One of the reasons I love genre fiction is that I love the epic battle between heroes and villains. Those forces of will and power make me giddy with excitement, whether it's the Hercules myth, Harry Dresden, or Katniss Everdeen.
These are my favorite archetypes, and they are almost always what I look for in books that I read for fun. Now, that doesn't mean that I'll avoid a book or even claim that it's a bad book if neither of those archetypes are present. But primal feelings course through me whenever I find a great display of archetypal heroes vs. villains.
Archetypes can be touchy, though. If they fit the classic example too closely, they get boring. If they deviate too much, they come across as over-thought. Much like a proper pizza dough, they have to be JUST the right thickness to come across as excellent, without getting spread too thin.
What else do we need on this epic pizza, though? How about the sauce (a classic story that follows a traditional pattern? Or maybe something spicy with hints of new-world ingredients)? Good cheese is a must, but not too much or it becomes stringy. (In this example, cheese is the web of subplots that tie the main plot together.)
Toppings: Pepperoni (a mentor/caregiver), black olives (love interest), and bacon (the quirky sidekick who happens to be the REAL reason we're reading). The pizza is our hero and his quest, and dipping sauce for the edge-crust is our villain. Dip that crust until the villain is gone!
With all of the options out there, the possibilities are endless! Concoct your own recipe, try out all the ingredients together, but try (if you're entice me, anyway) to make sure it's an epic battle between Hero and Villain.