Multiple POV, Yay or Nay?

As a fan of Game of Thrones, I understand the perception towards multiple character points of view in books. After last week’s book club read Six of Crows Eden, Jenn and I really discussed the whole multiple POV thing. Six of Crows is one of the best examples of a book doing it right, while there are plenty of other books that demonstrate how not to go about it….

While Eden consistently stated that she dislikes multiple viewpoints through our discussions of Six of Crows (see our blog post here where she mentions it) I found myself thinking about whether I enjoy them or not… I figured out that more often than not I do enjoy seeing different viewpoints in books. I really enjoy seeing both sides of the stories and it often gives a glimpse into the lives of different characters in the world. I mean, I’m a Game of Thrones fan… I have to like multiple viewpoints, right?

While I do enjoy multiple POV, there are still some cases where I really don’t enjoy it. When the author uses the multiple POV through each chapter and leaves a huge cliff hanger at the end of each chapter. I feel like Maas got really close to overdoing it in Throne of Glass (but you know, Maas is amazing so it worked out for her…).

Anyways, what do you think about multiple viewpoints? Is it a different opinions based on the author or in general? Let us know what you think in the comments!

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12 thoughts on “Multiple POV, Yay or Nay?

  1. It really depends on how the author does it! Sometimes when I read multiple POV’s I find myself rushing through certain chapters to get back to others (like in Throne of Glass). I really enjoyed the different POV’s in the Falling Kingdoms series, Six of Crows, and An Ember in the Ashes. I think hearing different characters helps build the stories, especially in fantasy books.

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  2. I enjoy multiple POVs; it gives the reader a chance to understand motives and miscommunication between characters. Sometimes I’ve read books where I really don’t care for the protagonist–even if I love the story–and the book might have benefited if the it had offered other character’s eyes to see through.

    Haven’t read Six of Crows yet but I’ll add it to the list!

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  3. I love it because it gives the author an opportunity to add additional depth to their story, there could be conflicting accounts of what happened or you get to see the other side of the story. But if it’s not done well, the story can get riddled with plot holes.

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    1. Yes, or just unnecessary fluff if not done right! I really do enjoy reading the different viewpoints from different characters and learning firsthand their backgrounds, but it definitely has to be done right!

      – Caitlynn

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  4. I only like multiple point of views when it is done right. I absolutely love how Sarah J. Maas writes hers, mainly because Celaena is still the main point of view character. I think that Rick Riordan does a wonderful job in the Heroes of Olympus series — because the characters are very well developed, I enjoy going between them.

    But I definitely agree with you — I hate when the author has a cliffhanger for each point of view. That REALLY annoys me!

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    1. I had a hard time with the cliffhangers in Throne of Glass, I really wanted to rush through Manon chapters to get back to what was going on with the others! Did not make me love the book any less, I definitely found stuff I didn’t notice when I reread the series!

      – Caitlynn

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  5. It depends on what’s right for the particular story being told, though I definitely have an old fondness for multiple POVs, left over from my teenage years reading fantasy. It took me longer to learn to appreciate single POVs, actually, partly because they weren’t as common in my genres of interest back then.

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    1. You bring up a different way to look at multiple POVs than I thought about. It’s so true that the story has to be fitting for multiples. Now that I think about it, I think I started with primarily single POVs. POV definitely changes a story either way!

      – Caitlynn

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  6. Yeah, I’m on the “when they’re done well” train too. They can add so much: enriching and deepening both the world and characters, giving the readers necessary plot information without letting the characters in on it, fully explaining a conflict. They’re also a pretty good way to organize subplots, creating a bunch of little threads that are inherently satisfying when they come together.

    When they’re not, though, they feel like randomly jumping, self-contradictory messes. I can get past the sort of annoying cliffhanger thing, but when they make the plot incoherent I’m out. I think that’s why when I like them, I really like them. I’m always sort of impressed by an author that can pull it off.

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    1. I agree! I am definitely impressed when an author pulls it off! It is so hard to focus when they are just jumping between characters without any coordination.

      – Caitlynn

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