Chatterbox: Do fantastic endings save a book for you? [Poll]

March 27, 2015 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | Books, Chatterbox, Features

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Picture this. You’re reading a book, it’s SO slow that it’s putting you to sleep and it’s just not grabbing you. But everyone says it’s good, that the ending will be worth it, and you’re highly doubtful. But when you finally reach the end of the book, you’re like “hey that actually wasn’t that bad”. Does the ending change your feelings on the entire book?

I went through this exact same process, with many of the recent books I’ve read, such as Red Queen, Dreamfire and Unknown. I’d be completely frustrated and ready to rate the book 1 or 2 stars, and then I would struggle if the ending completely wow’d me. The author is saving the best for last, I get it, but does that make up for the slow struggle that you had throughout the book? Would you have preferred a book that had a few exciting parts along the way to keep you going, and then come to a satisfying conclusion? Or do you prefer something that s l o w l y builds up to an epic rip-roaring conclusion?

For me, it really depends on my mood at the time. If I have a lot going on in life and I’m fairly distracted, then those slow moving books just aren’t going to cut it. I’m quite fidgety at the best of times, so if a book is going to take 5 pages to describe some guy’s face, then I’m probably going to fill that time with something more productive. If I read 300 pages of a slow plot, and then 20 pages of a great ending, it’s not going to be favourable for the book.

Books I struggle through reading, but have epic conclusions, will probably not rate more than 3 stars, depending on how well the conclusion was. But if it was slow and draggy and the conclusion wasn’t done well, then it would sit below 3 stars.

Do fantastic endings save a book for you?

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Does the ending save a book for you? What would you rate these?

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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60 responses to “Chatterbox: Do fantastic endings save a book for you? [Poll]

  1. This is a GREAT post. I sometimes REALLY like the 'slow burn,' where the book slowly works its way into a crescendo that just works for it. But usually I'm so flippin' busy that those slow books never get finished 🙁 Sometimes I'm just not in the right mood for that sort of thing, so even though it's a good book and has an epic ending, I'm still not totally sold because it just wasn't the right kind of time for me to read that particular book. I very recently had this issue with The Rave Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.
    My recent post A Letter to Alyssa: It’s All Going to be Okay **SPOILERS**

  2. Shannelle C.

    It depends on the book as a whole. It could redeem a book sometimes, but the extent of that redemption is dependent on a lot of other factors. The opposite's the same as well. One terrible ending can ruin everything, and it's even worse if it's for the last book already.
    My recent post Pretty in Ink: The Winner’s Curse

  3. Sam

    This is an interesting topic! I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I think that if a book has a brilliant (or terrible!) ending, it really could change my opinion about the book. Obviously, it wouldn't make a 1-star book suddenly become a 5-star book, but it can usually manage to earn at least a .5 star or so. The ending is really the part of the book that I tend to remember the most, even more than the beginning. Awesome poll!
    My recent post {Review} Hit by Delilah S. Dawson

  4. Hmm, it really doesn't save the book for me. If a book is so slow that it is putting me to sleep, then honestly I would probably mark it as DNF at about 25%. There have been times where I keep reading a slow paced book JUST to see how it ended. But it really doesn't save it for me.
    My recent post Florence, Italy!

  5. Patty

    I'll be honest, this is how I felt reading Shatter Me. I was sooo bored throughout the book, but everyone else loved it so I persevered. The ending definitely made it a better book in my eyes and I gave it a 4 because of the ending, but it's not something I ever want to read again even though the end was great. It's hard to know if keeping on with the book makes it worth it.
    My recent post Book Review: To All The Boys I've Loved Before

  6. karawrites15

    I think for me a good ending can save a book! I mean, I definitely won't forget that I might not have liked the rest of the book — but it will still help bump up the star rating, that's for sure. I think endings are almost as important as beginnings; after all, they are the last thing you'll read of the book, so if it's good I think you're more likely to pick up the sequel / another book by that author. Great topic!
    My recent post Sunday Weekly Wrap Up (55) & Stacking the Shelves (36)

  7. Eugenia

    An awesome ending can definitely help in picking up the pace and to *some* extent saving a book by offering some wow-factor. However, like a few people have said here it does depend on if it's a stand-alone or series situation as to whether I'll go on with that series in future. Great discussion as always Jeann 🙂
    My recent post The Book Cake Tag

  8. Jae

    Good question. I think it depends at what percentage things start picking up at for me and if I didn't die of boredom beforehand haa. I read a Becoming Calder by Mia Sheridan which is the first of a two part story. I found the development really slow but then BAM last 30% just blew my mind!! I think I have it a 4 star. Great post, Jeann 🙂
    My recent post Review: Amour Amour by Krista & Becca Ritchie

  9. Gabs

    Unless the book is just awful (in which case not even a very feel-y ending can save that shipwreck) usually endings do influence how much I like the book. If they are well done, sometimes it can be a star difference. Usually not more than that though. 🙂
    My recent post Stacking The Shelves 3/28/15

  10. I think it depends on the rest of the book. I can read something where the pacing is slow and I'm a bit bored, but the writing is good, and then it picks up about half way and ends really well, and give a good review.

