How Important Is A Plot Twist?

I’m beginning to find it more difficult to find books that shock, scare or surprise me, one of my priorities when choosing what to read. I love trying to guess endings and I’m always happiest when I fail to do so.

I agree with the notion that when a book announces a twist, shocking revelation or surprise ending they’ve already eliminated those exact qualities.
We’re prepared for what’s to come and immediately start picking up on any hints and red herrings subconsciously, if not on purpose.

However, there needs to be connections to the end result earlier in the book to make them feasible. When a surprise comes straight out of left field and has no build up it feels lazy and sometimes makes no sense at all.
It’s a very nuanced art and (I assume) extremely difficult to balance the right amount of direction without paving the way to an obvious conclusion.

Often I’ll see reviewers rave about how they ‘never saw it coming’ and secretly roll my eyes, but I’ve also been amazed by revelations other readers had easily predicted.

For me a plot twist is a major factor in any suspense, crime or thriller novel. Done wrong it can leave me indifferent to the books other redeeming qualities. Done right it can rocket a mediocre read to much higher standing.

How do you feel about plot twists?

Do you have any good examples I should read?

8 Best and Worst Fictional Endings

Happily ever after? What do I look for in an ending and which book finales did I love/hate most?

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:
Continue reading “8 Best and Worst Fictional Endings”

How Should We Rate Books?

Today I want to discuss how we rate books. I’m taking a different approach in my reviews, find out why..

Whilst I like to see others review books based on a star rating I have a different method myself. I will star rate for a short n sweet tweet but for my blog I use a little system I call ‘Roxanne’s Reactions’, Let me explain why..
Continue reading “How Should We Rate Books?”

Should Books Have Content Warnings?

Earlier this year I was reading a book I’d been excited for. I did my usual research, scanned some ratings, read some reviews..  maybe I’d first heard about it on a blog somewhere.

These are the top review quotes for the book:

sorryreview

The Times said it was ‘for strong stomachs’

Joanne Harris says it’s ‘very dark’.

HELLLOOO UNDERSTATEMENT!

I’ve read countless books described similarly, if not word for word. Very occasionally I will put a book down through boredom, THIS was the first book I put down in disgust.
Continue reading “Should Books Have Content Warnings?”