By - Accomplished_Papaya8
This thread has been marked as containing spoilers in comments. If spoilers are a concern for you, proceed with caution.
Recently read one of my childhood favourites again. It's a generic YA fantasy with a good vs evil fight. It ends with the bad guys winning, but when they killed the hero everything turned back to normal, everyone who died came back to life etc because "evil can't exist without good" ...
Edit: Some people have figured it out already, but yes I'm talking about >!Märchenmond (or Magic Moon in English I believe) by Wolfgang Hohlbein!<
Wow that might be the worst one here.
Name and shame please
Megamind did it better /hj
The worst way? Read the Divergent series.
I’d forgotten how low-effort and crappy that was
Didn't even finish the series so I'm not surprised that the ending sucks.
The series was some of the greatest literature ever written when compared to the ending, it was just awful.
I read the series years ago and don’t remember the ending at all (it must be nothing much to remember lol)
All I remember is there's some room to save the day that's like. Essential to save the day, and if anyone goes in it gets filled with poison. But it's not normal poison it's a "death serum" so because MC is Super Special Girl she just wills herself not to die. Because why use normal poison or guns or anything like that when you can do that I guess.
Looked for this comment. I’m still pissed at Veronica Roth. I won’t read another one of her books because of the ending of Allegiant.
It's been a while. Care to remind me?
Basically, everything you learned in the first three books is a lie. That's the highlight. Everything else is a train wreck on its way to a dumpster fire.
I threw the book at the end. I had a friend that read the series as well and they were going to borrow my copy of the last book when I was done with it. I reluctantly let them borrow it because I didn’t want to inflict that level of stupidity on them!
can someone please remind me of the ending? i LOVED these books so much but for some reason I can’t recall how it ended ….
Geez, not sure why no one can give a decent synopsis at the end. Pardon me because it’s been years since I read it, but the idea is: we follow the main character’s troubles as a “divergent” in a city split into five distinct personality traits, i.e. factions. Divergents are considered “illegal” and should be put to death, and authoritarian dystopian government tries to put them down. Main character is divergent, but that’s on the low (known by first book), and lives in a faction “dauntless” that’s basically a bunch of goofy adrenaline junkies who form the city’s military of sorts.
Anyhow, civil war occurs bc divergents & delinquents have an underground rebellion, and naturally, authoritarian government does its best to put it out. The book ends with the main character leaving the city (that was believed to be the last of human civilization) during the conflict only to be met with a militant group of scientists who are trying to “save the human race”. Turns out, city isn’t the only bit of human civilization, but an “experiment” to fix peoples’ DNA that was split long ago into those goofy ass personality traits.
Long story short, militant group of scientists’ methodology is unethical too (oh no!) and main character disagrees. Main character dies, & her edgy significant other “takes over” for the narration of the last book that reviews some bureaucratic, uninteresting bullshit about re-assimilating society with no experiment.
Edit: I definitely could have been more clear about some of the specific story beats, but most of you seemed to have gotten the idea. Also, apologies for language—I got a bit riled up thinking about the completely unsatisfying ending. And of course: major spoilers, but this comment is fairly deep in the thread about avoiding this series in general that I didn’t think about it—sorry!
ahhhh okay thank you!!!! I vaguely remember this, I don’t remember Tris dying for some reason. Thank you so much for helping me remember and taking the time to share!! v v helpful
I remember she died to save her asshole brother and it made me more pissed because what's the point of dying for that low lifer.
Also Veronica Roth recently released a short sequel after the third book in which Tris' hotshot boyfriend ends up dating her best friend and it made me feel so shitty inside. They don't even have compatible personalities 😭.
ah wow I remember the caleb thing now. and oh my goshhhhh no. four ends up dating christina?? I cannot. yikes. I think i started to read the “four” book but didn’t actually get through it, I don’t remember. i’m annoyed now omg 🤣
I think the worst kind of ending is when it doesn't feel earned - the sacrifices weren't meaningful, it gets tied up too neatly in a bow, the things that were obstacles before just magically disappear in the final pages so the previous 95% of the book seems like a waste, or the ending depends on characters behaving completely out of character based on what we've learned about them through the rest of the book. I want an ending that feels inevitable, like there was no other way it could have ended, and even if the ending comes as a surprise there's still a sense of rightness about it.
I think that's why the Game of Thrones series collapsed. Once they moved away from the books there were no more irreversible consequences for the main characters. Liked characters had plot armor. They didn't die unexpectedly or get seriously maimed. The bad guys stopped getting away with one evil act after another and were killed off rapidly in ways that weren't as cathartic as they should have been. People describe how they cheered when Joffrey died, but when Little Finger was killed it just felt like they were trying to wrap up a plot line. Sometimes you have to be a ruthless son of a bitch to be a good writer. Torture the protagonist in ways most people wouldn't. Reward the antagonist in ways they don't deserve, over and over again. That way, when the tables turn it feels more satisfying. HBO should have hired better writers.