    IF it isn't well written or is just so dry and dull then no. A good ending will not save it. I'll just think 'oh that was a good ending, considering the rest of it was terrible' 😛

    Funny how a bad ending can totally ruin a book though. Hmmm.
    My recent post Book Review: Defiant by Mara Li, Jen Minkman and Lis Lucassen

  11. kezia1098

    Yep, definitely! I'm the same as you, I don't normally rate it higher than 3 or 3.5. I usually consider my whole experience with the book when it comes to rating. But if the beginning is just SO boring and the story is dragging as hell, chances are I'm gonna end up DNF-ing it haha. I can't stand boring books these days.
    My recent post [Review] Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

  12. It definitely depends on the book. If it was absolutely crappy on the whole, then the most it would be raised to would be 3 stars. On the other hand if it was 3ish throughout, then it might get to a 4. Definitely not a 5 though- that's reserved for books that are really good throughout 🙂
    My recent post Review: Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes

  13. It totally depends for me, mostly on how I felt about the rest of the book. If I was pretty "meh" or indifferent, then maybe a super great ending would save it. But if the book actively made me angry, like with problematic characters, a love triangle, or just really bad writing, then no fantastic ending will save it.
    My recent post Review 154: Silverwood (Betsy Streeter)

  14. danielleisbusyreading

    I think I'm more forgiving of slow starts if the second half is better, but if it takes most of the book until I'm finally enjoying it, then a great ending still won't make me rate it higher than a 3. Boring books are boring books. :/

  15. Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy

    This is such a hard question! Especially since I'm sure all bloggers want to be as fair as possible when rating a book. I think that if the ending of a book is awesome enough to make the struggle of the beginning seem worth it, then I think i will rate it higher, but if I enjoyed the ending, but still really hated the beginning it will have to be a low rating from me.
    My recent post A Day in the Life

  16. I am voting for a 'maybe'. It really depends on the genre and story. Sometimes an epic conclusion can really lift up a book, because you finally get the answers to the slow build-up. Sometimes a story is just so wasted on a good ending that it doesn't matter how it ends.

    But let's be real, if a book is boring me I might start to skim and that makes the ending less effective anyway.

  17. I hit maybe because ultimately it depends if the rest of the book was remotely interesting, even with it being slow. Because I've read books that are on the slow side but other aspects of the story keep me interested in reading until getting to the explosive ending. If there isn't anything keeping me intrigued most often I'll skim to this supposedly good end and then my rating/feelings are often on the lower side.
    My recent post Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

  18. Have I ever told you that I LOVE your cloud picture/icon thing? Because it's so CUTE and I just love it, seriously it's adorable! But back to books…I think it depends on the ending I guess. If their whole adventure is just a dream I don't really like it. If it's slow but has a great ending then I might not be able to finish it since it was really slow. But it it's good and has a terrible ending I feel kinda of sad because the ending ruined it…Yeah I'm not sure anymore XD! But good endings are always a plus, especially when you NEVER see them coming. I LOVE that!!!
    My recent post Captive Review

  19. readerswonderland

    As soon as I read the title I immediately though "Red Queen" and then saw you mentioned it xD But yeah, I had the same experience with that one. Often if I can tell the ending is going to be good or if I have heard it is amazing it can even save the book from being a DNF for me.
    My recent post ARC Review: Things We Know by Heart

  20. I love unpredictable endings so much, and they definitely can influence my rating. Of course the rest of the book has to be somewhat enjoyable, but awesome endings do have a huge impact. For example, I was initially not that impressed with Red Queen. It was a little info-dumpy at first, but when it started picking up and when I got to the amazing ending, my rating went up from two starts to four stars.
    My recent post The Flash Fiction Challenge: In Which I Procrastinate and Try to Write a Flash Fiction Piece on the Day I Post It

    • Ah yes, they can definitely make an impact, but for me I guess it depends on the rest of the book you know? Funny how everyone is mentioning The Red Queen

  21. I only wish this was the case for me, but if a book is slow and ending fabulous, then it's just a medium book, no matter how amazing the ending. I don't know, I believe that a book should be enjoyable throughout and should make you want to to continue reading, not that you should suffer through bad pages to get to the good stuff. It would be fruitless to mope through the first Harry Potter book to get to the big ending and then go 'ooo', this is good, some people just don't think that's fair, and I'm that person. Still, if a books ending can help other people, I'm all for it, good luck to them! 😀
    My recent post Five Friday Favourites – Covers Of Books I'll Never Read

    • I know, I don't think it's fair either that all the good stuff takes a while to get to and we're bored until the ending that wasn't too bad.

    • Hehe yeah, it's a hard one! I considered leaving the Maybe one out but then it would be hard to pick yes or no.

  22. fuonlyknew

    Great topic! I struggle with rating a book when the ending is the best part of it. I've read several books where I plugged away to the end and loved it, but I didn't change my rating. I just commented on how great the ending was. And as I don't post reviews below 3 stars on my blog, I don't get to elaborate. Maybe I should:)
    My recent post A Paranormal Twister ~ Darkness Within by Candis Vargo ~ Review

    • Thanks so much, I always find it interesting when people elaborate what they didn't like about a book, even if overall it was positive.

