What shocked us most about this trope, as we went through our Book Review Master list, was how common this trope was. Literally, we went down our master list and struggled to find series where this trope didn’t apply. No, seriously – nearly every last series we’ve read included this trope. It has become less of a trope and more of a requirement in the genre.
Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series has Kate with a dead mother, a dead stepfather and a hard childhood training to be a killer
Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series has Gin was tortured and her parents were murdered as a child.
L A Banks’ Vampire Huntress series has Damali who lost her parents to vampires and demons when she was a baby
Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series has Harry orphaned and then raised by an abusive (and evil) wizard.
Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series has Kat’s mother raped by a vampire who then brought Kat up to loathe herself.
Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire series has Sookie as a sexually abused orphan
LJ Smith’s Vampire Diaries has Elena and Jeremy both as having recently lost their parents.
The very premise of the Secret Circle requires that all 6 witches have lost a parent – or two.
Kelley Armstong’s Otherworld series sets new records with unhappy childhoods – Elena lost her parents as a child and was traumatised watching them die then went through a series of foster homes when she was sexually abused. Clay was abused as a child and ran away. Jeremy’s father was abusive. Jaime’s father was dead and her mother was (and is) abusive.
Laurell K Hamilton smashes Kelly Armstrong’s record – Anita lost her mother, Jason had an abusive father, Stephen and Gregory had a sexually abusive father, Nathanial had an abusive father – and of course Meredith Gentry has been beaten, tortured and faced repeated attempted murders by her aunt and uncle and has an abusive mother. The majority of the characters have an abusive or tragic past.