Do you have a preference between “person” in the books you read? Do you prefer third-person to first-person? Or don’t you care? And … why??
My preferences tend to change according to the genre but I am not a fan of 2nd person – it is just too awkward and an entire story using ‘you’ doesn’t work for me. My brain is pretty much mush at the moment as I’ve had a really long day so I’m afraid I can only muster up a few examples for each style. Can you think of any other great books?
1st person narrator
Advantages – I get to know the character intimately
Disadvantages – we have to trust that the narrator is telling us the truth and they can be unreliable
Favourite novels using this style – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and the Peter Grant series
3rd person omniscient
Advantages – I see it all and nothing can hide from me bwahaha!
Disadvantages – it is harder to connect with individual characters and you often have to deal with info-dumping simply because the author wants to show off everything shiny in their world
Favourite novels using this style – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and anything by Jane Austen (even though she cheats at times and changes pov)
3rd person limited
Advantages – the author isn’t limited to just one character so can extend their characters’ perceptions of the world
Disadvantages – if it is poorly done then there is quite often head-hopping. You also have to hope that the author has made the characters’ voices distinct
Favourite novels using this style – Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (yes I know there is a little bit where the perspective changes but I’m going with the majority),
Alternating 1st person
Advantages – works really well for romances especially where the hero can’t outwardly express his emotions
Disadvantages – it takes away some of the surprise in the romance as you know a HEA is on the cards before the characters do. If one voice comes across as unauthentic, it can make for a very uneven book.
Favourite novels using this style – I can think of quite a few novels that use this but none off the top of my head that are brilliant, almost flawless examples.
Epistolary style novels (subsection of alternating 1st person)
Advantages – often newspaper clippings etc are included so we get to see what society is thinking along with the characters’ point of view and this adds verisimilitude
Disadvantages – we only know as much about the characters as they choose to put in a letter and some things just don’t translate well in this form. This style has gone out of fashion as we can now have instantaneous communication through the wonders of technology
Favourite novels using this style – Dracula by Bram Stoker, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde by Robert Lewis Stevenson