* AlternateCharacterInterpretation:
** In both the fandom and the series, one of the most controversial questions is whether [[InsufferableGenius Astrid]] is a troubled but well meaning [[AntiHero heroine]] who tried desperately hard to be the good guy or a manipulative, sanctimonious {{Icequeen}} who thinks only of herself, as Sinder put it. [[spoiler: Like when she pushed her little brother out a window]] was she trying to save 200 children and bring back 200 more, or was it a selfish act when she should of been there for her defenceless little brother? Or did she genuinely love and care about Sam or was she just using him as protection? Did she think telling the whole town about Mary's bulimia was so she could get her some support and help and keep the littles safe, or did she do it because she saw Mary as a threat and wanted to distract from her own faults? Debatable stuff. Expect things to get nasty whichever [[BaseBreaker side you come down on]] .
** Did [[BigBad Caine]] genuinely love [[DarkChick Diana]] or was he just a [[ManipulativeBastard manipulative dick ]] who used her for sex? Who knows, as it's constantly being contradicted in [[UnreliableNarrator Caine's POVS.]] one minute he's thinking about nothing but how beautiful and smart she is and how he wants to marry her, etc, etc, and the next he's dismissing her as a object or pawn, so to speak, with no interest in her emotions or well-being. Either way, it's riled many heated fan debates, especially after the elusiveness of ''Plague''...
*** ''Light'' answers this question quite overtly. [[spoiler: It would seem, yes, he sincerely did care for and love Diana.]]
** Was [[AmbiguouslyGay Howard]] manipulating [[IronWoobie Orc]] to get him money and protection, or did he have genuine concern and understanding for [[IronWoobie Orc?]]
** ''Fear'' spoilers; [[spoiler: Is Gaia the premature corpse of Caine/Diana's daughter being possessed by the soulless gaiaphage, or is she still human somewhere deep down who is simply a victim?]]
** Was [[TeamMom Mary Terrafino]] [[spoiler: euthanized or the victim of divine intervention by the gaiaphage?]]
** [[FridgeHorror ...Some fans believe that Diana pushed her mother down the stairs, and that it was not by any means a accident.]]
** Is Drake Merwin a genuinely worthwhile and threatening villain, or has he become [[VillainDecay more of a joke as the books progress?]] This question became the subject of much debate in the fandom, especially after the release of ''Light''.
* AngstDissonance: Sam Temple.
* BaseBreaker: Try finding someone who's indifferent either way to Astrid Ellison. '''I dare you.'''
** There are only two types of people aware of Caine Soren; People who think he's a complete {{Jerkass}} and are praying he'd just drop dead in LIGHT and those who are completely obsessed with him and want his demon-babies. [[spoiler: The people who want him to drop dead in LIGHT already got their wishes...]]
*** [[spoiler: True, but probably not how they hoped it would come true. Caine died in a complete badass way and actually saved the world. ]]
* BrokenBase: Whether you ship the [[UnholyMatrimony Caine/Diana]] romance is purely a matter of taste. It is by far the most popular ship in the fandom, with a exceptionally large, vocal and dedicated fan-base. It is also by far the most critisized and refuted. Many argue that it's a beautifully-written, moving, complex, intriguing and ultimately tragic ship which brings out the best in both components. Others argue that its romanticized abuse which undermines Diana's independence and strength, and that the two were simply manipulating each other start to finish.
* CargoShip: Drake and his whip hand.
** Petey/Gameboy is pretty popular too.
** Don't forget Toto and [[ProductPlacement Nutella]]!
* CompleteMonster: Drake Merwin is a [[TeensAreMonsters 14-year-old]], full-blown sociopath. The first book builds him up as he waxes almost poetic on the subject of guns and his love of using them on people and gleefully volunteers to hunt, torture, and kill other kids. [[spoiler: When he captures a daycare of little kids and infants, he is fully ready to feed them to coyotes if they resist.]] In the second book ''Hunger'', Drake [[spoiler: beats Sam within an inch of his life with his mutated "whip-hand" while grinning the whole time, suggests using razor wires to ''shred'' a girl with super-speed abilities to bits and comes close to killing the main villain's love interest by hurling her almost casually into a rock.]] In the fifth book, ''Fear,'' [[spoiler: Drake subsequently teams up with Penny, a girl who can cause hallucinations. They ''slavedrive the pregnant Diana across a desert'' while causing her to hallucinate things like the baby being a bug and eating its way out. When Diana finally gives birth, Drake and Penny do it again.]] It says a lot about Drake that he makes friends with the force of pure darkness and has dreams so twisted and revolting that the dream-reader, Orsay, is paralyzed with fear being in the same ''room'' with him. Creator/StephenKing himself named him on a list of "Most Terrifying Book Villains".
