Elements in Lit 201: The End

Filed in Elements in Lit , featured , The Quirky Lover Posted on June 20, 2012 @ 3:27 pm 5 comments

It’s been a while since I’ve posted one of these “lessons” and it will probably be the last one for quite a while to come, so it seemed fitting that we talk about endings.

With so many resources online these days and easier access to the authors, for the most part, us readers know ahead of time if a book will be a stand-alone or if it will be X part of a series, right? But what about when you read something and you feel that there’s no resolution, yet you know there will be no more? Or, probably worse than that is if a book that was mostly just okay to begin with ends on a cliff hanger? What do you do?!

I’ve come across both of these situations over the last couple of years. In the first scenario, I was reading Lisa McMann’s Wake trilogy. They were quick, intense reads but I felt that the ending left room for a fourth book. I had the opportunity to speak with Lisa about it and I mentioned how I felt that Jamie’s story wasn’t done, it couldn’t be left like that. She was surprised by that. Looking back, I wonder if it was my own desire for a happy ending that coloured my interpretation of it?

On the other side of the coin lies Fifty Shades of Grey. I hate to give it any more press time than it deserves, but it’s the perfect case in point. By the time I’d reached the end of book one, I had no more desire to continue reading it, with its bad grammar and silly ending, but alas, it left the story in such a manner that I felt I had to know what came next. (I wish I hadn’t.) Thankfully, Fifty Shades Darker was even more badly edited and reduced the storyline to a hot(ter?) mess that I didn’t feel that same compulsion to read the last installment.

Fortunately, books come with all kinds of different endings. For the HEA, we may have our hearts torn out several times before we get to the final page, but even when things look so dire, so virtually unsalvageable, we can still hold onto the knowledge that the hero and heroine will find their forevers, right?

But if you’re not big on the romance front, plenty of novels, like mysteries will give a satisfactory conclusion, with the bad guy safely behind bars. Even books within series’, like those by J.B. Robb, Kathy Reichs, Patricia Cornwell, (and many) more have a certain continuing back story, but each has the ability to be read on its own.

Now, I want to know, how do you all like your books to end? Do you prefer single books where you don’t need in depth character knowledge or a running history? Or do you become wholly invested in the heroes and heroines that you constantly need more from them? How do you feel when a book doesn’t deliver the HEA that you so desire?

And thanks for joining me on these not-degree-worthy lessons! It’s been a blast researching some of these topics and I hope that down the road more inspiration will hit 🙂

About Jackie

Jackie is a quirky mom, living in Ontario, Canada. She's a bookkeeper by day and a book lover by night. She also blogs at The Novel Nation and writes occasionally for Heroes and Heartbreakers.

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  • Sheree June 21, 2012 at 12:26 am

    All I ask is that if the book is going to end on a cliffhanger, it should tell me ahead of time! I *loathe* cliffhangers. I have waited for the next book to be out before reading the previous book. If I didn’t know that the book ends on a cliffhanger, I would rant and rave about that all over the place, let me assure you. It’s not that I don’t want to read books in a series (although some of the small-town romances that read more like a ongoing soap opera than books really try my patience), I do read series books, but I just want to know if I will still have questions about the main characters afterward. Plus, given that I would have to wait for a period of time for the next book, I’ll more likely lose patience and cross that author off my list.

    Also, if there is no HEA, then the book is not a Romance and should not be labeled as such.

  • Donna @ Bites June 21, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Whether it’s a book in a series or a stand alone I need to have the current story arc concluded. I don’t require happy endings, just endings. It enrages me to no end when I read a book, especially in series, that looks like it was part of a larger manuscript that was chopped up.

    • Donna @ Bites June 21, 2012 at 9:34 am

      Okay, I’m having issues with your comments here. They like to post of their own accord. I wasn’t done! LOL! Anyway, I need a story to end. From one cover to another whatever that book is about needs to conclude. There can be subplots hanging out; that’s fine. Just don’t give me a major plot point and not finish it by the last page. It’ll make me want to throw the book against the wall, regardless of whether I liked it or not.

  • aurian June 22, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    I like them all 🙂 stand alones, that I can close with a sigh, series that I can keep revisiting my favourite hero and heroine, series like the In Death series, but I do hate cliff hangers. When I find out about them, I refuse to read a book until the series is completed, and then I will read them back to back if I want to.
    But, a real HEA is not always necessary, nor believable. HFN is fine with me as well.

  • JessS June 27, 2012 at 7:28 am

    I love series. For me they’re the absolute best! But I don’t always like unhappy endings. Usually I’m don’t mind how books are ended, because that seems like what the author intended, but a bad ending can make me dislike the whole book/series.

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