The most important parts of a fiction book for me are the opening chapter and the last quarter.
I like to be thrown into action or posed a question for the initial hook. I will read a book without these elements, I consider myself a slightly varied reader, but I do prefer them to be there.
For me however, an impactful(!?) ending is non negotiable. I need the pacing to accelerate, big reveals or shocking twists. In my opinion the best books are the ones with plots that are unpredictable but still feasible.
I like to challenge my brain. Untangling a maze of misleads and consequences can tether me to a book for hours on end, just don’t throw in a wild card with no previous ties to characters or story line- that infuriates me, it feels lazy.
A brilliant ending can turn the tide of my favour for any book. I’ll forget all about any moments I spent drifting off or dragging my eyes across the page. An initially bad book can become a decent slow-burner if the pay off at the end feels worth the time invested in earlier details.
I can sacrifice action if the character development is intricate but there still has to be some sort of BANG towards the end. Nothing worse than a book that fizzles out leaving you wondering why you cared. Even predictable but well written reveals or events are preferable to me than none at all.
Here are just a few books with (spoiler free) endings I’ve loved or hated:
The Ritual – Adam Nevill
The Virgin Suicides- Jeffery Euginides
We Were Liars- E. Lockhart
YOU- Caroline Kepnes
The Roanoke Girls- Amy Engle
The Hunger- Alma Katsu
Bird Box- Josh Malerman
Loved – Intense
The Children’s Home – Charles Lambert
Hated– Unfathomable change of direction.
Do you feel differently about my choices?
Which story endings do you love/hate most?