* CrackPairing: Siana gained speed in the shipping world after Sam and Diana both broke up with their significant others in ''Plauge''. Never happened, but its popularity still prevails.
** Zil and Lance. [[HoYay If you]] [[AmbiguouslyGay Chose]] [[AmbiguouslyBi To]] [[HomoeroticSubtext ignore]] [[WordOfGay certain elements..]]
** There are several fanfictions featuring Astrid leaving Sam for Caine, and Diana leaving Caine for Sam...
** Dekka and Orc, despite their IncompatibleSexuality.
* DracoInLeatherPants: Caine and ''Drake'', believe it or not. Even the author has expressed discomfort with the level of fangirling the series' resident psychopath gets.
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Considering the series' [[LoadsAndLoadsofCharacters amount of characters,]] it shouldn't be surprising. Some examples include Lana's dog, Patrick, Cookie (who showed up a few times in ''Gone'' and ''Hunger''), The Artful Rodger and Justin, and that's only a few of them.
** Edilio and Dekka own Tumblr at this point in time.
* FunnyAneurysmMoment: ''"All we have to fear is fear itself"'' would become pretty ironic by the release of the fifth book...
** Also in the first book, when Caine ponders why his real mother gave him up, Diana guesses that she was "Just a messed up teenager" when she had him...Again, this becomes almost tragically bitter in the fifth book [[spoiler: When Diana becomes a more than messed up teen mother herself...]]
* GrowingTheBeard: Plague.
* HolyShitQuotient: You'll need a paper bag to stop hyperventilating by the time you get to ''Light''.
* HoYay: Caine and Drake. Also strays into FoeYay.
--> '''Caine:''' (leans close to Drake and whispers in his ear) Don't start thinking you can take me down, Drake. You're useful to me. The minute I start thinking you're no longer useful... (smiles and pats Drake on the cheek.)
** Also [[spoiler: IncestSubtext]] with Sam.
** Many of Drake's scenes can be [[ItMakesSenseInContext taken out of context...]]
--> ''"Don't you know what I want Sam?" Drake cried. "Me," Sam said dully. "You want me." "That's the idea, Sam. And you're going to stand there and take it. Because if you don't..."''
* JerkassDissonance: Caine and Drake seems to have this effect. Sam too, although it's most likely accidental.
** Howard to a less irritating degree
* JerkassWoobie: Diana Ladris has this trope down in ''LIES'' ,''FEAR'' and Debatably the end of ''PLAGUE''.
** Caine also has flashes of this in ''HUNGER'' and ''FEAR'', depending on [[BaseBreaker your stance on him...]]
** A case could also be made for Astrid in ''PLAGUE'', though some fans argue that the jerkass bit overshadows the woobiedom.
* NightmareFuel: Even without getting into some of the gruesome spoiler details, the nightmare scenario of children on their own without ''any'' adults around is enough to scare the daylights out of anyone.
** ''Hunger'' puts [[spoiler: Duck]] through absolute hell, despite being a mostly innocent bystander, so when you have to read the description of this character who you've come to sympathize with being buried alive (from his perspective), it is quite disturbing.
** In ''Plague'' [[spoiler:Dekka being eaten alive by bugs from the inside. It went FromBadToWorse when the only way to save her was for Sam to cut her open while she was still alive with Lana healing her and killing the bugs that crawled out of her body.]]
** ''Fear'' provides plenty of examples of this, including Penny's visions to Cigar, [[spoiler: the [[BodyHorror fate of the]] [[AndIMustScream kids who poofed]], and the mutations. Plus, the whole idea of all of the light going out is terrifying.]]
** Poor, poor Diana in the fifth book. And holy shit.
* IronWoobie: Orc, after his mutation.
* MagnificentBastard: Caine, to fluctuating degrees. In ''Gone'', he is this full stop. In ''Hunger'', he's [[spoiler: really just a tool for the Gaiaphage.]] ''Lies'' sees him desperate, but still [[ManipulativeBastard quite]] [[{{Chessmaster}} intelligent]]. By ''Plague'', he's definitely recovered, but has a ''huge'' dose of {{Jerkass}} thrown in. By ''Fear'', though, [[spoiler: he's gotten what he's always wanted, so]] he has no reason to have any schemes in the works. In ''LIGHT'' sweet, sweet CharacterDevelopment ruins this demeanour for him.
