The love triangle—such a classic trope of YA literature, and when done well it can lead to a really awesome read (check out Shatter Me, The Arcana Chronicles, Kricket, The Infernal Devices—just to name a few…). But sometimes the love triangle can be a little meh—it could be because the heroine chooses the wrong guy; or because the triangle was just a red herring; or because she chooses the right guy for her but the guy left behind is so awesome he needs his own spin-off series to express his true awesomeness…
Without further ado, here are my top ten YA love triangle rejects:
Warning, spoilers ahead
Another warning: occasionally angry YA fan ahead
- Simon Lewis – The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
Ah, Simon, my TMI boyfriend…sigh. Let me first clarify by saying I never shipped for Simon and Clary. Their whole romance reeked of ‘place holder’ to me, which is the worst kind of love triangle, especially when it involves the girl’s best friend who’s been pining for her for years (and why is it that every time a heroine has a male best friend, said best friend has been in love with her forever?)
Anyway, after Clary ditched Simon for her brother who turned out to not really be her brother (shocker), he moved on to bigger and better things (literally considering how much taller Isabelle is than Clary). And even though he doesn’t technically get an entire series to himself (not counting the Shadowhunter Academy novellas), I’m putting him in the third category listed above, as the second half of the TMI series sees him go from a side character to a major protagonist—which is probably why the final three books are so much better than the first three!
- Jonas Agalon – Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
Ah, Jonas. Okay I have a confession—I am partly including him here because I couldn’t fit him on my book boyfriends list a few weeks ago. It just seemed a little greedy having two guys from the same series on there, even if they are my favourite books!
This one falls into the category of ‘red herring’—but seeing as how there was still some lingering chemistry between Jonas and Cleo right up until book four, I think it can be claimed as a legitimate triangle. I will admit, back after the first couple of books I was totally shipping Jonas and Cleo, but that just seems wrong on so many levels now!
Poor Jonas has not exactly had much luck in the romance department—first his ‘golden princess’ shafted him for her husband—Jonas’s enemy—Magnus, and then his gal pal Lyss was killed at the exact moment Jonas realised he was in love with her (timing, right?)
Here’s hoping he gets things straightened out during the upcoming final novel—surely all this walking around with Princess Lucia is going to lead to something?
- Dorian Havilliard – Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
This is a case where the entire triangle turned out to be a red herring. I seriously have no idea what’s even going on with the romance in this series anymore, but I’ve made it a mission not to become too invested or I’ll end up having a nervous breakdown.
So, even though the Dorian/Chaol/Celaena triangle is no longer, it did cause a lot of debate on the fandom for a while there so I’m counting it.
I was always a Chaol fan so it feels weird to be putting Dorian’s name on this list. But, as it happens, we’re five books in and Dorian is now my favourite character. Of course, it’s helped his cause that he’s pretty much the only one left standing after SJM’s mass character assassination in book four, but let’s not go into that right now *sharpening claws*
- The Darkling – The Grisha by Leigh Bardugo
This is definitely one of those ‘wrong choice, bitch!’ situations. For pretty much the entire Grisha series I was waiting for Alina to ditch Mal and run off with The Darkling. I know, I know, he’s all murdery and controlling but damn it, they had so much chemistry! Mal was just so boring.
I did really love their scene at the very end where Alina learns his true name, but damn it! that wasn’t enough!
- Adrian Ivashkov – Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Ah, Adrian—possibly the worst corner of a triangle ever.
Okay…maybe not the worst. There’ve been some bad triangles over the years. But the Rose/Dmitri/Adrian one was really…not great.
Fortunately for all of us Adrian’s story continued on after his Vampire Academy heartbreak and he found true love in his very own spin-off series Bloodlines.
- Kiernan Dunn – The Chronos Files by Rysa Walker
So technically Kiernan did end up with Kate, but it wasn’t our Kate—y’know, alternate timelines and all that.
So, while Kiernan did manage to get his happily ever after, us readers were left with Trey, who wasn’t completely horrible…he just wasn’t Kiernan. All that build up, all that chemistry, and then…nope.
- Christian Prescott – Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
It’s not that I didn’t like Tucker, I just loved Christian and I thought he and Clara went so well together. I had hoped early on that Tucker was a red herring, and during the third book it looked like this was going to be the case.
Alas, the daughter of an archangel some how found herself happy and fulfilled living out life on a farm in Wyoming. Go figure.
(I mean no offence to the people of Wyoming here…but then again, you did vote for Trump so…)
- Anden Primo – Legend by Marie Lu
This is a kind of weird one, because I was obviously never rooting for Anden—I mean, he was up against Day, how could he ever possibly compete? But I did still really love his character—he’s just the kind of guy that you can’t not like. And I think the fact that there weren’t any angsty ‘who do I choose’ scenes from June really helped here.
Technically Anden and June did get their time together, but it was reduced to a couple of brief sentences in the epilogue, and what happened to Anden after that, I guess we’ll never know…
- Seth Diodoros – Covenant by Jennifer L. Armentrout
In the entire Covenant series, the only interesting thing was Seth. I think that’s all I need to say about that.
I’m sorry JLA but it’s just the way I feel—Covenant just fell really flat for me. There was an annoying heroine, a boring hero, and then Seth who just totally stole the show.
The good news is he now has his own series—Titan—but his character has mellowed down a lot since the events at the end of Covenant (which, okay, yeah he did kind of go super-psycho on everyone, but they totally asked for it by being so boring!)
- Gale Hawthorne – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
You know, part of me kind of wishes we knew what happened with Gale after The Hunger Games.
He was never a good fit for Katniss, and I was always on team Peeta (although, to be fair, this was one of the flimsiest love triangles I’ve ever read, so choosing teams wasn’t really all that necessary). In spit of my love for Peeta, though, I did still really like Gale’s character and would have liked to know more than just those parting words at the end of Mockingjay.
Who are your favourite love triangle rejects? Did they make my list?
Stop by next week for my list of Top Ten YA Villains.