Thursday, September 18, 2014

What To Do When The End Is Here

The past few months have brought a lot of final books in very popular series and with that comes a lot of different reactions across the board. Naturally, we all bring our own subjective opinions to the table whenever we crack open the spine of a book. We all have our own feelings and thoughts on where we want the characters to end up or what we would like to happen and sometimes it works...and sometimes it doesn't. With such a wide variety of emotions about the conclusions to some of our favorite series, it got me thinking and raised the question of...

What are your expectations of the final book in a series?

I'm not trying to start arguments with anybody but I am extremely curious as to what you guys expect from a final book. Do you have to have a happily ever after? Do you have to have all of your questions answered? If the plot doesn't go exactly the way you expected it, do you hold it against the book?

I talk about this a lot with Hannah over at So Obsessed With blog about character and plot development over the course of series and their conclusions. What makes me dislike a final book is when the characters don't align with everything we know about them from the previous books. Another thing I dislike is when it feels like it is either a rush to tie up loose ends OR nothing at all happens plot-wise and then a big dramatic conclusion. Examples: The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons, in my opinion, decimates everything that are inherent to the characters she made us love in the previous two books and 1600 pages. That hurts. I didn't even write a review for it because it broke my heart and come to find out that book was never even supposed to be written. Her initial intention was the only have two books but fans of the series wanted more. Well you got more and hardly any of it was good. Allegiant is the example for another thing I dislike. NOTHING happens in the entire book until the very end and BOOM drama and it's over...uh...what just happened?


AND THEN there are final books that not only meet your expectations...but blow you away. Books that take the characters you have known and love for the past several years and give them an ending to the story that they deserve. I have actually LOVED a lot of series finales this year and had my heart just bursting with so much joy over how things concluded. Words cannot describe my love enough. We get plot development and character complexities and romance (hopefully lots of kissing) and a conclusion that is resolved...but hopeful. That's my favorite kind of conclusion. Resolved but hopeful of even more to come.


My Favorite Finales

My...Not-So Favorite Finales
The Summer Garden

Those are some of my more dramatic examples but I want to know what you guys think. 
What are you expectations from a final book? 
Does it always have to go the way you want it to?

4 comments:

  1. I love this post! I think we all, as readers, invest so much into the series that we enjoy, and it's just such a downer if the final book doesn't live up to our expectations. It's almost as if we don't really care if the 2nd book (for example) isn't so great, but that last book better be fantastic!
    I agree that I need my characters to be consistent with their actions in the previous books. If they're not, it's unrealistic. That's something I didn't mind in Allegiant - that big thing happened but I saw at as completely in-character, so it didn't bother me like it did with lots of people.
    I also think that with certain books, death is inevitable with major characters. It makes sense for lots of characters to die in, say, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, because they're fighting a major war. So death in final books doesn't bother me, because I think it's realistic, depending on the series of course.
    But I want big major things to happen in final books, whether it's death or some major twist or the main characters finally getting together, etc. In fact, the more crazy shiz that happens, the happier I am. BUT I feel like first and foremost, the story needs to be resolved. There can be a few things left open to interpretation, but most things need to be wrapped up. We need that closure.
    And I agree with you about the hope thing, to an extent. I kind of like it when crazy stuff that's not so hopeful happens in the ends of books, BUT I think that hope is the major thing that ties Young Adult books together, so if you're talking about a YA book series, that final book needs to have hope in it. Like in Allegiant again--that one character had a choice in the end, and I wanted that person to choose the other choice, which is not a hopeful choice at all. But it's a bad ass choice and that's what I like. BUT I realize that the choice that character made WAS the hopeful choice, and that's what is needed in YA books--that hope at the end that it wasn't all for nothing.
    Great post, Kelly, and sorry for my super long comment! :)

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  2. Series enders make me super nervous. Like.. I've invested so much into this series, what if the final book just sucks? I agree 100%, i want the characters to be true to who they've been in the previous books in the series, bc dramatic character shifts that are weird totally throw me off and then i hate it. I think one of my fave series enders that have come out recently was ruin & rising. I loved it hardcore. Everything came to a fantastic climax and conclusion and EEE all the characters being THEM and the feeeels. That is what I want from a series ender.

    Also -- I waited to read insurgent bc I wanted to binge it with allegiant and then so many people hated it that I've just been like MEH do i even want to read it? I keep saying I will but we'll see.... Also major sad face about the summer garden. I'm going to read tatiana and alexander and stop there!!

    Wendy @ Book Scents

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  3. Ok so don't hate me but Ignite Me is actually a conclusion that I have because I think it goes against everything we knew to be true in the first two books. I didn't even recognize the characters and it drove me batshit crazy. But moving on, I also hate when something dramatic happens just for effect and is completely pointless to the story *cough* Allegiant *cough* What I DO look for in a conclusion is a nice wrap-up of the story. I don't need a happy ending, although they are nice. I am perfectly content with a realistic ending. As far as plot and characters go I usually don't have many expectations and leave it to the author's discretion, I only as that it feels natural. Some of my favorite conclusions were DoGaM, Horde, Quintana of Charyn, and Cassandra Clare's endings.

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  4. I really love that you decided to write this post, Kel! I think it's interesting, always, to see how a series will end. I've read my fair share of series enders this year, too. And sometimes, I've loved them and sometimes, I've not really loved them. But overall, I agree with you. To me, as long as what happens feels true to character + plot, then I'm usually alright with how it all goes down.

    My favorite series enders this year? Infinite, Strange and Ever After, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, Mortal Heart, Ignite Me and Ruin and Rising. These were all really great, in my opinion, because it felt like they were perfectly set up by their predecessors.

    (Allegiant was not a favorite. I didn't dislike it, but it just didn't work for me.)

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