** [[spoiler: Penny]] ''almost'' ascends to this rank in ''Fear''. [[spoiler: If only it had occurred to her to, y'know, figure out what she was going to ''do'' with Perdido Beach once she'd taken over.]]
* MemeticBadass: John Terrafino.
* MemeticMolester: Drake. In ''Gone'' and ''Hunger'', it was mostly just a couple lines he says to/about Diana, but by ''Plague'', he's talking about Brianna enjoying nonspecific torture [[spoiler: he's pretending]] she recieved from him, winking at Astrid while threatening to "come up and play" with her, and fantasizing about what a long time he'll take with Diana when he gets to her. In short, downright creepy.
** The Gaiaphage as well. Especially when you consider that he/it is entering a little child's mind and tempting him to come and play "games" with him...
* MemeticMutation: "I WHIP MY [[CombatTentacles HAND]] BACK AND FORTH"
** Also "Marry me and live on a houseboat !", commonly used by the fans to express admiration toward somebody. It was originally said by Sam to Dekka.
** "X? What X?", from Quinn's "Radiation? What radiation?"
** "I had a [insert complicated word here] once. My doctor removed it."
** Sanjit's "can't be vinced" line.
* {{Narm}}: the trailers are so narm-ish they should be [[IncrediblyLamePun accompanied with rice and curry.]]
* NarmCharm: ...Or the trailers could come off as this.
* NoYay: A lot of the things [[CompleteMonster Drake]] says, particularly to [[DarkChick Diana]], fall under this. And then there's the [[EldritchAbomination Gaiaphage]] and Little Pete. Actually, the Gaiaphage and ''everyone.''
* PortmanteauCoupleName:
** Sastrid for [[OfficialCouple Sam/Astrid]]
** Caina for [[BetaCouple Caine/Diana]]
** Brekka for [[LesYay Brianna/Dekka]]
** Computer Breeze for [[ToyShip Jack/Brianna]]
** Quana for [[FanPreferredCouple Quinn/Lana]]
** Lanjit for [[ThirdOptionLoveInterest Lana/Sanjit]]
** Zance for [[OutlawCouple Zil/Lance]]
** Cake for [[FoeYay Caine/Drake]]. Don't ask how the fangirls find that hot. (Seriously guys, don't. We'd need a whole '''subpage''' to explain.)
* RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap: Astrid in ''FEAR''.
* ShockingSwerve: Everyone agrees this happened in Light [[spoiler: after Brianna died]].
* TearJerker: Needs its own '''PAGE'''.
** [[TearJerker/{{Gone}} You rang?]]
** Most prominent in ''LIGHT'', though each book seems to be sadder than the last.
** The basic premise in itself is a bit of a downer.
* TheScrappy: Zil. It's near impossible to find anyone who likes him. Part of this most likely comes from the fact that he's based on Hitler.
** Albert and Toto are this to a lesser degree.
*** All three have been overtaken by the ultimate scrappy, '''Gaia.''' Literally everyone hates her, and the reveal that the girl on the cover of LIGHT is her rather [[spoiler: than her mother,]] Diana, like it was implied it would be, stirred a lot of feelings up with the fandom.
**** Astrid was this until Fear.
* SelectiveSquick: This series has detailed descriptions of people's bodies being cut open, people being eaten alive, people killing themselves, [[spoiler: people giving birth]]... and yet there's no cursing. At all.
* TakeThatScrappy: Howard exists to give this to Astrid.
** '''''EVERYONE''''' exists to give this to Zil.
* UnfortunateImplications: Sam is never, ever once called out for attempting to '''force''' Astrid to have sex with him in plague, by the narrative, fandom or any other characters. In fact, we're meant to sympathise with Sam when he's screaming at Astrid at her for not having sex with him (while she was taking care of her sick, five-year old autistic brother no less). The blame is put on Astrid for being a "prude" and we're meant to despice her for having the audacity to not have sex with Sam.
* TheUntwist: One of the biggest criticisms of the series is that the cause of the FAYZ ([[spoiler: Little Pete feeling like he was in danger]]) was too predictable, which is a shame that it came in the first book, given all the other, far more engaging reveals that came later.