I’ve just finished the last book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series and I was left with such a warm, fuzzy feeling upon finishing the epilogue of the book.
When I look back at it, there’s not a lot of series that lead to such a satisfying feeling – which lead me to think, what do we actually look for in an ending to the series?
In this discussion post, we discuss the things that we look for in an ending to a series.
1. Character growth (Jeann)
This is probably the most important thing for a satisfying conclusion – I want to see that the characters have grown in their journey from beginning to end. Whether they’ve gained a new set of skills, beliefs or even friends and foes, I want to see that they have learnt how to overcome their problems and innermost demons by the end of the book.
2. A sense of closure (Jeann)
Whether we’re left with an open ending, an epilogue several years later, or a happily ever after as our ships sail away, I want to feel that the journey has come to an end. There is nothing more frustrating than reaching the end of a series, and not knowing what has happened to the characters that you have followed so closely.
3. Bringing together all the elements (Jenna)
This is kind of related to Jeann’s previous point but nothing feels better than having things come full circle. I don’t believe that all loose ends need to be tied up because life just isn’t neat like that, but I do really enjoy when I can see how things have come together. That a minor character who was introduced very briefly in Chapter 13 of Book 2 actually was an essential part of the story. That one tiny element of the plot now plays a role in the ending of the series.
4. Being overwhelmed by emotion (Jenna)
This can be because I’m sad to be leaving the characters and the world, or because it was so good that I want to reread the entire series. Or the ending was just so complete and final that I’m kind of just left trying to process it all.
5. Staying true to the story (Aila)
I think consistency (whether it is within themes, or the characters, or the plot) is super important when crafting an ending. I especially abhor deus ex machina endings, where something comes out of the blue and saves everything and everyone. Cop-out endings, in my opinion, arise when authors write themselves into a hole that they can’t dig out of. Using previous elements of the story (or at least a plot twist that actually contributes to the overall plot and isn’t sprung out of nowhere) guarantees an ending that is both logical and satisfying for me.
6. Gaining a lesson (Aila)
I don’t think this is a necessity, but I love stories that stick with you even after reading the last page… and a lot of those revolve around themes that you can apply in your own life. Even if the book may be situationally different, a well-written story, to me, can be applied to an infinite amount of events. And making that impact in the ending is the key.
What do you look for in the end of a series? Let us know in the comments below!
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Oh this is a great post! I think character growth is one of the most important point for me, I read the 3rd Lara Jean book this year and I’m so proud of the growth she has. It gives me a warm feeling and made me want to reread the series immediately! And while closure is not really necessary for me, I agree about consistency and tying all the elements together. Like I’m fine with the introduction of side plots in the subsequent book, but at least it should have the same goal as when we started our journey.
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No loose ends is always a good indication as well. And I go for characters walking into the sunset hand in hand. 😀
ahhh YES so much love and agreement here! And in my old old age (yes my bones are creaky) I’ve discovered I like endings with an element of happiness to them. It doesn’t have to be “all mushy and perfect” …I just mean satisfied and right and rewards for good characters, even if small! But that saying, if it’s an epic fantasy series, I do expect there to be high stakes! If everything and everyone turns out unscathed at the end, I feel too coddled.
I appreciate character growth so much, and that’s what usually fills me with emotion so much. Being able to think about where it all started and be like WOW, these characters deserve all the peace and happiness.
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I love it when elements all come together in the book! Especially when you’ve been paying attention to the other books and know that ‘hey, that something that happened in the previous book is now popping up in the next book, now with a conclusion.’ Character growth is such an important point as well – if characters don’t learn and mature throughout the series and all their experiences, how can it be the ending?
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