Too Much Romance? | Discussion

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If you know me at all, you’ll know that I love a good fantasy book. I love the whole magical, per se, element of the setting and the world so different from our own. It’s also wonderful when there’s a romantic element because I’m always a sucker for romance.

But do you ever feel like the romance in a fantasy/sci-fi/dystopian/not-promoted-as-a-total-romance story is taking over the actual plot line and world-building?

Let’s clarify.

When a book has fantasy with romantic elements, there’s a good chance I’ll like it. I love the fantasy genre and the whole magical aspect of the setting. And add in a little romance, and you’ve got me eagerly anticipating this book.

There are several books that are promoted as mostly fantasy with little romance, which, again, I love. I don’t want to name names, but I’m pretty sure you can also pin-point a certain book that is promoted as a fantasy or sci-fi, but realistically, it focuses more on the romance between the main character and the love interest.

Where there can be a lot of fantastic world-building and evolving characterization, there might be more kissing and such than the actual exploration of the setting and the historical elements. Especially with books with inherently interesting universes, I want to learn more. I want to explore more of that fantasy world, more of the people who live there, more of visible character development.

Despite being a major slut for romance, there’s nothing more I love than character development. But what happens when there’s more romance than the evolution of personalities and characterizations? What happens when there’s more kissing than exploration of world-building?

I’m not going to lie, and I don’t want to bash any books (because chances are, I probably liked that fantasy/romance book), but sometimes, I just feel as if I’m not getting the whole fantasy element in a fantasy book, which generally doesn’t give me that nice feeling of satisfaction.

Do you feel the same way? Do you sometimes feel as if there’s more romance than story-development in some books? Let me know your thoughts!



37 thoughts on “Too Much Romance? | Discussion

  1. I really love it when a story is mainly based on the fantasy world and it’s problems, with romance on the side, so when the romance starts to take over, sometimes I can get a bit sick of it. If I wanted a huge romance story I’d have read a contemporary love story. I feel like the romance is sometimes used as a cheat way out too – if the author runs out of action they fill the blank spaces with romance scenes. But most of the time I never find the romance in fantasy books to be a problem 🙂

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  2. I feel like it depends on the way it’s done. For example I loved Shatter Me and the entire trilogy but it’s definitely a romance with a dash of dystopian. There’s little world building and the end leaves lots of things hanging yet I still loved it and it’s one of my favorite series. But then there are others that when that happens, it makes me mad and drives me to enjoy the book a lot less

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  3. Romance isn’t to my taste. I can like it if it’s done well and doesn’t get in the way of the actual plot, but if it takes over or if it seems to be there just because the Author plopped it in then it’s going to wind me up.

    I’ve been a little fed up of it recently because the kind of books I read don’t need romance or romantic love seems more important than familial love or friends, but it’s been the majority of books I’ve read recently.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s true! I really hope that the fantasy world and characters are built up well to be able to include romantic tension, etc. Ah, yeah, I do like familial relationships and friendships too; I really hope I get to read more of that.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I definitely hear you on that topic! I like romance and sometimes I feel that it’s even necessary, but not if it becomes the main focus of the story and overshadows everything else. Especially in the genres you mentioned, SciFi and Fantasy etc., it’s important to strike the right balance, otherwise it could hvae been just a regular contemporary book.

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  5. I definitely agree! If I buy a non-romance book I don’t expect the romance to take over. Like you I’m a sucker for romance so of course I love the romantic elements and I’m shipper trash, but if the romance is getting in the way of the plot and worldbuilding, I’ll be very disappointed! Like you said, there’s so much to explore! If I want to read about characters constantly kissing I’ll pick up a romance book.


  6. I am a sucker for romance. However, when it comes to fantasy I feel like there needs to be a balance between the character development, romance and world building. Sometimes the simpler romantic moments are the ones that have the biggest impact instead of the grand gestures. One of the things I appreciate most about a series like A Darker Shade of Magic is that there are hints of a possible romance but in the larger picture there’s a lot more at stake and so it stays on the back-burner simmering away while they tackle the big threats to their world. 😀

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  7. I have to be honest, I’m perfectly fine with a “fantasy” book being 99% romance and 1% fantasy. I’m just a sucker for it, and when a book doesn’t have enough romance I get really bored. A lot of the time that’s what fuels me as I read! Although I understand that some readers aren’t in the same boat, so I do wish some books would be marketed properly. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahh, thanks for being so honest! I suppose I agree on some level as well; one of my favorite books is Shatter Me and it’s essentially only fueled by the romance and has little world-building at all. I definitely agree that books should be marketed properly but I think that if that happened, there wouldn’t be as many readers for it

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  8. I love this discussion so much! I agree that sometimes books don’t need romance, especially fantasy. Personally, in fantasy, I don’t usually like romance as the prime conflict/plot advancement because I usually read fantasy to get AWAY from romance. However, Throne of Glass has a very romance-focused plot which I’m kind of liking, though I think that’s my only exception.

    Jess @Princessica of Books

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jess! I suppose there’s always exceptions; for me, I adored Shatter Me, which is essentially romance-driven and has little plot/setting development but yet it’s one of my favorite books!


  9. I think I talked to you about this on Twitter, but I don’t mind romantic elements. However, I find books almost seem required to add a love story. Personally, I could take it or leave it. I’d prefer good characters doing their thing. If that involves falling in love, great, but too many romances feel obligatory.

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  10. Sometimes it gets annoying if there’s a lot of [unnecessary] romance in books. When I read fantasy, I’m really interested in the political part of it. then the magic/world, the characters and then the romance. It sucks that in a lot of fantasy books it’s backwards. However, if the romance is done right, I usually learn to like it :).

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  11. Wonderful discussion post, Ali! I’m a huge fantasy/paranormal fan, too, and a lot of your arguments are very valid and familiar. I think in all books there will be a greater focus, whether it’s the world building, romance, characterization, etc. Sometimes one has to be sacrificed and I’ve noticed that especially in fantasy it’s hard to create a good balance between the three (world building, romance, etc). Though when it is, that book is nearly a five star read for me. And haha, I’m a total romance junkie (romances featured in books not actual romance books though) so I know what you mean by the romance in books being captivating and thrilling.


  12. Great discussion topic! I 100% agree with you. I’m not a huge fan of high fantasy, as it gets a little too heavy for me, but I do enjoy a fantasy book here and there and love a little bit of romance thrown in. It becomes boring when you’re reading a fantasy novel overtaken by the romance though. I mean, if I wanted a romance I’d pick up a contemporary!

    I think authors just need to find a balance between the two. Too much fantasy leaves me overwhelmed, but too much romance leaves me annoyed!

    Liked by 1 person

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