09/02/2014

Is This Really How You Want It To End? {The Birdie Musings}


With so many series ending this year, it got me thinking about what makes a satisfying ending. Not just in a series, but in books in general, standalones and all. Does a great ending mean the perfect fairytale one, where all the characters live happily ever after? Are some books better with ambiguous last pages, or are they a lazy way of letting the reader come up with their own ending? Does it depend on the book?

Let's examine some of the different types of endings and their culprits:
                                                          
    

These endings lack any pretty bows and are a way to emphasise that not everything will work out perfectly or resolve itself in life. Though these books sometimes offer the possibility things may be resolved somewhere down the line, they normally end with the main character feeling sad and the author chanting NOW SUFFER FOR ETERNITY MWAHAHAHA. And, really, that shit's just depressing.

                                               
   

The book that goes for the shock-value of killing a character. There's no real reason to off someone in these circumstances, other than for flair and drama, and normally they meet their end through self-sacrifice to save someone they love. The last few pages of these kinds of books end with the survivor - usually a love interest - waxing philosophical about their girlfriend / boyfriend's strength and how, when the wind blows, they can hear their voice in the breeze. Or something. A very unsatisfactory way to conclude a story.

                                                    
   

A book that doesn't really end, but instead takes cues from An Imperial Affliction and just stops. This is one of the books that makes you hope things will work out, but then leaves you hanging before a resolution can be found. These books leave readers wondering if the last few pages of their books are missing.

                                                

This is something you mostly find in books that are the last in a series. It's where everything - the plot, the characters and the relationships we were invested in - are all lost and suddenly the book becomes dull and lacklustre. A lot of the time, culprits of this ending will change characters completely to suit the plot (which is normally riddled with holes) including, but not limited to, making stupid and reckless decisions that endanger their lives, or being suddenly abrasive and douchey so another love interest can seem more viable. 

                                                      
   

The books that have major drama building up throughout the entire novel, which is then suddenly resolved it in the last few pages, quickly and without much thought. Sometimes the resolution happens off page and we go from drama to sudden ecstatic happiness. These endings are normally tied in pink bows and come with free chocolates and teddy bears. 


So what are some books you think have committed Ending Crimes? Do you think everything needs to be resolved, or does there just need to be hope that it might be?



 



Allie is a Pimm's-obsessed reader, who dreams of road tripping over America, learning to surf & becoming fluent in all the languages of her heritage (which, sadly, does not include Elvish). If she's not reading or blogging, you can find her catching up on Teen Wolf, or reigning supreme with Scrabble/Mario Kart. Stalk her on twitter, instagram or goodreads.

19 comments:

  1. Oh yes, Requiem had such a lackluster ending. I felt like I totally wasted my time reading it. And I wasted a lot of time since it was a LOT of pages. Sigh. I'll never get that time back... :/
    So, Forgive Me, LP has that kind of ending... hm... I loved Boy21, but I'm not sure I want to subject myself to that kind of torture. What can I say? I just love happy/good endings.

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    1. Requiem was just . . . I mean I don't even know! WHAT WAS THAT?! It was ridiculous and I really don't get the venture into love triangle territory. To be honest, I don't think either of the sequels had the same magic as Delirium. It was like everything went downhill after book one :(

      Don't get me wrong I loved Leonard Peacock's ending in a way. But it was frustrating because there was no true resolution and it had me worried for what the future might hold for ol' Leonard!

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  2. Agree. Not a fan of the Non-Ending, or the Out of Nowhere Happy Ending or the Life Sucks And Then You Die Ending. I don't care if the ending is sad or happy, but I want it to feel true to the characters and the story and feel ... right. I guess that readers might differ on what feels right, but sometimes we agree on what feels wrong...
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

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    1. We're are so on the same wave length - it's not about the ending being happy or sad, but it's about it fitting the story! You can't just wrap everything up nicely with no real explanation, just like you can't make every character miserable for no reason. There has to be some logic behind it

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  3. It depends on the book - especially the genre- as to what ending will work best. For contemporary novels, I like books that feel realistic. This can be relatively happy, or more sad, but if it just seems like a "tie a nice bow and that's it" ending, I'm not going to be as fond of it.

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    1. I like ambiguous endings for contemporary novels - actually for most novels. They're more realistic. Nothing is perfect, but there's at least some closure and some hope for the future. Endings that are all 'yay now let's ride off into the sunset and everything is wonderful' just make me feel cheated

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  4. The "not really an ending" ending KILLS me. Oh my gosh, I would rather all the characters die than having so many unanswered questions and unresolved plot lines. Weird, I know, but I just HAVE to know what happens, haha. I don't think I've read a book where the characters die, actually. Might be a fresh change.

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    1. I'm totally the same! I always end up screaming at the book like, WHERE IS THE REST OF IT?! I can't just have all of my questions hanging!!

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  5. Ugh, I wish I'd read some of those so I could really discuss this, but I just have to say, that nothing ruins a book, and an author's reputation, like a bad ending. If I am really into a book and the ending fizzles out, I'm always so sad, and I always remember. However, if the book was good enough, I can forgive a bad ending. But it has to be a pretty good book!

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    1. I think people try too hard to make the ending dramatic and it just ends up cheating the readers. There's all these unanswered questions and fantastic characters dying and weird transformations of characters we loved into something else. It's just a mess. I think authors need to quit trying to be so 'edgy' with their endings and just go with what feels right and what fits the story.

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  6. I guess I don't really have a specific ending that I like - it all really depends on the book and whether the ending works for it or not! For example, I don't have a problem at all with ambiguous endings, but I hated it for Requiem; the non-ending really didn't do anything for that series. Yet, there are other books I've read (blanking on them right now though!) that do go that route and I've loved it.

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    1. I think Requiem as a whole was just ridiculous. There was so much potential and it all just fizzled out and became this weird angsty book I didn't even recognise.

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  7. For the most part, as long as an ending makes sense than I'm okay with it, even if it's an unhappy one. But if the ending came out of nowhere, or just stops suddenly than there's a good chance I won't pick up another book by that author. Great post! :)

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    1. Exactly. An ending can be sad, but still be brilliant if it fits the story. It's the endings that are just randomly like 'oh let's do this because it's dramatic' that leave me wondering what the heck the author's problem was lol

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  8. i'm a sucker for the "everything is so wonderful" ending and i can always find that in my light-hearted contemps (and that's why I cannot get enough of them). and i dislike basically all the other endings you listed.

    Thanks for stopping by my StS post. Sorry for the late reply.

    -michelle @ Michelle & Leslie's Book Picks

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    1. Haha noooo. We must rebel against the pretty bow endings! I can see the appeal because, of course, it's nice to have our characters do the 'happily ever after' thing, but I just need something more realistic. Sure, a happy ending is great, but it doesn't need to be an ending where everything is suddenly perfect and all of the issues have randomly disappeared.

      That being said, though The Distance had that ending, I still loved the book as a whole. I just needed the resolution to be a little less rushed.

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  9. I actually don't care how a story ends, as long as it made me *feel* something, ya know? I do dislike when an ending feels rushed, but sometimes I have to wonder if it was I who rushed through it just to see how it ended. :P Great topic...I know this is a really sore subject for some right now. :(

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  10. I'm glad I didn't read Requiem, I've heard so many horrible things about it that it's put me off, even though I enjoyed the rest of the series. As long as the ending is fitting to the tone of the book, and it leaves us with a bit of closure, I'll be happy. Great discussion Allie!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

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    1. Oh Jeann, it was really not good at all. I hardly recognised that book - it was just so different from the rest of the series (and not in a good way)

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