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Let's talk tropes and favourite authors


We all have favourite authors, but have you ever stopped to consider exactly what it is that draws you to that author's stories? Of late, I've been re-reading the Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh, a New Zealand author whom I've long admired.


The urban paranormal romance series is based on a world where there are three races: 1) Psy - humanoids with mental powers of telepathy, telekinesis, teleportation, foresight/backsight, and empathy to name the most prominent; 2) Changelings - humanoids with the ability to take an animal form at will, depending on the type of changeling, speed, strength, and heightened senses; and 3) humans with no powers or special abilities.

The tropes that show up most often in her series are enemies to lovers and feuding families/forbidden love (or in this case, feuding races). These pair well with each other, of course, and who doesn't love the extra passion strong emotions give? In her world, the Psy aren't supposed to mix with the inferior races like the emotional Changelings or the weak Humans. Indeed, due to the Psy's Silence Protocol where emotion is trained out of them at a young age by brutal methods, triggers in the Psy's brains can even kill them if they give in to emotion, to love. Choosing to pursue a relationship is to risk death. For the Changelings and Humans, there are years of mistrust of the Psy to overcome since psychopathic scientists have preyed on Changelings and Humans. After all, the perfect Psy under Silence Protocol has no emotion and no empathy. It's a great set-up for these tropes.

The really interesting twist is that it's not just that the relationship is risky for the Psy or Changeling in question, but that it turns out, the Psy actually need these relationships to repair the damage they've done to the fabric of their mental Psy-net (think internet for brains!).



Out of the twenty-two books in her series thus far (yes, I said 22!) my absolute favourite is Heart of Obsidian. Despite what I just said above, this one breaks the trope pattern she most often uses. It isn't enemies to lovers. It isn't feuding families. However, it is childhood sweethearts and redemption/forgiveness/dangerous secret, with a dash of sexy stranger, memory loss/fish out of water, and damsel in distress. The male protagonist is a rebellious bastard who doesn't give a frig about the right thing to do and has the power to back up his ruthless choices. He's the ultimate overpowered bad boy who doesn't think he deserves love. The brilliance of this story and her interconnected universe is that we've seen exactly how deadly and cold-blooded Kaleb can be, yet there is that glimmer of some kind of redemption arc on the horizon when we find out he's been on a quest. I won't give it away by talking too much, but whew, this story has all the elements I can't resist. As you can see from the tropes she's layered into it, there is a lot going on in this story and it's brilliantly woven together.


So what are your favourite tropes and an author that writes them?

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