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.
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!
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 🙂