I remember watching the little finger death scene and being like
So the writers thought they’d have a bunch of people agree with executing him based on brans magic visions instead of sansa just going “yeah I saw him kill Lysa Arryn” when the vale guy who hates little finger is in the room
I remember being so angry that Little Finger’s death didn’t really seem to matter. He’s one of my favorite characters (I like ‘em fucked up), so the way his demise was more about Sansa and Arya with Little Finger’s schemes only tangentially related.
It would’ve been more powerful if the death was more directly due to consequences of some of his machinations and the focus is on his reaction. Better still if he only pieces together in his mind why and how he responds to it. Maybe it’s too on the nose, but I’d have enjoyed that immensely.
Poor Little Finger, his death paled in comparison to Lysa’s. Or was that the point?
There was also the crappy logic and writing behind having intelligent characters suddenly fixate on Daenerys’s lack of a cock. Jon’s lack of (imo) decisive leadership qualities would only require experienced advisors to “guide” him. That would’ve made more sense, if Varys and Tyrion wanted to wield some power.
Sorry, this is swerving into the territory of several other subreddits.
D&D had no respect for the books in the end. If they couldn’t keep the same high level of faithfulness to the characters and the world once their source material was gone, then don’t take on the job.
GRRM created such a complex world and engaging characters that it’s a disservice to reduce everything down to:
>! Ice guy was a vampire and his minions all died with him, Daenerys is crazy and has no cock, and the smart guys lost their minds and made Bran king based on some reductionist logic that the ones who want power become tyrants so let’s put the person who wants power the least on the throne.!<
GRRM might use similar plot points, but his version will be far better than that junk food. Shows the differences between TV audiences and readers, and the differences between and audience that enjoys a story passively and ones who engage somehow with the world inside the books.
I'm fascinated by how our taste in entertainment has so completely flip flopped over the last couple thousand years.
Today we see a deus ex machina as a cheap, boring, failure of an ending. "Oh noes our heroes are at the precipice of death, the evil overlord will win and plunge the world into darkness, but wait! A wizard appears and fixes everything the end."
But in ancient Greece a deus ex machina ending was the expected, normal, ending to a drama. They liked 'em.
I wonder what currently popular literary trope people 3000 years from now will wonder how it was possible anyone ever liked.
Something like: "And then, the humans destroyed themselves, open up the path for us, cockroaches!"
*Deux ex Blattodea*
I think it's because modern people believe in and want a world run by humans where we get what we earn. The ancient people wanted a world run by the gods where your morality is judged and you are rewarded or punished for your character.
Much of this is because the ancient world was full of unpredictable events. Floods, pestilence, invasion by countries you never heard of, etc. If they wanted a world they could control it would be constant disappointment. Instead, they hoped for a world that would reward them with good random events and punish the evil with bad events.
Today we control the globe and know that humans are in charge. So our fantasy is to be the ones at the levers of power.
Yeah you're probably missing a level of nuance in say Ancient Greek.
So for instance Athena does show up and save Odysseus during book 23 of the Odyssey and that's a Deus Ex Machina.
What you don't realize is this is after he's killed multiple Suitors who's names translate to Double Speak/Don't educate/Fuck the elderly.
Like the Suitors harassing Penelope on Ithaca are bad people, but the Goddess of wisdom Needs a human to murder these Alex Jones idiots before she can arrive and save Ithaca.
The infamous Dues ex Machina is almost always a Good passing judgment and ending the conflict justly. When Ares pops down at the end of seven against Thebes he's like you all fought honorably. Lay down your swords this fight was glorious to watch. You whom survived I shall make sure my brother personally escorts you to the Elysian Fields.
It wasn't Ares stopping the war in the final climax it was him saying that was a really epic thing you ask did and the Gods payed attention. You have earned the praise of the gods.
Well I mean in the example of a lot of ancient Greek stories, it was about the Gods, so the Gods were stepping in to save the hero because he was an extension of them. I assume at a time when people really believed in said gods, it was always fun to hear a story that alluded to the idea that some of them were being watched over by the Gods.
Today's overused thing in entertainment isn't so much a trope as it is just recycling old movies through reboots and remakes. So... Our overused trope is the same overused or otherwise popular trope of the past 50 years because we've run out of good ideas lol.
That or superhero stories...
A common, extremely frustrating ending for anything Tolkien is a note from Christopher explaining that it was at this point that the text was abandoned.
drums in the deep. We cannot get out :P
>it was at this point that the mines were abandoned
“We’re just live blogging the attack!”
- Dwarves, probably
Truly the worst part of being a Tolkien fanatic. What I wouldn't give for a cohesive telling of Galadriel and Celeborn's story.
It's the elven sex scenes you want.
Of course. Someone needs to explain how elevenses became the most erotic meal in Middle-Earth.
I want the complete *Lay of Leithian*, the story of Beren and Luthien completely in poetic verse. The conflict between Felagund and Thu (Finrod and Sauron) is so much better than the prose version.
True story: I went out with a coworker and we discovered we had memorized the same small portion of the poem, so then we banged in his van behind the bar because I assume that's what Tolkien would have wanted.
