The A to Z Challenge is an annual blogging challenge. It isn’t restricted to book blogs – all kinds of blogs can participate. It takes place every year in April and during that month you have to write a post on the designated days (all except Sundays). These posts must have some correlation to the letter of the day. So, there will be a total of 26 posts starting from the letter A and ending with Z. Here is a list of all my posts.
I’ve been thinking of doing a discussion about book endings for some time now and it fit perfectly with the letter E, so here it is today! Hooray!
So, imagine that you’re reading a really awesome book! You’re turning page after page as you’re reaching towards the end. The biggest scene of the book is about to happen and you are feeling all the feels. You have only 10 pages left in the book and what you have been waiting for still hasn’t happened. You’re dangerously close to the very last page and it looks like the book is taking a completely different turn. The amazing kiss just doesn’t happen… The protagonists don’t face the great danger and instead get saved by some random lucky act… The end of the world is no longer coming because the bad guys just changed their minds… And then! The book is suddenly over. Everything you had anticipated and all the hopes you had for the protagonists are just destroyed. God, I hate underwhelming endings!
There is no worse thing that can happen in a book for me. An ending that just avoids all kinds of action and escapes the big scene that had me turning page after page the entire time, can drive me nuts! Seriously, I can go from rating a book 5 stars to rating it 2 or 3 just like that! And I don’t think anyone disagrees with me, right?
So, the question is what kind of book endings do you like?
For me, I can’t say I’m very picky. I love a good ending, just like most people, but I can also go with a sad one. Especially if it is an impossible situation we are talking about and in the end everyone comes out unharmed it feels too anti-climatic to me. Very unrealistic.
I think my favorite way for a book to end is a very dramatic one. Having something happening in the very last pages and just leaving it open so that it feels like the adventure continues. I don’t like it when EVERYTHING gets completely cleared out in the end, because it feels like my protagonists don’t have a reason to exist anymore. And what are they doing after the book ends? Just leaving a normal life? After all the adventures they’ve been through? NO! That can’t be right! Just leave something open, so I can imagine them continuing their lives, doing interesting things and keep fighting evil like they’ve always done. Don’t leave me picturing them living in a white-picket-fence house, having a normal job and sitting in front of the TV every night. (Contemporary books are an exception to this one, of course. But I mostly read fantasy, so that’s what I’m basically talking about here…)
I know open endings piss many people off. It feels like the book doesn’t get a closure. But I have to say I disagree with that. For me an open ending lets the story continue on in my imagination and I can think of the heroes continuing their quest. Whereas an ending where everything is resolved leaves me wondering what the heroes will do with the rest of their lives.
To sum up, I want the book to end with a bang!
I want the big thing the author was building up for to happen in the last 10-50 pages. I want things to cool down a little bit after that and then I want to have an ending that suggests more things happening in the future. I want to have that bittersweet feeling that things will be going on and I won’t be able to be a part of them. It kills me to have that feeling, but it’s a given with every book that I read and it really is the best way to finish a book. (In my opinion!)
But seriously, I’m not picky when it comes to book endings! 😛