I feel like I can’t pick up a fantasy book these days without getting smacked in the face with multiple POVs, narrative skipping around like a jackrabbit on PCP, annoying characters taking up too much space, storytelling losing cohesion as the pot gets stirred in seemingly arbitrary fashion, etc.
Multiple POVs, in the hands of a master writer, when the technique fits the story and setting, can be good. N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy had multiple but limited POVs and was incredibly good. ASoIaF was the ur-example (although I feel the POVs were getting out of control as the series progressed).
And now, the technique is everywhere. In the hands of writers who don’t have a damn clue how to do it, crapping all over otherwise potentially interesting fantasy works.
Gah. It must stop.
There are so many potential downsides and pitfalls:
Narrative cohesion: you have to be a truly great writer to weave any kind of complex plot into coherence with multiple POVs. It’s so easy for the plot to wander, stagger, develop gaps and inconsistencies with multiple POVs.
Annoying characters: you better hope every single POV character is both interesting and not too annoying b/c pretty soon I’m gonna be skipping chapters and that often leads to just putting down the book.
Loss of interest: if you get me really interested in something and then cut away, you better by god be getting back to it soon with a proper payoff or I’m just gonna stop caring.
And on and on. I have had enough. Until we figure out what’s going on, we need a moratorium on multiple POV fantasy.