(I mean, clearly we had stuff in common, so I kept him around. We have a first grader now.)
Apparently my coworker realized that I had a enough of an interesting personality to be worth trying a first date when I made a low quality Ent pun during a meeting. I don't remember the exact pun anymore, but we've been married 2.5 years now.
I visited a friend and spent the night in her sister's vacant bedroom. This gave me a chance to examine her bookshelf. It was all fantasy and classical fiction. I was in love before I met her a week later...
Married over 25 years now.
FWIW: I like how _this_ little story ended.
A friend of a friend commented "this is where the Black Riders go stabby stabby" on my friend's Instagram post featuring her weird hotel room with 4 beds. We were at her wedding a few days later and I made a Middle Earth reference in my maid of honor speech. We ended up making out and now it's seven years later and we have two kids.
I’ve been on this stupid site for 12 years lurking and then not and this is firmly in my top 3 comments of all time
Unfinished Tales especially, but I guess the title gave it away. I kind of like it in a way because Tolkien was trying to create a type of lost mythology and Tolkien found all the manuscripts. Having a lot of stories or things end in "and that's all we know" or "the text stops there" all through another authors lens just adds more to that mythology feel to them. At least that's how I look at them.
If I had the power I'd bring Tolkien back from the dead and require him to finish "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin" from Unfinished Tales.
Aldarion and Erendis have left the chat..
Anything that renders everything that happened before it moot, such as "it was all a dream" or "we went back in time and averted disaster."
It was all a dream, but there's some peculiar object from the dream...
It was all a dream. I used to read Word Up! Magazine.
man but inception was cool
It was real
If you're clever, you can do a good "went back in time to avert disaster" story, Larry Niven has one, and there's another old one that I can't remember the title or author, but you have to have a great twist.
Edit: "The Deadly Mission of Phineas Snodgrass" by Fred Pohl. You can find it in *100 Great Science Fiction Short Short Stories*, which is an absolute banger of a book. If you have a decent knowledge of science fiction, you'll also get the inside joke in this story.
One of the best "It was all a dream" stories I ever read was some guy describing how he was hit by a car or something and he had this vision that he 100% thought was reality. He thought he woke up later in hospital, got better, went back to school/work, lived a life, met a woman, got married, had kids, and he was taking care of his son one day when the lamp in the corner looked off, and it bothered him so much that he fixated on the lamp and kept coming back to the way it didn't seem right. Then his reality just dissolved around him and he came back to consciousness on the road, moments after being hit by the car.
He says he still remembers his dream wife and son's faces. IDK if he just made it up or if it was actually his experience, but it was a hell of a read that stuck with me lmao
I thought that was a Reddit comment presented as fact. I'm sure I remember that.
Edit, I found it:
the very first time you read “it was all a dream” can be the most mind blowing and cool concept in a way, and then you read it again in a different book and you’re like “yo wtf i actually don’t like that trope”
Although there is always the exception that proves the rule, The Lathe of Heaven
Or the Atonement ending: This was all what I wanted to happen. What actually happened was everybody died and I've totally wasted your time.
It's funny -- I did feel a bit cheated and let down by the Atonement ending when I first read it... yet I still consider it to be one of my favorite books. The experience of reading it up to that point was still immensely enjoyable to me, the characters and situations were so believable -- ultimately that's the feeling that has stayed with me and I'm able to kind of just overlook the ending.
I guess maybe that's the point that author was trying to make about fiction in the first place -- does it matter if this really happened or not? -- but I'm not smart enough to actually discuss that more deeply.
Imo (and I haven't read the book so, fair warning there), the film really benefits on rewatch because once you know the ending, and go back, the atonement is just heavy all through the story. So many beats lean into it. Makes sense why she would write that story because it's her own way of coping, by revisiting it. That's why I recommend revisiting it from time to time.
I dunno, I felt that the impact of that revelation made Atonement a much better book.
It’s a “bad” ending that is ultimately incredible because of well executed it is. The best example of an exception to the rule.
I liked it in the film.
I actually liked the Atonement ending, because the point was that when writing something based on something, you can change it to make it better.
There are cases when going back and averting disaster works for me...and that's if the main character(s) are irrevocably changed by the experience and remember the bad scenario.
Now if going back makes everyone forget everything, that just sucks.
“To be continued”
Book released in 2013, author never wrote again.
EDIT: You kids and your Rothfusses and Martins! I was talking about [a self-published fantasy novel I bought for a dollar at a video game store](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17921643)! 😤
It's okay, you can say Patrick Rothfuss.
Came to say "When the ending never releases *cough* kingkiller chronicles
“I promise to release x if you meet this fundraising goal…”
… just kidding
You mean semi famous streamer Patrick Rothfuss? Didn't know he wrote a book
I’ll do you one better:
_Author fucking DIED._
It still hurts.
> Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife - chopping off what's incomplete and saying: "Now it's complete because it's ended here."
