Discussion – Should Books Contain Abrupt Endings?


Hello everyone,

During 2018 I have read a few books that contained abrupt and unexpected endings. Some of them left aspects of the plot unresolved, while others just felt like the rest of the story still had not been told, or was simply rushed. And that made me wonder, are sudden endings ever a good thing?

I am actually a bit nervous about posting this discussion, as I am unsure if this is an unpopular opinion or not. Here goes…

Standalone vs Series

Even though it makes us have to wait agonisingly for the next one to be released, I don’t think it is so bad to have an abrupt ending in a book that is part of a series, as long as there are no plot holes.

In a standalone book, it is much more difficult to accept, because there will never be any sense of closure and you are left wondering what happens next. In one book I read this year, the main character was arrested unexpectedly right at the end, and it was frustrating that I will never know the outcome!

When there is not going to be a sequel, why not give the book a proper ending? I think one reason is to add tension and surprise the reader, but most of the time it just makes me feel a little disappointed.

Imagination

I think some authors use the technique of a sudden ending to allow the reader to speculate and use their imagination, almost to decide for themselves about what may happen next.

On some occasions, this could be effective, especially when the book contains compelling characters or situations. But still, for me it makes most sense to tell the full story in the best way possible, and not leave it at a time where it is still interesting and captivating, and most importantly has a lot more to offer.

The Importance of a Good Ending

In my opinion, the ending is one of the most important parts of a book. Not only should it act as the culmination of everything that has gone before it, it also carries a significant impact towards shaping my lasting impression of the book.

That is why I find it hard to accept when there are important questions left unanswered, or when the epilogue feels rushed and not true to the overall story line.

If I want to be very critical, endings that leave too much hanging in the air can make you feel like you have read all of those pages without being provided with the answers you were waiting for. It can sometimes detract from a wonderful book!

Summary

The way a book finishes often has an impact on my overall rating, and I am not sure I have ever loved an ending that has felt too sudden, with the rest of the story left untold.

For some readers the ambiguity and the overhanging question of what happens adds to the excitement, but most of the time I find it frustrating.


What do you think about abrupt endings? Are they sometimes a good thing? Let me know in the comments!

Happy reading 🙂

9 thoughts on “Discussion – Should Books Contain Abrupt Endings?

  1. Ok this is perfect and I agree with you 100%. I can be ok with abrupt endings when there will be another book released but in standalones I like for everything to be resolved. I don’t like being left with questions. I hate cliffhangers because I am impatient and I want to know everything like now lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting and thoughtful post. I don’t tend to read series so I like my endings to be resolved, and not to end abruptly. I suppose the beginning is the most important though – if it’s no good, I never reach the end anyway 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It has actually surprised me, the amount of books that finish in an abrupt and/or hurried way. I can feel let down when the ending leaves things unresolved. And you’re absolutely right, the beginning is most crucial!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a great discussion topic! I agree with you that abrupt endings are sometimes unnecessary and frustrating more than anything else, especially in standalones. When it comes to a series, if written well, it can sometimes have the opposite effect and make one want to continue with the series but I must say that I have found myself in this situation in very few cases as quite often I am just disappointed with the lack of depth in the epilogue and decide not to continue with the series. And I completely agree with you that the ending is extremely important and has a huge impact on your thoughts and rating afterwards. Great post, Stephen!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Darina! It was interesting to read your thoughts on this topic.
      It is definitely frustrating to find an abrupt ending in a standalone, and I agree with you about series. A strong, well written ending with fewer loose ends is likely to give us more of an incentive to read the next book.

      Like

  4. I think I have a love-hate relationship with abrupt endings. While I love the book for it, I always get furious at the writer for it. And it’s the same for movies too! Yesterday I was watching a dark comedy, murder mystery and it had an open ending and I’m like,….um, excuse me! CAN I JUST KNOW FOR SURE WHAT HAPPENED? But I also loved the movie for letting me decide an end for myself. But these are rare cases. If the abrupt ending is in a standalone, I’m usually really pissed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Loved reading your comment! I can sometimes admire an author for writing an ending in this way, but most of the time I am disappointed when the ending is abrupt. And I agree, we just want to know what happened!

      Like

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