(Also known as how to make me happy, if I’m reading your book)
A unique world is a certain draw. I love interesting political structures and societies. But historical elements are also good. I don’t like anything too weird. At least not a lot of weird things.
I also love well done portrayals of God and the church. Especially names for God. The Eye’s of Everia books by Serena Chase are great in that way. So many names for God. The First, Loeftryn de Rynloeft (Highest Reigning from the Reign Most High), Embral e’ Veria.
I also love the general system of naming in that. I wish I’d thought of it myself.
I love clever, witty characters. But also strong and honourable. People who are a little out of the ordinary, but not because there’s something inherently special about them. And in leaders I like confidence.
And I really love it when when there’s a sense of mystery about a character. If I can’t be certain that they’re trustworthy. I love it when the author makes me like them, but keeps planting little bits of doubt. Or if someone suddenly turns out to be a traitor. It must make sense though.
I love layers. When a book is very different when read the second time. (usually when there’s a traitor or someone else with a big secret)
I like my plots tightly knit. When it’s following more than two people who don’t seem connected, I don’t like it quite as well, even when I can see how they might meet eventually. Yet I do like it when seeming unrelated people have their lives converge. They don’t always have to know each other, but there has to be a clear interaction between their stories.
I was going to say that high stakes and particularly action are important, but that’s not always the case. Something important going on is a must though. Some of the things I wanted to say are actually contradictions, so I think I had better leave it unsaid, maybe try to untangle my thoughts in more detail another time. But a romance centred story is one I probably won’t read. As for other things, it depends on my state of mind.
I like sibling and friend relationships. People truly working together or the pain of being opposed. The struggle between loyalty to your side and loyalty to your family.
As far as romance goes, I prefer the emphasis to be on sacrifice or commitment, than warm fuzzy feeling. We need more stories that show true love, putting others needs first, doing what is best, not what is most comfortable.
If characters are forced (more or less) into marrying (or promising to marry), and then have to learn to love each other, you’re probably made me happy. As long as it is actually turning out well. In fact I love any situation where people are forced to work together.
But friendship slowly developing into love can be beautiful as well. When it’s about really caring for the other person, instead of just selfish attraction. Not that having a little attraction show is is bad. It’s realistic. But don’t take it to far. I hate relationships without commitment
If a story has no depth to it, no message, I feel that I’ve wasted my time. It can be subtle, not clearly stated, even hard to articulate. But it must at least illustrate something good.
If it does have some profound statement in it, that can be even better. But only if it comes naturally.
It must be clean or I will be very annoyed. And wrong better not be portrayed as right. And having families is a plus.
And that’s that. I hope you enjoyed this and find it as useful as I did. I think I’ll have to do a post about what I read when I was younger though. Might help clear up my contradictions. I’m reading different stuff, but I still have fond memories.