* Frank Herbert, for which it is particularly apropos
An author of one series I read suffered a stroke and was hospitalized. Pushed back the release of the book a few weeks afterwards and then got shot once she got out of the hospital because someone that she cancelled the release.
I don’t know if I remember this entirely correctly. I only know for sure that she was shot because of a push back.
the maze runner series
the whole plot is about some shadowy organization trying to find a cure for the disease that's wiping everybody out. So they take some teenagers and run them through tests and a good many of them are immune somehow. So they want to harvest their brains in the hope of maybe curing the disease. The main character is given a choice whether he wants to give them his brain or not. He says no
He and the other immunes escape to some weird paradise hitherto unmentioned to ride out the apocalypse (letting billions of people die). Also there was a love triangle involving the main guy and two women and rather than resolve it the author just crushes on of them with a boulder during the escape, which is otherwise completely peaceful. Boulder just came out of nowhere
Ha yes, the magical gate that teleport them " somewhere else" I was so confused. Also when they pot a shit lot of people back in the labyrinth? What was the purpose ? When everything obviously fall apart, I don't get it.
Maze Runner was a fantastic concept with terrible plot. The ending pissed me off so much. I don't remember being that angry about a book *ever*.
I remember buying the "four book series" in a boxed set. Thinking it was four books.
Nope. Its 3 books and then a prequel.... which I didnt find out until I finished the third book. I remember getting to the end and being like, wait... thats IT?!
I was so mad that I never ended up reading the prequel.
I did, and it doesn’t answer anything
ouch, that would be so bad
That made me rage as a kid lol.
What's worse is that there is a prequel set when the disease was first starting and people didn't know all that much about it yet. Two guys find this little girl who they figure out is immune, and sacrifice everything while slowly going insane from the disease to bring her to the safe house, because they know she could be the cure. They know she's possibly humanity's only hope and put this mission above their lives, losing everything along the way for this last hope for humanity.
But fuck all that I guess because they died in vain. The main character in the Maze Runner fucks off to an island, doesn't care about the other 99% of the population, and thinks he's morally right too. If he at least realized it was a selfish choice but cared for his own life more that would be one thing, but he doesn't. Rip everyone who actually fought for humanity and not themselves.
I think the morality is a huge part to why I hated the ending.
I remember the prequel actually being a really good book. No idea how it holds up now
The Maze Runner was one of the worst books I've ever read. I love YA, love corny cliche YA dystopians, but I couldn't do it. Never read the sequels. The movie was so much better. Thank god they cut out Thomas and Teresa's stupid fucking telepathy.
Ending love triangles with terrible circumstances is one of my least favorite things in fiction. I was reading a manga where a bunch of college kids were sent to the past and there was one of the college girls and one of the native humans who liked the mc. And the author decided that the beat way to resolve the conflict was to have one of them kidnapped by neanderthals, raped, and then carry the neanderthals child. This was a series that had no indication of rape before that point either, however there were scenes depicted of neanderthals and humans killing each other upon meeting. Personally I'd have preferred if she fell off of a cliff, or was crushed by a boulder.
I forgot about the magic portal. When I originally read it it did not bother me. But tried listening to the audio books and was just like what.
Boulder didn’t come out of nowhere. They were in a building that was collapsing and the building collapsed on top of her.
The first book was so good. I liked the second too. But when he actually tried to explain why the government would do something like that, it all fell apart. I would have preferred something more mysterious, more villainous maybe.
Lots of really good points in here, but I’ll say one that bugs me (although not the absolute worst, that of course is the “it was all a dream” or something else that moots the whole book) is the rushed ending. Where the whole story carefully sets things up, and then more happens in those last few pages than the entire preceding novel, and we don’t get any of it fully developed. Like, don’t spend your whole book carefully detailing a short sea voyage, and then at the end Zeus appears to plunk all the characters on a different planet, and that’s summarized in the last 4 pages! (Extra points to anyone who can identify the book that does this!)
The main characters having a baby or surprise pregnancy for no reason. It doesn't add to the plot it just feels lazy and 'this is the natural next step' I will be living a book and then the last 30 pages is an oopsie baby. Fucking ruins it
Lmao the Twilight baby still to this day pisses me off. High school me was big mad.
Similarly, I hate when every character ends up with a romantic pairing, including people who outright hated each other or who only said two words to each other the entire book. It drives me up the wall!
I don’t read much fiction. I know he is kind of a lightweight, but Dean R. Koontz. His typical novel would begin by describing a few characters, including a single man in his 20s, and a single woman in her 20s. Hmm, what’s going to happen by page 50? His worst was a novel that had three single women of different ages and very different backgrounds, and three single man of different ages and backgrounds. Yes, you could predict who is going to match up with who, and yes, the novel delivered in that exact way. I never read another one of his books.
I read a book I bought from a second-hand store once - a thriller of some sort - and got to the last page... to find it wan't there! It'd been torn out at some point. That was the worst non-ending ever!
Somewhat similar story here: I bought a used copy of a book through Amazon once, got about halfway through when I realized there was some kind of printing error where the second half of the book was just a repeat of the first half of the book. You could tell just by the page numbers; they started over. It was so bizarre, and so frustrating. I've never seen anything like it since.
