Female characters tend to kill novels for me.
I think there was a convention some years ago, during which it was decided that there was only one acceptable personality type for all women forever, and it was to be: “independent and feisty.”
So it doesn’t really matter what genre you pick up, the main female character will inevitably be “independent and feisty.” And just like all the others, she’ll insist that she isn’t anything like all of the others. Dunning-Kruger.
And in a giant sea of endless independence and feisty-ness, the attributes lose all meaning and deteriorate down to a simple, “Wow, she’s a bitch.”
There wouldn’t be anything wrong with “feisty” if one also regularly came across female protagonists that were shy, compassionate, bitter, fanciful, neurotic, etc. Maybe I’m just too avant garde or something, but I really don’t think that women should all be pigeon-holed into one or two word descriptions. Female characters are capable of being more than the “independent and feisty” stereotype. Aren’t we supposed to be breaking out of stereotypes? So why is this one so deeply entrenched in fiction? Where’s the individuality in writing the same characters that everyone else is writing?
But every time I skim through a new book with the thought, “Maybe I’ll enjoy reading this one,” the monotony of endless repetition in female personalities inevitably makes me pass. I want to read about characters who are different; I can go out into the real world if I want conformity and sameness.