Lately I’ve found myself pondering how an author can claim that their protagonist is a “alpha male” when in reality, they are more “beta” because of all their underlying issues. Like most, I love a good tortured hero but recently they seem to be a dime a dozen. If I have to read about one more dude who was physically and/or emotionally abused as a child, my eyes are going to get stuck in a permanent eyeroll.
Last week I read a book where the hero was the fittest, most badass, drop-dead-gorgeous, tall-dark-and-handsome, knight-in-shining-amour, guy around. You know the type: confident, wins every battle, walks with a swagger… Well, after he gets the girl and starts opening up; he immediately turns into a scarred, self-deprecating, sniveling wussy. It really killed his “alpha male” persona for me. I mean yes, the heroine did “fix” him in the end but for once I’d just like to read about a man that doesn’t need to be fixed.
I understand that giving a character a troubled past helps to add depth to the story but I’m honestly getting tired of authors overusing this gimmick. If this trend continues, broken heroes may soon replace love triangles as the most overdone element in fiction. Now that’s a pretty bold statement but think about; when was the last time you read a novel where the main male protagonist was, well… normal?