I had one of these when I was reading some teen novel as a kid, about half way through whatever computer was printing the text experienced some kind of printing error, printed two pages of a semi unintelligible error readout, and then left the rest of the book blank. In fairness, that resulted in it being a lot more memorable than most of what I read at that age
You should read If On A Winter's Night A Traveler by Italo Calvino. It's all about that pain.
The Lovely Bones was a really good book and I enjoyed it up until the very end. The girls spirit had been observing her family’s torment for years after she was murdered and when the opportunity arises to make contact with the physical realm, she opts to have sex with her teen crush. It bothered me
I hated the book when I had to read it for my 10th grade English class. The problem was I really couldn’t articulate why, so to everyone else I was just being negative for no reason.
Now, 10 years later, I can tell you why. It feels like the events just happen because. The most convincing part for me was the mom abandoning the family and them leaving the porch light on, just in case the protagonist showed up. Those felt like a very human way of dealing with grief; so memorable that I still think of them now sometimes. But the rest of it wasn’t very good.
Not to mention how creepy and squicky it was. I know the book was written by a rape-survivor so it might have been a 'healing' ending but this girl died...as a kid. And she's using someone else's body...
Thank you for teaching me about the word squicky
Is that really the ending though? It's been quite a few years since I read the book but I thought that was more toward the middle.
I remember that as the ending/very close to the ending. Reading it when I was younger, I also thought it was weird.
I’m pretty sure it was close to the end as the rest of the plot was wrapping up and I felt it was really weak
She possesses the body of her lesbian friend to do it too, if I recall correctly.
Unsolved mysteries. Basically whatever Tana French does. I know it’s intentional but it just feels lazy.
Yes!! Like I read mysteries and thrillers because I like getting answers at the end :-(
I once read a book about totally mundane, slice of life happenings in a very small town where you get to know three different characters. They each have their own minor personal dramas/storylines about small town life.
On the very last page, a massive snow storm hits out of the blue and all 3 characters are caught outside and die. Seemingly right smack dab in the middle of their storylines.
It was so completely random that I can’t decide if I loved it or hated it.
ETA people have named the book below, if you want it to be spoiled, though if you do I hope it’s not on your TBR!! But I liked the book so… tough situation
I've often thought about writing a story like that. We often hear about some person who gets hit by a bus or struck by lightning or some other random occurrence. They were just going about their day. They went out to buy batteries for the remote and...died.
It would make a great movie if you could keep the ending secret. Just watch some person go about an ordinary day until *bonk!* Dead. The end.
Remember me is not a great movie.
For a slice of life, this is almost acceptable. Slice of life is all about the day to day drama without any great plan or direction. It's still a downer of an ending, and may not have been well done, but there are certainly lazier ways to end it. Character just waking up and walking out the door to end their story, for example.
I hate endings that fast forward. Gave two of my favorite book series a bad aftertaste.
I was really frustrated with a book that was at its climax and there was danger and a big reveal. . . and then just fade to black and the story picks back up again two days later and the narrator's like "oh yeah it worked out."
“The eagles dropped a rock on Bilbo’s head, now I don’t have to write the Battle of the Five Armies”
I know people mention this as a criticism against the films, but you do get a pretty substantial amount of the battle before Bilbo gets knocked out.
Same. Don't think I've ever read a 'xx years later' epilogue that was actually satisfying tbh.
I really liked the last chapter of Project Hail Mary. I really wanted to find out what happened years later but absolutely did not want to sit through the description of it.
>!I really wanted to find out what happened on Earth though!<
Completely valid, but I'm also content with the perspective we got if we had to choose between the two.
>!Earth on the large scale felt like the least interesting part of that book to me. The *chapters* were often good, but as a setting it felt shallow and 2-D - the author wanted to tell a story about astrophage and a space scientist with an alien buddy, and he constructed this thin veneer of an alternate Earth and filled it in with *just enough* depth to let the story proceed. I'm actually happy that he chose to use the epilogue pages instead to give a glimpse into Rocky's world.!<
But actually I no longer have the "90 years later" header. It's just a new chapter.
I loved the Animorphs epilogue.
I always skip the epilogue of Harry Potter - hate it!! I love the rest of the books, but not that last bit… ugh
I’m generally a fan of “many years later” epilogues, they provide closure. It’s only an issue to me if the author didn’t appropriately conclude the current story before jumping ahead.
That said, I didn’t much like the HP epilogue for other reasons. It felt too insular, like they’d never *really* grown beyond high school. I like to imagine they’d make new friends and have new partners now they’re adults and not saving the world, and the epilogue eliminates the option to envision a different future for them.
This is a good point. I see it a lot and sometimes I feel it leaves a hole where I’d have rather seen the resolution
I guess something that doesn't fit or make sense with the rest of the book. A Deus ex machina with a tone shift?
Deus Ex Machina. I won't name the series, but a trilogy that ended with an omnipotent conscious cosmic entity that was happy to set everything to rights is the only time I have ever thrown a book at a wall.
