I’ve just finished reading Take Back the Skies, and that ending pretty much changed my outlook and enjoyment of the whole book. Here it was, coasting along 3 stars until THAT ENDING comes along and throws away the whole message that has been drilled into us throughout. While I’m still reeling from the shock, it made me think, how often do endings change your feelings on an entire book or series?
Let’s talk about Divergent for example. I absolutely loved the book, recommended it to anyone who would listen, and lapped up the series like it was all I had. And then, Allegiant happened, and my love for that series died and I awkwardly pretend that it never existed.
Endings are extremely powerful in leaving an impact on the reader, especially since there will be no more answers or no more chances after it. This is the author’s final hurrah to leave you with a lasting impression, and whether they choose to have a Happily Ever After, throw in some sudden deaths, or leave it open for interpretation will determine your complete like or dislike for the book.
It’s true, we may have enjoyed a book along the way, but if the ending doesn’t live up to our expectations or it creates some negative feelings, then that has the power to overthrow the reign of an entire book or series. Whether we liked the writing, characters, storyline or not.
I spotted Sarah Dessen and Nova Ren Suma discussing on Twitter how it gets harder after every new book they write, because their readers expectations skyrocket after every single book they write. While readers may or may not be satisfied with some endings, especially those unpopular ones, the author will make the ultimate decision over the impact they want to leave on their readers.
Funnily enough, even though some endings may be unpopular or shocking, they seem to be the most memorable ones that will generate discussion from readers. How many HEA endings do you remember? And how many books can you point at and go “Don’t read that because it ends badly”? I can probably pick out more books that ended badly and traumatised me rather than the ones that left me with the warm and fuzzies.
Some people will avoid those evil books because they don’t want to feel like they wasted time and energy into something that wasn’t going to end well. I’m not one of those people, but if I can see some rhyme or reason into the type of ending, then I guess it’s okay with me, even if it wasn’t a HEA.
Do endings impact the way you feel about a book or series? Which books in particular made an impact on you? (NO SPOILERS)
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