  23. For me, it depends on the rest of the book. Since you mentioned Red Queen, ending did not save it for me since I was truly struggling with writing and weak world-building through out the whole book one or two great chapters at the end could not save it for me. So it rarely happens to me that ending would wowed me in a way that I would forget all the bad and boring that happened before…
    My recent post DISCUSSION: Re-Read Worthy Novels

  24. Precious

    A great plot twist always saves an ending for me, but it can't just come out of nowhere; it has to actually make sense. That said, if a book is extremely slow or difficult to get through, I might end up DNFing it. No need to waste my time with a boring book when I can just drop it and read something more interesting, instead.
    My recent post Would You Give an Author a Second Chance?

  25. I've read books that annoyed me but once I reached the end I actually ended up liking it because it made sense somehow. The annoying parts were worth it and not as annoying when I reached the end because they tie up together with the ending. Then there are books that are just so painful to go through that even the best ending can save it :-/ And then there are times when I'm like you, it all depends on my reading mood…sometimes I'm just so impatient that I won't even try and finish the book. This is an awesome topic! Thanks for the poll!

    • I know, sometimes those books are so painful but if it was all for a reason, then I totally can understand. Everything depends on mood, doesn't it? Thanks Amir!

    • I couldn't have said it better myself Anne. I don't think a book that is boring all the way through to the ending deserves a high rating.

  26. The ending most certainly does not make me love a book, especially if I haven't liked it the rest of the time. If it's the first in a series and BEFORE the ending I wasn't sure if I was going to continue but then the ending was super interesting I MIGHT be interested in continuing the series (if that makes sense), but it won't have made my enjoyment of the book any higher.

    I FEEL LIKE THAT MADE NO SENSE, GOOD LUCK INTERPRETING THAT, JEANNIE <3
    My recent post Review: Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz

    • Yeah, sometimes first books take a while to warm up which I'm aware of, but sometimes it can be so frustrating! Thanks Chiara 😀

  27. I'm a cheater and just rated "maybe" on the poll. >_< IT MAKES ME SO ANGRY! And yet, I feel like it's unfair to be angry if the ending was really really good…buuuut, I just slaved through a few hundred pages of boredom, so, yes, hehe, a little anger happens. I had this exact feeling with The Sin Eater's Daughter. I was so bored and frustrated and grating my teeth at the cliche…but the ending really was quite good. AGH. It's really hard to rate books like those!
    My recent post How To Get More Comments On Your Blog

    • Looks like most people rated Maybe, don't worry Cait! It does make me angry too if we endured boredom all the way through.

  28. I agree with your point on this, the Red Queen was quite generic and boring.. until that amazing ending. I don't hate the book as initially as I started but somehow it doesn't seem that terrible either. It mainly depends on how the other aspects of the book impacted on me.. It does bother me when the authors save the good part for the last though 🙁 Lovely post Jeann!
    My recent post Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover ♥ Review

  29. I'm more inclined to love a book that was constantly engaging with a soft ending, rather than a book that bored me all the way but had a big bang ending. I lean towards DNFing if the book doesn't grab me in the halfway point, and no amount of people telling me how "the ending was awesome!" will change my mind if I'm really set on not liking the story. Like with We Were Liars… That was a really boring start, and I never ended up finishing it even if people told me how shocking the end was. D:
    My recent post Review: City of Savages by Lee Kelly

    • You said it really well Aimee, I definitely prefer constantly engaging books too! I do feel obligated to finish books though, even if I have to skim

  30. This is such a valid point! I have always struggled a little bit with this. It usually depends on my mood but in most cases I'm fairly easy to please, and if the ending packs a punch them I'm all for it! I voted yes, but as you said, only if it's epic and awesome and gives me the FEELS. I also rely heavily on the ratio of sucky to extremely epic, as you mentioned.

    That being said, I feel like this really only occurs for me in fantasy, sci-fi or action-packed books, there's just so much room for epicness in those genres! Contemporaries not so much – when it comes to contemporaries it's usually all about the characters for me. But if it's one of those rare and extremely dramatic contemporaries then YES, PLEASE. It has just occurred to me how picky I am.

    This was such a great post, Jeann! (As per usual)
    My recent post Review: The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

    • I totally agree with those sorts of books that are usually subject to slow and boring and then an epic ending, unless the contemporary endings have an unexpected twist (like Time Traveler's Wife). Thanks so much Maddie!

  31. Renee Bookboyfriends

    This is good point, I've read a few books like this, most recently Throne of Glass, which was okAY during the start but got a lot better during the rest and I think that actually has to do with the genre of it being High Fantasy, which I always give exceptions because of world building.
    However, if it was a contemporary it would be a turn off for me, however on the opposite end of things, if the climax happens to early, then it makes the rest of the book drag on and be boring.
    Thanks for sharing and bringing up this discussion Jeann!
    My recent post Divergent: March 21, 2014Insurgent: March 19, 2015Allegiant:…