Let’s Talk Bookish: What Is A Good Ending?

I’m a bit tired today and of course I’m only writing this last minute… SO I’m sorry if I make zero sense and go around in circles ๐Ÿ™ˆ

Letโ€™s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each otherโ€™s posts! You can check out these pages for more information on January 2021 prompts & a list of past prompts!

Now without further ado… The topic asks:

What is a good ending?

(SUGGESTED BY RIAN @ DOGS AND BOOKS)
Examples: What are some books that had โ€œgoodโ€ endings for you? What are some books that had โ€œbadโ€ endings? What do you think makes an ending of a story satisfying? Is there anything you always hate in an ending?

WHAT MAKES A SATISFYING ENDING?

This is a great question and one that I honestly haven’t given very much thought to before and the more I think about it now, the more factors come up for me to consider. Are we talking series enders or are standalone endings or first-book-in-a-series endings? I mean, endings are endings (lol) but what I’m “okay with” when it comes to a first-book ending is obviously going to be different compared to what I expect from a series ender! I also think that some genres come with certain ending expectations, the most obvious being romance. I pick up romances for the HEA otherwise what am I reading the genre for? (It’s definitely not the angsty drama! ๐Ÿ˜‚ ).

Since I joined the book community and started to really think about what works for me, I’ve come to realise that I’m one of those readers who like endings that give me an obvious sense of resolution. It doesn’t have to be “perfectly packaged” where everything is hunky-dory and 100% but at least the main issues are resolved, no lingering questions exist, the characters find some kind of peace, but most of all it just fits the story we’ve experienced. This “need” of mine to have a neat ending has changed a bit over the last year as I’ve started to feel less unsatisfied with open-endings as long as they fit the story.

One thing that I tend to hate is when endings are super abrupt AND open-ended. While I don’t think open endings will ever be a favourite, I’ve started to make peace with them. Then there are other times when the author ends the story so abruptly, usually mid-scene or at a half-formed thought, and it just feels so unsatisfying. Just thinking about it has me clenching my fist in frustration because WHY ๐Ÿ˜‚

Another factor that determines what a good ending is for me also depends on where the author takes the final book in a series or the final parts of a standalone. I really dislike it when plots and character ARCs suddenly take completely different and unexpected directions that totally change the vibe of the story and results in a lacklustre or underwhelming ending. I also really dislike it when dramatic and traumatic events are used for shock factor in an ending especially when it’s (imho) unnecessary but will keep the dramatic plot going in a sequel.

BOOKS WITH ENDINGS I ENJOYED

If you’re not new to this blog, you’ll know by now my memory is like a sieve and I can hardly remember what I did last week let alone the endings of the many books I’ve read. Also, thankfully, most of the books I read do have satisfying endings (at least for me), so these are just going to be a few of the ones I enjoyed from books I read from the last couple years. I’ve also linked them to my reviews if available otherwise they’re linked to Goodreads.

The House in the Cerulean Sea // With or Without You // The Black Kids // Nevernight // With the Fire on High // The Silence of Bones // Verity // Final Girls // The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

BOOKS WITH ENDINGS THAT … *CLENCHES FIST*

Some of these (or maybe even all of these) are unpopular opinions of well-loved books. A few of these had the abrupt open-ended endings that are so not my jam:

  • The Toll: I was so saddened by this finale because we spent so little time with the characters that made me love this series in the first place. We follow new perspectives and characters that I never felt attached to and ultimately, this finale ended up being so disappointing.
  • Normal People: I loved this book but I hated this abrupt open-ending. Why Rooney do this to me? ๐Ÿ˜ญ
  • At the Edge of the Haight: Another abrupt open-ending that left me with unresolved thoughts/feels.
  • Restless Slumber: This was the second book in the Forutna Sworn series and I was enjoying myself until the ending of this book tanked it for me. Just… Why? I was so angry! Lol ๐Ÿ™ˆ
  • Descendant of the Crane: This ending… Oh, this ending was so… not on!

What do you think makes a good or bad ending? What is something you hate to see in an ending? What are some endings you loved and hated? I’m curious to know what you think about this topic!

19 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: What Is A Good Ending?

    1. Cliffhangers are definitely not a favourite but I can get on board with it if it’s a book in a series. I mean, I’m gonna hate it but it’s also gonna keep me keep for the next instalment ๐Ÿ˜‚

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  1. Great discussion! I don’t care for abrupt endings either. I think there’s some wisdom to that saying about having both a strong beginning and ending to a story, because those two parts leave a resounding impression on the reader.

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  2. I totally agree that abrupt and/or open endings are my least favorite, for sure! Unsatisfying is a good word for it. I laughed when I saw your examples, because the first book that popped into my head when I read that was actually The Toll! Ugh. I loved that series SO MUCH, which made the ending all the more frustrating to me, because I very much disliked it.

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    1. Omg Sammie, The Toll slayed me with disappointment. I think I remember whining to you about it while I was reading it at the start of last year. I was so confused and underwhelmed ๐Ÿ™ˆ SO disappointing and honestly, I’m still a bit angry with it! Haha ๐Ÿ™ˆ

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  3. I love what you said about how a good ending varies depending on which book in a series you’re reading, because that’s so true. It’s just as annoying for a first book in a series to have a really satisfying ending, so the sequel seems pointless, as it is for series finales to have disappointing endings. Looking at you, Requiem by Lauren Oliver…

    I think I agree with you in that I don’t need everything to be wrapped up in a neat little bow–those endings often feel unrealistic because they’re too perfect–but I do like the major plot points to be resolved and I want the ending to suit what the characters have been through. It’s so dissatisfying when a book comes to an end and the protagonist feels exactly the same as they were at the beginning of the story!

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    1. Ooh, definitely agree when the book in a series just drags out for a disappointing finale when the first or second book ending would’ve sufficed! I’ve found myself having less patience for that lately haha (is this my age?) ๐Ÿ˜‚ Also definitely agree that the major plot points and questions should be resolved although I find these open endings more common in the literary/contemporary fiction I read and I mean, it’s frustrating but I also get it? Though it’d defo be nice to get some kinda resolution or growth!

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  4. Oh this is a great question. I feel like a good ending will either be 1) one that leaves me, the reader, satisfied or 2) one that does justice to the story (which sometimes doesn’t make a reader happy though). I can respect both for different reasons. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Totally agree. What leaves someone satisfied is so subjective and I mean, I know there are times I’m okay with a less than super-wow ending cos I feel like it answered all my questions and others will be raging about it and vice versa too. One way or another, it does leave an impression though ๐Ÿ˜‚

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  5. I hate open ended endings. I definitely agree with you Dini. I’m a sucker for cliffhangers in books when it’s a series but I need a proper ending in the last book in the series. Kind of scared about reading Scythe and enjoying it after reading what you said about the last book in the series… ๐Ÿ˜‚
    Great post, Dini!

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    1. I honestly hate cliffhangers in every form BUT I understand them in a series ๐Ÿ˜‚ although like you said, the last book in a series HAS to end properly or else no dice! Lol. I think the big issue for me was the author took the Scythe series in a totally different direction that I was not jamming with but it’s still a great series!

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