Have you ever read a book and loved every moment of it until… that ending! Two pages (or even worse sometimes only two paragraphs!) can completely change your opinion of a novel. The reasons for a bad ending can vary: the outcome didn’t really fit in with the rest of the story or the personality of the characters; the story just ended without any real closure or explanation; you as the reader managed to come up with a much more feasible and entertaining ending than the author; or the worst of all – nothing happens!
Here I am going to go through some of my least favourite endings (and why). I am not attempting to slander these authors, in fact, one of these author’s tops my favourite list; these are just times when I feel they didn’t quite cut it!
Oh and of course *SPOILER ALERT*. It is difficult to discuss an ending without having any spoilers so if you are planning on reading any of these books (Shiver – Maggie Stiefvater; The Five Greatest Warriors – Matthew Reilly; Breaking Dawn – Stephenie Meyer; Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows – J K Rowling) probably best that you navigate away about now.
You’re gone? Okay – so on with the spoilers.
So first, Shiver by Maggie Steifvater. Let me begin by saying I enjoyed this book, thoroughly enjoyed it in fact. The author has a beautifully poetic style, the book is lusciously descriptive and the characters are genuinely likeable. Maggie Stiefvater even managed to answer all of those ‘what-if’ questions that inevitably pop into my head while I read. But then – the ending. Arghhh. The book just ended! No explanation. No understanding. No nothing. She slaps down the revelation that Sam is still alive and not only that but is human without providing any hint as to how this came about. Of course there is a sequel, but at the moment I am so dissapointed with the end that I don’t know that I will pick it up!
The Five Greatest Warriors (5GW) by Matthew Reilly. Matthew you are my favourite author, I have read (strike that), I OWN every single one of your books (most of them in hard cover because I can’t wait for the paperback release) but with the latest book I was left wanting. For those of you that have never read a Matthew Reilly novel let me say they are action… suspense… more action… more action… and more action. He loves a cliff hanger and had no issues with ‘killing his darlings’ (usually quite violently!) in 5GW we know from the beginning of the book that the final battle is going to come down to a father and son “one fights for all, the other for none”. While reading the book I came up with a great twist – the 5th warrior should be Jack’s father, facing-off against his brother Rapier; instead the book had the highly predictable ending with Jack as the 5th warrior – no need to say I was dissapointed.
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer. This book had alot more wrong with it than just the end but that is an issue for a different post. In my humble opinion the biggest problem with this book was the ending and by ending in this case I mean the climax of the novel. Climax of the novel? I hear you cry. But there was no climax. Because NOTHING HAPPENED! She introduced three thousand new characters (so many that she needed an appendix in the back to assist the reader) and then those characters did nothing, there was no fight, no-one died (except for the traitor which no-one really cares about anyway!) and they all went on to happily live another day. In my opinion there is nothing worse than an ending where you get the feeling that the author was too attached to the characters to allow them to die.
Which of course brings me to the other end of the scale – the book where you kill of every single minor character in order to save the lives of the three main characters. Know which book I am referring to? Of course you do. Harry Potter and the Deathly Harrows by JK Rowling. Now again I believe there was more wrong with this book than just the ending (the characters wandered around in circles for about 300 pages) but the ending is what sticks with us. I am going to say it – Harry needed to die! Not come back! Not have some ridiculous epilogue to show his life is wonderful. He should have died, properly. Saved everyone, sure. Been a hero, definately. But still he should have carked it (Aussie slang for those not familiar). And really did she need to kill Tonks and Lupin, leaving their brand new baby orphaned – it’s a children’s book!
Anyway that is enough with my venting for one day. Please feel free to leave comments and tell me why I am wrong about these books, or let me know what books you think ‘got it wrong’.
The Exasperated Novelist