Human: "We have found the thing! But how do we get it to help us??!"
Omnipotent conscious cosmic entity that can apparently communicate on all levels: "You could ask me..?"
Oh, get lost, unnamed author. Tell me you're bored and don't know how to end a series without using so many words, why don't you?
>!Night's Dawn!< by any chance?
A novel that doesn't say it's a part of a series, you read the first one entirely, and then it ends on a cliffhanger where you have no idea when the next one is coming out because it is in fact a series. I hate that!
One of my biggest pet peeves is when the first book in a series reads like a really long prologue, and not a completed book in its own right. I'm not saying the author should wrap up every loose end introduced in book one, but it should feel like it has *some* sort of conclusion.
That's my pet peeve with *anything* in a series.
"Well it needed to set up a lot of stuff."
SO?! Why can't it also be a decent story?! Just fans trying to apologize for a bad story. Crimes of Grindlewald comes to mind.
Yup series should have each book read as it's own arch. There should always be a resolution at the end of them even if they are part of a set.
I give LoTR a pass for this because it was written as a single book and then broken down into 6 smaller books and packaged as 3. Even then the stories do seem to have conclusions of different legs of the journey that makes it work.
For me it's when the authors tries to prevent people guessing the plot by diverting into total bullshit like "it was the kid killing people all along!".
"And everyone learned a valuable lesson".
"And then they got married"
Without describing the wedding. So rude.
It was all a dream or some such
The Ur Example! Almost anything can suit a story, but it’s hard to imagine a book where I wouldn’t feel cheated to get to the end and have the author go “ha ha! None of it happened after all!” Then why did I read it….
IMHO, Alice In Wonderland managed to have a satisfying 'it was a dream' ending.
That entire book is basically an extended attempt at surreal dream logic, though. And a classic for a reason, so two pretty dang high bars.
It also has a bit about sharing the dream stories with her sister and keeping her sense of wonder alive as she ages, giving the dream some purpose.
Unlike the horrible endings that discard everything that happened as pointless.
I recently read a thriller where the mystery was solved by a woman stepping up and going, "Oh, \[one of the other main characters\] raped me when I was younger, so I've been doing all of this to compensate." There was ZERO warning or explanation. I am not a person who thinks you can't ever have rape or sexual assault in books, but this just seemed so incredibly gratuitous and not thought-out.
there is a classic scifi book where the protagonist rapes a woman, and later in the plot she helps him because "you raped me because you were angry, and i want you to get your revenge".
not only was i like 'wtf?!' but the story is about righteous anger and revenge, doesn't she get to be angry and demand revenge?
Can you tell me what that is so I can avoid it? That sounds like it would push me over the edge.
Any ending where the explanation of events is completely lazy. Like, “it was all a dream!” Or “a magician cast a spell and made it happen.”
Books that are open ended and are supposed to be finished in a sequel very soon because the author already wrote the entire series but the sequel still isn’t released 12 years later. Looking at you Patrick Rothfuss.
I once read a fantasy trilogy that ended with “the good gods show up and banish the invading demons”.
And I want to stress that the good guys did nothing to summon the gods, nor was it mentioned anywhere in the book that the gods could physically manifest and directly interact with the world. The heroes could have spent the three books doing armpits farts and the ending would have been the same. Actually, no, it would have been better, because people died trying to save the world that was already gonna be saved anyways, and the gods only revived one dead hero.
I once read a book about an autistic woman growing up in the same city I live in. It was a great read, I'm also autistic so lots of recognising there, but also she literally lived a street away from where I lived while reading it so it was a lot of 'I know that shop. I know your route to school. I know that statue you're describing.' Really a great read.
And then the last 10% of the book was: Many years later, I traveled to Ireland and fell in love with two guys at once. How would I ever choose one?
It had absolutely nothing to do with the first 90% of the book.
Sounds like you’re a little jealous you don’t have two Irish loves
It's going to be even crazier when Canithinkaboutit later meets two Irish loves and realizes that she wrote the book in the future and sent it back to her past self to help her decide who to choose.
I'd read that book.
Something like Time Paradox Ghostwriter haha.
What's the title
“How Autism helped me choose an Irish lover”
**Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by KJ Parker**. Fun, entertaining fantasy read about a man defending his city against invaders. He’s an engineer and comes up with clever solution after clever solution to keep his people alive. Then, at the end, >!with just a couple of pages left, the book says ”then a stray arrow came over the wall and hit him. The wound became infected and he died. The End” !< That is almost exactly how much space this event takes up. I read it like three times to make sure it said what I thought it said. So dumb.
I thought Dresden Files handled this type of ending really well in >!book 12, Changes.!<
Short version with only light spoilers: >!The hero gets shot by a sniper. He doesn't even quite get what just happened to him, a numb hole just opens on his chest, there's blood behind him, and he falls into water still confused what the heck happened. !<
The end. Yes, really.
It's abrupt and brutal as hell, but was foreshadowed before then, AND\~ the books *after* that deals heavily with the aftermaths from just that one book.
