Let’s Talk Bookish: How Many POVs is Too Many?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. This week’s Let’s Talk Bookish is a freebie so I decided to look back at topics I’d missed from previous weeks. Today I’ll be talking about POVs!

I have to say I love books with multiple POVs. They don’t work for every story, and I do enjoy single-perspective books, but I just love getting to see inside multiple characters’ heads. I like both reading and writing multi-perspective stories, especially when there’s a large cast who aren’t necessarily with each other the whole book. Seeing what different characters are up to and how their stories come together in the end is so satisfying to me. It’s also interesting seeing how different characters view situations, especially if they come from different backgrounds, have different morals etc. Especially in fantasy, seeing different perspectives can really build on the world as well.

I wish there were more books with more than one or two POVs in YA. A lot of YA books seem to focus on one protagonist, or switch between two, and I often wish I could go and explore what other characters are up to as well.

I do prefer third person over first person when there are multiple POVs. It’s really difficult to pull off two or more distinct first person voices in a book and it can get confusing and jarring. It can be done really well, but I think it’s quite challenging for the writer.

It is important when having multiple POVs for there to be enough time to properly develop each of the POV characters, and also to make sure each of their stories are interesting and unique and actually adds something to the overall plot. Sometimes extra POVs just don’t seem necessary, but sometimes you really couldn’t do without them and it would be a totally different story without multiple POVs. There needs to be a purpose behind it, and each POV needs to drive the plot. They need to carry the story forward in some way, and also have their own arc. There can be too many POVs if they don’t all have a purpose.

What do you think about having multiple POVs? Do you enjoy these types of books, or do you prefer to have just one POV? Is there such thing as too many POVs? Share your thoughts with me in the comments!

9 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: How Many POVs is Too Many?

  1. This is a brilliant discussion MT! I personally ADORE multiple POVs. I completely agree that it’s a delicate balance on the author’s part, giving enough information from each perspective to drive the story arc, but avoiding the dreaded info-dump. And yesss third-person is so much more effective than first-person, especially in fantasy!

    • Yessss another multi POV fan! Agreed, for some reason I just prefer third person when I read fantasy! I enjoy first person more for contemporary stories, I think it’s just the style of voice lends itself to that genre more.

  2. I love both books with one POV and multiple, but I think I prefer multiple! But as you said sometimes multiple POVs don’t work for a story! But I do feel you get more when reading from more POVs! Just sometimes switching too often can be confusing!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

    • I just love how multiple POVs can really build on a story and give you more of the world. But yeah when they switch a lot that can become confusing, especially if there are a lot of POVs!

  3. I do enjoy multiple POVs but I agree the first person narration makes it feel clunky and it’s hard to distinguish between characters. I think for a story that’s supposed to be cohesive I prefer three or fewer POVs. But for something that’s more separate stories entertained I can handle more, as long as the author has made an effort to keep all those voices unique.

    Great discussion today!

  4. To be honest, anything above a dual POV is too much for me. It’s harder to give more than two characters equal page time and, as a result, I tend to be less invested in them. There’s also the issue of more than two feeling a bit jarring as we hop from one to the other or, at times, confusing when the voices all sound the same. I once read a book with 14 characters, and it was hell. The story was interesting, but I couldn’t really tell you anything specific about any of the characters. I couldn’t tell them apart. I wanted to get to know the MC, but all the others kept interrupting. I think an author should always consider whether a POV is necessary to the story at hand. And sometimes, alot of the POVs just aren’t.

      • I’m definitely open to them if done well! I just find lots of times they don’t really add much to a story beyond a certain point. At least, not in a way *I* can appreciate lol

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