As far as books are concerned, the most basic breakdown of a book’s content is the narrative it employs to tell its tale—1st Person or 3rd Person. 1st Person, of course, is the mode where a story is narrated by one character at a time, speaking for and about themselves. It gives no glimpse into other characters’ inner thoughts and usually features the pronoun “I” throughout. The 3rd Person point of view narrative relates all action using pronouns such as “he” or “she.” With this latter narrator style, multiple viewpoints can be accommodated into the tale.
When it comes to readers, some people tend to like one narrative form over the other. I’m a perfect example of it. I enjoy 3rd Person POV mostly. I find 1st Person to be a bit too arrogant, presumptuous and limiting. Kind of like me. Ha!
There have been several 1st Person books though that I have absolutely loved. Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb. And The City & the City by China Mieville.
In contrast, I’ve loved 3rd Person novels like A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks. Banewreaker and Godslayer by Jacqueline Carey. And so many dozens of others I won’t list them here. They far exceed the 1st Person POV novels, I can tell you that.
But everyone is different. Including writers. Author Terry Brooks, who has written exclusively in the 3rd Person POV area for almost 40 years, has recently come up with a whole new story that might be better served if written in 1st Person. It’s thrown him for a loop, actually. He wrote the first five or six chapters in 3rd Person, had his epiphany, and gave his editor an early look at what he’s written—something he never does—to get her input if the story might work better if told from 1st Person.
Back on point though, I’m always curious about these things and how you all read. What you like to read. And why.
So here is a poll. A Cage Match, if you will. Vote on what is applicable to you. Then list your favorite books in 1st Person and/or in 3rd Person!
Happy reading and voting!