, an actual problem. Characters can struggle to reconcile different lifestyles or backgrounds; or deal with personal issues that make them not fit for a relationship. But at the very least, they remember each other an can actually work on the relationship.
  2. This is such a weak excuse to further the plot. It’s very deus ex machina. The author created characters who have no problems… wouldn’t it be convenient if one forgot the other? Forget having to come up with an actual plot point or actual conversations, just give an easy excuse for them to not be together. It’s also sometimes used to get rid of one character in a love triangle and that just seems like a cop out.
  3. It hurts too much to read. If the author is even semi-decent, I’ve connected with the characters and I’m invested in their relationship. When that is suddenly ripped away for no (real) reason, it hurts. I know some people read to feel and some people enjoy reading sad books, but it’s just too much for me. I’m fine reading books where the characters are going through tough times, I just don’t want to go through them too.
  4. If the characters to manage to work past the amnesia to restore their memory partially, I feel like the resulting relationship isn’t quite the same as the one I was rooting for in the beginning. Sure, it’s technically the same characters, but it sure wasn’t with the ones I shipped.

I’ve seen this technique used in a couple variations. Usually it comes through a spell or interference from a deity. Sometimes it’s done through brainwashing/torture, and in one book I read they just performed a lobotomy to remove the character’s emotions. (So he could remember, I guess, but he couldn’t feel.)

As I mentioned before, this technique is present in many books. Sometimes I got over it because I liked the story enough to keep going, but nevertheless, it was there. The ones that come to mind are:

  • Tiger’s Curse series by Colleen Houck
    • This is my least favorite use of the technique ever. The author is skilled, but connects you to the characters just enough to rip your heart out when the memory thing happens. This is probably my least favorite books series of all time, because it just hurt so much to read.
  • Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
  • Glitch series by Heather Anastasiu
  • Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach
  • Tangled Up by Robyn Neely

So that’s my least favorite literary technique. What’s yours?

❤️ Annette

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