What I don’t like about multiple points of views
*Disclaimer: By ‘Multiple points of views’ I am only referring to multiple characters points of views in books.
The other week I admitted that I used to hate reading books with multiple characters POV’s. I then decided to elaborate on multiple characters POV’s and what I’ve learned about them. As I’ve had so much to say on the topic I decided to split it up into three parts.
Part one of this discussion discussed the amount of characters in books and what I’ve found I like reading. Part two of this discussion focussed on the different types of ways that multiple points of views appear in books and what I thought about them.
In part three I discuss what I’ve discovered I don’t like about multiple points of views. After all the last two parts have mostly been about what I do like.
There are some things that seriously just irk me off when it comes to reading multiple points of views. I have to admit that probably some of these examples steam from poor or amateur written books, which I used to read when I was younger. I’m going to go a head and say that I’m grateful for those books because they had shown me what I hope to never see again in a book and I feel like that helped me figure out what I DO like in a book.
On to the list!
There are so many characters it gets confusing.
Seriously. Very rarely can a book pull this style off. Well at least that I’ve read so far. I’ve read a few fantasy books with a ton of POV’s but they manage to pull it off and I liked the style a lot. But then I’ve also read books where there are so many characters that I end up having no idea who is who any more or what the point of each character is. When that happens it’s horrible.
You’re reading a book with multiple character’s POV’s. You’re enjoying it and getting into the flow of the random way the story switches to each character, but then BAM, you read a whole page from the POV of a character you’ve never read before.
Okay, so maybe this point here could be blamed on the narrative. But still, when this happens I’m usually pulled right out of the story and wondering why I just got to read this through the eyes of the main characters, little brothers, best friends sister instead of getting the information some other way. It’s jarring.
One character is introduced half way through that is deemed incredibly important and we are now reading through their eyes – it feels like we’re reading a stranger.
To this date this has only happened a couple of times in a book. And each time I throw the book down and wonder why I’m still reading it. Seriously!? A completely NEW character when we’re half way through the story and have only just gotten used to all of the characters we already have? This doesn’t bode well for me. It feels like I’m reading a complete stranger that I really do not care for, yet apparently he’s incredibly important to the story except we had not heard of him before he appeared smack bang in the middle of chaos. What? I mean really, what?
When book one in the series has one POV but book two has multiple POV’s and you’re like ‘Whyyy?’, it doesn’t feel consistent!
This drives me crazy when this happens. Why? Well I find it feels so incredibly jarring that I am forever thrown out of the story. I haven’t read too many books where this happens, where say book one is written with one characters POV but then book two is written in three characters POV’s, but from the books that I have: It did not work for me.
There are SO MANY characters POV’s yet there is hardly a reminder of who each character is.
I hate it when this happens. If you’re going to have a ton of characters POV’s in a book and you’re not going to do it in any chronological order by chapter or section or whatever. Then please make sure you remind us who each character is in some way. You’re a writer, you can figure it out. Maybe each character has something distinct about them that you happen to mention in passing a few times when they pop up; whatever you do, just make sure you do it. Especially if you’re on to book two or three in the series.
This was the main thing that let down The Ashes Trilogy by Ilsa J. Bick for me. Book one starts with one point of view, then it changes half way through the book to multiple points of view. As if that wasn’t jarring enough, even though I understood it was a literary device to separate the two parts, book two – Shadows, is then told in multiple points of views as well. Except the unfortunate thing was that there was no reminder of who was who, I couldn’t remember who we met in Ashes and because there were so many POV’s and so many characters I got lost and couldn’t enjoy the story. There was too much going on.
Reading the same scene through a different characters eyes.
I have not seen this done in a long time but when this does happen I get bored because I’ve already seen the scene happen and I know what’s going to happen so I really don’t want to read it again. Now alternating a scene between the characters POV’s is different – that can be very exciting if done right.
And those are the main things that drive me crazy when it comes to multiple character POV’s in books. I’m pretty sure many of these things aren’t done very often which is a great thing.
Do you have pet peeves about multiple characters points of views?