Warning: Jennifer Armentrout spoilers ahead. Proceed with caution.
By chance, many books that I have been reading as of late are significant in regards to the enemies to lovers trope. And well I do like the enemies to lovers trope I think there’s another, opposite, trope that is even more fascinating and that would be lovers to enemies.
Don’t get me wrong: I love a good story with that one hard-to-handle guy that has a bit of an edge and a tendency toward audacity. Or a woman. And then their counterpart, slowly unraveling that which makes their enemy tick, the hidden secrets that deeply humanize them, and maybe even help to bind them together.
I love all of that nonsense.
But lovers to enemies? Yes please. Hurt me deeply.
If you haven’t read From Blood and Ash by Jennifer Armentrout, look away for the next paragraph. Or two.
Because this book, with its introduction of supremely alluring Hawke right from the get-go, is flawless in its execution of lovers to enemies.
Armentrout reels you in from chapter one, tying you to this Hawke character, and all his sexy features and mysterious attributes. And then, bam, blindsided. Your heart is wrecked, your mind in tatters. I don’t know about you, but the attachment and utter betrayal I feel in this saga of emotions ties me to this book more than any remarkably happy ending.
Yep, hurt me deeply. Drag me furiously to book two, present that redemption, and possibly hurt me some more. I’ll be waiting.
Okay, you can come back now. Spoilers are over.
This is a hard thing to accomplish. In order to make this tactic work, you have to manage to depict your characters in a way that make your reader fall for them straight away. Then, you have to rip your readers’ hearts out. The betrayal has to be so severe that reconciliation is a practical impossibility.
Unless, of course, you want to bring your book one step further into (what I highly suspect Armentrout is going for) the lovers to enemies to lovers trope. Another very powerful tactic to utilize in a novel, one I find very thrilling- but again, a bit more difficult to accomplish. After all, how will your protagonist react to this betrayal of their lover, how could they possibly reconcile and why would they? Is there a good reason for a betrayal? Was there a yet-to-be-revealed truth that would explain away every wrong-doing? Intriguing…
Make me love that character, make me love those two characters together, then snap me in two like a twig.