I have been thinking about book endings a lot lately. There has been many occasions where I was absolutely loving a book but then the ending comes and I am left feeling disappointed or unsatisfied. I can actually feel myself getting nervous when I come to the end of a fantastic novel. I am just hoping that the end will live up to the rest of the book. Does anyone else feel this way?
I am going to take this opportunity to share some things that I like, and things that I dislike when it comes to book endings.
Things I Love in an Ending
A twist that I didn’t see coming, but there were clues
I think most of us like a twist ending, but there has to be clues throughout the novel. If a twist comes completely out of left field, and there were zero hints as to what was coming, it completely cheapens the story for me. I want to be able to look back and think “I am completely shocked by the ending, but this line or this scene was foreshadowing what was to come.”
Characters has an ‘aha moment’
One of the things that I love most in a novel is character development. I love when a character, at the end of a book, has some sort of epiphany. It is interesting to read about a character who has a moment of self awareness or insight. I love when that ‘aha moment’ occurs near the end of a novel and seeing how to story comes together or wraps up because of it.
I appreciate an ending that leaves things up for interpretations. It allows the reader to come to their own conclusions. I love endings that get everyone talking and debating about what happened. These are the kind of endings that make a lasting impression and the books that I recommend most to other people. I just need them to read it so that I can get their opinion on what the author meant by the ending!
Leaves no plot holes
There is nothing more frustrating than finishing a book and having way too many questions. I do not need everything to be wrapped up in a neat little bow, but at least give me some answers! I am not a writer, but I can see how it would be difficult to tie up all of the loose ends. I am in awe of authors who manage to do it seamlessly.
Books With Great Endings
Things I Dislike in an Ending
This is more specific to thrillers, but it can applied to many novels from other genres as well. When the ending ends up being something that I predicted would happen only 50 pages in to the book then I am left feeling disappointed. There also a lot of ‘twist’ endings that I find to be too generic or cliche. The ‘it was all dream’ or ‘the hero saves the day and they all live happily ever after’ ending for instance.
A twist that came out of nowhere
I touched on this when talking about how I like twist endings that have clues throughout the book. If there was no foreshadowing, and there was no way that anyone could have ever in a million years predicted the ending, it actually makes me angry. I know other might not agree with me on this, but I need to be at least given a chance of figuring it out. Do not get me wrong, I love endings that leave me with my jaw on the floor, but not when they make no sense!
This will be controversial, but I HATE cliffhangers! They feel cheap, and a ploy to try and get me to buy the next book in a series. In a series, I still want a satisfying ending at the end of each book. Of course there will be some questions left open so that the reader will be excited to read the next book, but do not torture me by having me guessing whether or not my favourite character dies at the end!
Books With Unsatisfactory Endings
So that is it! In general, this is what I love and dislike in endings! There are obviously exceptions to each of these points! For example, when I read a romance, I want a predictable ending where the couple is together in the end. Admittedly, I am often cheering for the hero to destroy the villain. It is just that these endings are not memorable!
I would love to know whether or not you agree or disagree with me, as well as what you like and dislike in endings?