trope talks

On “Instalove”

Instalove is a very common trope and it’s been around for a long time (See Romeo and Juliet). Instalove is often seen as a sort of negative trope for the most part. But I am here to deconstruct instalove? defend it? I don’t know. But before I get into my thoughts, one thing you should know about me is that I am a romantic (so take what I say with a grain of salt). I was inspired to make this post after hearing so many people talk about their dislike of the “instalove” in The Wrath and the Dawn. I think the most common complaints about instalove are..

1. It’s too rushed.

I think sometimes love is mistaken for instalove. Instalove to me, is more about the unbelievability of a soulmate kind of love  First of all, sometimes love in real life is actually kind of boring (I mean not to the two people falling in love obviously) but to other people, yeah it’s kind of boring when you meet through a friend of a friend. I love the possibility of a meet cute and cutesy romantic things like that. And I think feelings are just felt fast. Think about it, when you look at someone, you instantly get a feel for this person. Maybe it’s instalust like damn, that person is good-looking but why can’t you fall in love with someone at first sight? I think most of the time people think love at first sight is of the “soulmate” variety where that person is the person you are meant to be with. It’s not the most believable thing but I think there’s just something romantic about having a gut instinct about loving someone.

But the other thing is, if you look at Aladdin. Did Aladdin really fall in love with Jasmine at first sight? Or did he have some
attraction to her first then got to know her when he was showing her the streets of Agrabah and whatnot. In that case, it’s not really instalove is it? Nor is it exactly rushed.

Is Twilight instalove? Or was it instant chemistry? Instainterest?

There’s also the opposite too. Sometimes a couple is developed yet I don’t feel any investment in their relationship. It’s kind of like eating a food you’ve never tried before and either instantly liking it or not, or eventually developing an acquired taste for it.

2. It’s unrealistic

It’s fiction. It’s suppose to be unrealistic! So are love triangles! But is instalove really that unrealistic? Whose to say what someone feels about someone for however long. It could take them 8 years or 3 months but that doesn’t make the 8 year feelings any more valid than the 3 month ones. In Titanic, Jack and Rose fell in love within the span of 3 days yet I’m pretty sure me and a lot of other people felt invested in their love story. I think to me, if the author makes their unrealistic love believable more props to them! I think instalove lends itself to unbelievability and more to the feelings of people. It’s like have you ever walked into a room and felt an automatic pull or kinship to someone?

I think the problem in fiction vs. movies is that you can’t rely on close ups and cameras to get the full feel of a person. I think for me, movies can make instalove more believable. I think instalove is meant to satisfy that feeling, of all consuming love. But every love has to develop, even instalove. And the question is whether or not that instalove lasts is something else.

3. It’s not healthy for a relationship.

The funny thing is is that Ariel and Cinderella and even Rapunzel have no qualms about falling in love with strange men that they know nothing about. Yet I didn’t find myself bothered about it. (Funny thing #2: I actually think The Little Mermaid is more feminist than Beauty and the Beast). Frozen made fun of this and yet Anna falls in love with Kristoff who, granted she does know a little better, but by how much? One or two more days than Hans? Now in real life, that would be the red flag of red flags obviously but in movies like this, you kind of subconsciously know nothing bad’s going to happen because 1) It’s a Disney movie and 2) It’s a children’s movie. And I think sometimes fiction sort of lets you suspend your disbelief so you don’t have to worry about real life concerns.

Not to mention that instalove exists in classics and fiction all over (although instalove may serve more of a narrative purpose than it is about wanting us to ship them). I don’t know how much sense this post made. I feel like I just rambled on but I wanted to get this post out there because it’s been on the back of mind for a while now. Let me know what you think down in the comments!

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book review

Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

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Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: New Adult Fantasy Romance

Summary: Goodreads

Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.9)

You might be wondering why I didn’t just give this book a 4 stars. Well, my friend, it is because I couldn’t quite ignore the flaws in this book enough for it to warrant a 4 stars. Before anyone reads this book, they need to know that this is NOT a romance fantasy. This is more of a fantasy romance, where the plot revolves around the romance instead of the fantasy. The fantasy setting is really an extension of the romance, like the mating ritual etc. Prythian is sensual, magical, and mysterious just like their relationship.

Now the good thing about having an experienced fantasy writer write a romance is that the worldbuilding is paid just as much attention as the romance. I loved Maas’s descriptions of Prythian, they’re detailed and just plain beautiful. I think it’s executed way better than her Throne of Glass series. However, there were so many info-dumps in this book that it felt like a Wikipedia article throughout several parts of the book that detracted from the full immersion into this world. But the comparisons of the fairy tale aspects, between Beauty and the Beast were really interesting to me. She does a good job of reversing some parts of the story.

I really liked Feyre’s journey to discover she is. I love that with the focus so much on her relationship with the High Fae and with her family, there was still a lot of room for her to develop as an individual. However she was not the most original character out there. Nor was the High Fae Tamlin, Lucien, Rhysand, and Amarantha. They were extremely typical characters and this story would have soared had they not been so stereotypical and their actions so predictable. It’s what makes Tamlin’s and Feyre’s relationship not as compelling as I would have liked. Their romance was nice but nothing that stands out to me.

Despite its flaws, this book was super entertaining and the ultimate form of escapist fantasy. If you’re looking for a fairy tale retelling with a stubborn Katniss-like heroine or hot Fae, this book is for you.