Alternating POV’s is something that I have mixed feelings about. In reading a book with the perspective of two or more characters, I will either really like the book, or completely hate it. There’s no in between.
To be honest, I didn’t realise how much I disliked alternating POV’s until I read Allegiant by Veronica Roth. Often I would lose track of whose point of view it was, so then I would have to go back and check and really, it’s just very messy and annoying. A lot of the time I think it is quite unnecessary; if the two characters are together, then what’s the point? I mean, I get it if you want the reader to understand exactly what each character is going through but the advantages become seriously outweighed by the disadvantage of the story becoming hard to follow.
Honestly, if you’re going to write a book with alternating POV’s then at least make sure that there is a logical reason behind it, whether it’s to create suspense, reveal information or maybe the story is a romance and you want the reader to know exactly how the two characters are feeling. Telling a story from multiple perspectives just because you can probably isn’t a good idea. If multiple POV’s doesn’t serve your story well, then don’t do it! It’s pointless, unnecessary, and just very annoying to read.
Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not against this completely. When done correctly, it’s quite an enjoyable read. Books such as The Scorpio Races and All The Light We Cannot See alternate point of view quite well. In All The Light We Cannot See, there were two completely different stories being told (before being merged together eventually), and so alternating POV’s was 100% appropriate. With stories like this, it’s very difficult to lose track of what’s going on.
And if you’re writing a book as such, please make sure each character had a distinctive voice. Seriously, if you have multiple point of views and your characters all sound the same, then you should probably rethink your story. It’s also very annoying when there isn’t a clear indication that the perspective is being shifted – start a new chapter for god’s sake!
So really, I think that alternating POV’s only works well if it’s appropriate to the story and written well, otherwise it’s honestly just a big ugly mess. I don’t know why people always think it’s necessary, or easy to do. Trust me, it’s not.
Thank you for reading!