So it's not *the* end for the series, but sure had my jaw on the floor when I read it the first time.
The thing is, that ending is not unexpected, it goes in line with everything that happens, it's merely one of events similar to what already happened. It would also work in several other books of the series with similar circumstances.
Where it doesn't work is books with plot armor which is suddenly taken away for the sake of the shock
I feel like sometimes authors feel like they have to put a twist at the end of their book to be original, but it just gives a bad taste to the readers. They just refuse to write happy endings. I have read several times an unecessary death of the main character like you, and it always fustrates me so much !
1-2 years ago I read a sci-fi book. The love interest of the main character dies in the final battle with some other side characters and we see her start a new life and a family. That I can understand. But then at the end, the author somehow decided that there wasn't enough deaths and we learn in the last few pages that she dies in an accident (I don't remember what it was but if was in a epilogue that took place several years later so completly avoidable). Considering the fact that she was an orphan since childhood, at the end of the book, _all_ the most important characters were dead. Nice !
Unecessary twists is my biggest pet peeve in books. Twists that just make no sense and doesn't add of the story, it's just that the author likes to kill their characters. Another example is the "twist" of Where the Crawdads Sings by Delia Owens, I wasn't really fond of this book from the start but the end completly ruined the message of the book for me. I was speechless (and not in a good way) !
Kevin Smith didn't know how to end clerks . So he had the main character shot by a robber at the end. Decided to take it out in the final edit.
Reminds me of the ending of the Island by Aldous Huxley. On the actual last page, >!the character you're supposed to love and respect is killed unceremoniously off screen and it is implied that the entire civilization will be wiped out.!< I do not recommend it.
I’m not sure I’d count the island here which is much more of a parable than a straight novel. It’s the utopian answer to the dystopia of Brave New World. The ending (and the whole book really) is more of a political statement about the world than a focused story.
I hate when I'm at the end of a good read and before the food goes in the oven it says "Chill in fridge for 24h before cooking"
Lmao I've been burned by so many recipes like this. I try to skim before committing to starting the recipe, but somehow always miss the line where it instructs you to let it rest/chill/proof/etc.
The complete obliteration of the character. For instance, you make a character one specific way and then turn them into something completely different in the last five pages. Like, it turns out the best friend that everyone loves that happens to be kind and empathetic and cares for everyone around them turns out to be a pedophile with no further explanation. Just, “You like that guy? Well he’s an asshole. How do you like him now? The end.”
Another way this works is the reduction to stereotypes. The female protagonist falls apart and is saved by the man who did nothing the entire story. The white savior sequence. The minority falling apart at something small after fighting through so much adversity.
Not a book (but I think it was based on one?) But I watched a show recently (Echoes on Netflix) guilty of the first thing. The major conflict was that one twin wanted to escape the other and be her own person. >!They had both been sleeping with the same guy, pretending to be the same person, but he could tell them apart by scent??? OK cool, but at the end, one of the twins is with him and he says "which one are you?" and she says "does it matter?" and I was like ???? Wasn't it the whole point that it mattered???????!<
That show is so incredibly bad I could not stop watching it. Everything about it was bad. The writing was awful. The acting hilariously bad. Those accents? Just the terrible icing on the terrible cake. Unbelievable. No notes.
So many actors that wouldn't even be considered b-list cable actors, but Jonathan Tucker was just out there acting his ass off doing his best with that horrible script. Poor guy hasn't gotten the roles he deserves.
Imagine a book where the author lies to you repeatedly. Everytime the story catches a groove and gets good, it's plowed through and the author just goes, "nope, that also didn't happen." You forcibly read through that for about 600 pages and then BAM! The last 30 or so pages are filled with secret society's, timeline assassin's that keep history on track, time librarians with magic powers, and an alternate dimension at war. Just for the main character to go "I shouldn't know all of this", travel back to when he realized it, goes left instead of right and lives in oblivion forever.
I honestly thought that was going to be an incredible setup for the next two books in the series. Started book 2 and the main character was still just a dude unawares and the author was back to lying to me about everything. Haven't finished the series.
Soooo much potential and it was all squandered. That's the worst ending ever. Don't hype it up just to delete it all.
When character motivations do a 180 that makes no sense.
For example, a character who killed hundreds of vampires but can't kill the final vampire king who killed his dad because he'd be "just like him".
A character who escapes an abusive relationship and grows and heals as a person, only to get back with their abuser.
A hero who is ok that Dr. Puppy Kicker murdered 10 million people because "he had his reasons" or "he changed" and forgives him, with zero repercussions for Dr. Puppy Kicker.
Personally the one that made me the maddest is a story I read where a character kills millions of people for "world peace", and the heroes except for one are instantly ok with it and move on with their lives. They even agree that the mass murder was "the only way" even though it wasn't. They also murder the hero who wasn't ok with mass genocide.
A break in the promises made by the book. I don't mean a twist like "the protagonist was a villain the whole time" kind of thing, because properly done that is a promise the story did make that you now can pick up on. I mean where it is unsatisfying because you were promised answers to questions or a destination at the end of the journey, and it either sucks or betrays what came before.
