Let’s Talk Bookish – How many POVs is too many?

Good morning afternoon or evening and welcome to another Let’s Talk Bookish post! Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by me, where we discuss chosen topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Today’s topic is: How many POVs is too many (suggested by Heran @ Be Frisky)

This is a really great question because I don’t think there is only one answer. It all depends on the kind of book that it is, how the characters fit into the story, and your personal preference.

First of all, POVs stands for point-of-views.

As a general rule, I think books shouldn’t have any more than 3 or 4 POVs. However, this can change, as long as each character has a distinct voice and it’s easy to tell who the character is.

One book that has several POVs that I loved, is Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom both by Leigh Bardugo. They both have 5 and 6 first-person POVs respectively, and that was fine. I loved each of the characters, and it’s easy to know who’s talking because it’s mentioned boldly at the start of the chapter. And anyways, each character has their own unique voice that differentiates them from the rest.

Other books that have multiple POVs, but not in first person, are also easy to follow because the name of the person that we are following is there. (ex. “Anna walked across the street, looking anxiously towards the store. | Walter watched Anna walk up to him, and smiled.”) i know this is absolutely horrible, but it’s just an example

What doesn’t work though, is having several POVs, with similar characters, and different timelines. That’s just a mess. An example of this is Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. I had no idea what was going on in that book. There were way wayy waaaayyyyy too many POVs going on, and I had no idea who was talking. I would start reading the chapter, and then flip back to the beginning to see who the person was and when they were narrating.

Not cool.

It disrupts the flow of reading, and it’s also no fun trying to keep track of 6 or 7 seven different narrators from different years. The different years annoys me the most. It’s hard to keep track of so many at once. Now you’re going to jump back and forth between the years as well???

Personally, I prefer having one or two POVs and I don’t mind if one of them goes back in time. It’s easy to follow, and it helps me get more attached to the characters. And in mysteries/thrillers, I think having a handful of different non-first person POVs is okay, as long as it makes sense and it is done right. It can add a lot of mystery to the story, and it helps to see things from multiple perspectives.

And that’s my two cents for today.

This Week’s Participants:

Aimee @ My Addiction to Fiction | Aria @ Book Nook Bits | Jane @ Blogger Books | Dani @ Literary Lion

That’s it! I had a horrible migraine on Wednesday that left me useless all day, and then I had to catch up on work Thursday. So my wrap-up post didn’t come as planned. But hopefully you’ll be getting it this weekend, or next week Monday.

What do you think? How many POVs should a book have? What’s your favorite book with multiple POVs? Do you think the amount of POVs should differ based on the type of book it is? Chat with me in the comments below!

14 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish – How many POVs is too many?

  1. Into The Water was the most confusing read just because of all the POVs. I read it with 2 bookmarks, one in front and one where I was. The version I had, had a cheat sheet in the beginning of who was who and that was sooooo helpful. Without it, I don’t know if I would have finished the book!!! It is helpful when the POVs have distinct voices. When they’re similar it gets confusing. As long as I can make a connection before POVs change, I’m ok because I can follow. When it changes too quickly I get lost.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yess! It was really a mess. Aww, luck you and I’m glad it was there to help! I don’t think my book had that, but it was an e-book anyway. In the end, I just read it and pieced together who was who with the help of the ending lol. Yeah, distinct POVs are the best, and would have been super helpful in that situation.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting to hear you POV (πŸ˜‰πŸ˜„) on this. I agree with you, it does come down to personal preference but there are definitely examples, like Into The Water, where the sheer number and execution of the different POVs made it confusing.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I like having 2 POV’s the best! But indeed if a book does it well, like Six of crows, more can work really well!
    Great discussion!


    Liked by 1 person

  4. I prefer one POV but I have read a few books that do multiple POVs very well and I have to admit the book benefited from it. The most recent one I read was The Other Mrs. and it had 4 POVs but all were so distinct that it was easy to tell them apart and the book had to have all 4 to work.

    Liked by 1 person

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