What makes a bad ending?
I think it’s amazing how endings impact us. I see a lot of people dislike the final book in series and trilogies, partly because they mark the end of the book, sometimes because the end didn’t live up to their expectations, and other times because the end was bad. I know some endings have impacted my overall opinion about a series in general. An otherwise favorite book can be ruined by a bad sequel and a book I enjoy reading can be ruined by an ending I hate.
I used to love Divergent by Veronica Roth, but after a lukewarm sequel and a finale that sort of ruined the plot, world building, and characters for me, I find that I went from recommending Divergent all of the time to never recommending it to other people at all. Even though the final novel wasn’t bad, I disliked the explanations and overall point of the story in general. The Maze Runner series by James Dashner is another example of a book I loved becoming a series I hate. The sequels were so incredibly terrible, they made the first book terrible by default.
Sometimes, I end up disliking a book or series because it ends too conveniently (or happily). I find that is more likely for me to do than for me to dislike a book because it ended tragically. When I read The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare and stopped at book 3, I actually enjoyed it, but when I continued to book 6 and supplemented those with the prequel Infernal Devices, I was sick of all of the relationship matches, the happy endings, and the lack of consequences characters had to face. It seems like such a minor thing, since most people love happy endings, but I can’t even take the series seriously anymore.
I like tragic endings, character deaths, and high stakes in a book. So many series that go on for some time and never have any major deaths, injuries, or consequences end up becoming series I can’t continue to enjoy. I like happy endings, but with a series, too many happy endings and convenient ways out of sticky situations end up bothering me if they continue to happen..
Do endings impact your overall feelings about a book or series?
Do you prefer happy endings? Do tragic endings bother you?
This post expands the 2013 topic: How Book Endings Impact Us