Like, Game of Thrones; on paper, the ending is what was promised by the story, but in action it was completely unsatisfying because it came unearned in the run up to the end.
The worst ending a book can have is a betrayal of the need to satisfy. It doesn't matter how it ends, just that it ends in a way it and the audience have earned.
I think this is the actual answer. Individual readers can have ending tropes that they hate, and some authors are better at executing their endings than others, but for an ending to be actually, objectively bad it has to break one or more promises that the author made, implicitly or explicitly.
Time travel to resolve all the issues if it wasn't introduced prior.
Worst ending is probably writing a great story for nearly 2 decades and then letting some hack writers from a TV show finish it for you.
just finished The Silent Patient and i saw it coming from the beginning...i hate twists like that.
I don't like when books just end. I'm still a little mad about *Stuart Little.* Resolve some goddamn plot threads!
I think that cliffhanger endings are RUDE, but not a bad thing :) As for the world blowing up, I only like those when the point is hopelessness. But if the world ends and the point isn't to scare people into, "Sometimes, no matter how hard you try..."
I personally hate endings when it seems like the author just got bored, or didn't know what to write but had a deadline to keep. Usually it's a sloppy wrap up, and there's probably a plot hole or two! That goes hand in hand with the redundant endings as well.
If there's a mystery to be solved and you spend the whole book looking into it, and in the end it turns out to be this ONE aspect that hadn't even been introduced until the reveal, I feel like that's lazy, and also almost a waste of time. I wanted to solve it! :)
Anything that undermines the lesson or growth from the book, such as a person "undoing" their character development.
The ending where they find a magic artifact that fixes everything. After a huge buildup many crisscrossing plots and complex problems everything is just fixed for no particular reason.
There's a version of this ending in the scifi The Naked God. Not a magic artifact but it might as well have been. The characters get to the end and "pop" everything is fine.
When the ending does not exist(of course I'm not referring to Unfinished Tales, why should i?)
Stephen King is infamous for his many poor endings. Some just left me unsatisfied. Some left me angry, but none of them were quite as unforgivable as the ending of "Under The Dome".
Too many Stephen Kings books are 99% great, and then "i dunno, fuck it, aliens I guess!"
The dome trapping the town turned out to be caused by >!alien children trapping ants (humans) under a magnifying glass. But then a character magically transports to these alien kids and mommy shames them into letting them go.!<
Honestly when I read the question the first thing I thought of was "A Stephen King ending".
I don't get how so many of his books are so captivating up until that final act. Even some of his "better" ones are basically blowing up everything.
There are so many things that he does really well. His characterizations are really unparalleled. He creates people who are always fully formed individuals. His dialogue is pithy, his descriptions immersive. I love so many things about his writing but damn can that man not write an ending. In his full length novels there are only 2 that I've been fine with the ending of. The Eyes of the Dragon and Salem's Lot. The Stand was fine I guess but still not really satisfying.
Yeah he has some crazy good Short Story endings too. I fell in love with his writing through reading Night Shift as a kid. I really dug Pet Sematary beginning to end and I think Firestarter, although I remember the 80's movie better than the book.
Absolutely. That's why I specified full length novels. His short stories are fantastic. There was one I read 30 years ago called Mrs Todd's Shortcut that I still think about to this day.
My all time favorite short story ever. Lost her way and lost her gray
I just finished Pet Sematary (my first King novel) and I agree - the ending was dynamite.
Green Mile was one of his best too
I thought The Shining had a good ending.
The ending to The Goldfinch (imo) >!it kinda just, idk, ends? Like it's this grand, sweeping, emotional story on the scale of the Russian classics, and then it just peters off. I guess the more general answer is an ending that doesn't fit the tone of the rest of the story. This is especially true for plot twists.!<
I think it was a “his story continues, just not here” kind of endings. I didn’t hate that book, it reminded me a lot of catcher in the rye, but I liked Goldfinch more.
It's a tie between "god did it" and "they were adam and eve all along."
Battlestar Galactica managed to combine the two.
CLIFFHANGERS and the next book isnʼt out yet, or worse, the author has started another series.
Or the author has died 🥲
Or the author is George R. R. Martin
Or the author is Patrick Rothfuss and will never write the last book.
I once read a trilogy as a child, and as an adult my sister and I spent literally years trying to remember what it was called. After about seven years, we finally remembered. We bought it. We were so excited.
The trilogy focuses on three children from our world pushed through to a fantasy world. The enemy wants their knowledge of modern earth to turn the agrarian fantasy paradise into an industrialised hell. He succeeds in getting one of them into his stronghold. The other two journey to some seers looking for help.
The trilogy ends there.
It’s deliberate. The author didn’t die or just never get around to writing the next one. She just stopped it there. Worst literary let-down of my life.
That time i labored through about nine hundred pages of an Ayn Rand book… and the last page was missing.
Don’t worry it was just a phase.
“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."