Alternating POV’s

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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.

 

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16 thoughts on “Alternating POV’s

  1. harasnicolereads says:

    YES on the distinct voices in alternative POVs. That was the main reason I hated The 5th Wave (besides the bit of insta-love), because I never knew whose mind I was in until well into that section, and their inner voices sound the same. I definitely want to finish the series just to see how it ends, but I’m not looking forward to the POVs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Abbie says:

      Hmm I’ve never read The 5th Wave but yeah I know what you mean. With me though, If I can’t stand the alternating POV’s then I will literally just stop reading the book no matter how good the actual story is.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lauren Busser says:

    I totally agree with you! I think the closest I get to commenting on this top is in my review of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. There are three POV and sometimes I felt like I was just seeing two different characters react to the same information, and while they might feel differently about it, by the time it got where it needed I could see the end coming. It felt like the longest reveal in the history of suspenseful reveals and I wished I could forget the entire book so that I could go see the movie and see if I liked it better.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews says:

    Great discussion post! I actually live for alternating POVs because I don’t have an attention span and get distracted really easily 😂 so it really helps keep me focused if the voice is constantly changing. Of course though, like you said, it’s way better when the voice is distinctive. And of course it has it’s downfalls when it’s a character you don’t really like or care for haha. Overall though when it’s done right it’s one of my favourite things!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Abbie says:

      Haha fair enough :p And yeah it’s really annoying when the author decides to randomly throw in the pov of a character that nobody really cares about.

      Anyway, thank you for your comment! 🙂

      Like

  4. TeacherofYA says:

    I found one book where multiple POVs worked…well, two I guess…
    Michael Grant’s Gone series, and Neal Schusterman’s Unwind Dystology.
    In Unwind, each character speaks from an “I” POV, which draws you into the character. Grant’s book utilizes so many characters that you almost get an omniscient POV, and that works.
    Of course, this is my opinion, and I think there’s a right way to do it, and definitely a wrong way to do it. 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    • Abbie says:

      Hmm I haven’t read any of those books :/ But yeah I definitely agree that when written well, books with alternating POV’s can be very good :3

      Like

  5. Laura says:

    I was thinking about diff.POV for a while now, especially since one of my fav. series started with 1 POV and then it switched to multiple POV. That wasn’t pleasant.
    If there is a omnipresent narrator, I don’t have a problem with it.
    I also don’t have a problem with 3rd person different POV, especially when it’s done well.
    However, I don’t like 1st person multiple POV at all. It’s harder to distinguish between the voices, and I don’t really care to be in the head of so many characters.
    Mystery or Historical novels work well with multiple POV. Fantasy, Romance, YA, not so much.
    Sometimes, multiple POV give me the impression that this is a movie script, not a real novel.

    Like

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