Let’s Talk Bookish : What is a good ending?

Let’s Talk Bookish is run by Rukky @Eternity Books and Dani @Literary Lion and they offer up a weekly topic for everyone to discuss.

So endings for me are a funny thing. They can 100% make or break a book but honestly I haven’t read too many books where the endings have wanted to make me chuck the book out the window in frustration. I think the main issue with a lot of endings, is that they simply aren’t significant enough to be memorable. The ones that are however:

What are some books that had good endings?

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – I loved the way that we got the satisfaction of the story with Henry wrapping up and yet, Addie’s story with Luc was pretty much still open ended. It does wonders for my love of a book when the author leaves us with just enough of a hint that there’s something else to happen, some more story to come and that the character isn’t ready to be forgotten (yes that was an Addie pun). My imagination sometimes goes a little crackers wondering what would happen next but I think that’s part of the fun!

The Whisperman & The Mercies – I’ve grouped these two books together as they both have similar endings in that they’re bittersweet. I don’t want to make it all the way through a difficult journey only for everything to work out perfectly in the end with little to no impact on the characters. These two both had endings that made it clear that things went down and the lives of the characters had been changed forever. It really makes for a poignant ending that sticks in my mind for days afterwards.

Life of Pi – Now while I had difficulties with some things in this book, the ending was brilliant. It makes you view the whole book in a different light and in just the last few pages it’s almost like you’ve gone ahead and read a whole other book. I loved how much it makes your brain think and it really does, I spent a good while mulling over different parts of the story and how what I thought I read, could mean something else entirely with a little perspective.

Thunderhead – Can we say cliffhanger? Yep, this was the mother of all cliffhangers and whilst I would be completely enraged if it was the final book in a series, it made a hell of an impact knowing there was another book to come! It was exciting and fast paced and I was on the edge of my seat until the very last page of this book. I think this is often why people tend to love the middle books in a series more than the last, because the author has the scope to go wild and leave us with a hell of an ending and even more questions, knowing they have another whole book to bring everything together again.

What are some books that had bad endings?

So as I said before I’ve been pretty lucky to not read many if any books where I’ve been completely disappointed with the ending. When I was trying to come up with some examples it was pretty clear I just had pet peeves more than any defining books in which I really hated the ending.

Meet Cute Club and The Alpha – These two books fall into the category of my biggest pet peeve when it comes to endings. The ending that is so neatly tied up that it’s practically got a bow on. Now Meet Cute Club is a book that I really didn’t get along with as a whole as I thought it lacked a lot of depth throughout the book but the fact that in the end literally everything worked out perfectly for the character, really wound me up a little bit. The Alpha on the other hand was more a victim of ‘the epilogue’. You know the one I mean, where everybody lives, all of the characters end up in perfect jobs, they’re all coupled off and well on the way to picket fences and 2.5 kids if they aren’t there already. It’s too neat and too unrealistic for me, we have just established I like a bittersweet ending after all. I think romance books in particular are so guilty of ‘the epilogue’ and while sometimes I really like it, the ones that are too perfect, just miss the mark for me.

A Boy And His Dog At The End Of The World – Now by no means think this was a bad ending. I can’t sing the praises of this book enough and the majority of the ending was along the lines of Life Of Pi in that it made you view the book in a whole different way. I completely didn’t see it coming and it was a fantastic surprise. They very end however, the very last page just dropped a little question in about something that may or may not have happened within the events of the book. It wasn’t an open ending, it wasn’t the character going off to continue the rest of their story off screen; it was a question about wether something did or did not happen in a scene that as a reader I was effectively present at. It has been driving me mad ever since! While it is hugely fun to speculate, I kind of also really really want to know the answer. Unfortunately, it has me living in hope for a sequel that I know just isn’t needed.

A Dance With Dragons – I couldn’t resist mentioning this one. Remember what I said about cliffhangers in the middle books of a series being awesome? Yeah… that only works if we actually get the next book. (Not so) patiently waiting. I’m getting very nervous that I’ll never find out what the author himself wanted to happen rather than the TV series.

What do you think makes an ending of a story satisfying?

I think mostly, it’s about closure for me as a reader. It’s going on the journey with the characters and seeing it right through to the end and being able to turn that final page and sit back with no questions. Maybe things worked out the way you where hoping or maybe the author took the story in a completely different direction I think as long as I believe in the journey and the way everything worked out it can’t really go to wrong .

Well, that’s enough rambling from me folks! This topic really made me think about my preferences as a reader and I had a lot of fun picking apart my own psyche trying to pinpoint exactly what it was I did and didn’t like about certain endings!

Let me know if you have any pet peeves or if you’ve got any recommendations for books with epic endings.

See you in the next one,

Jen x

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