I am an avid Book Series Finale Procrastinator. Seriously, it needs to be a job position because I would ace it and get a pay raise and everyone would be in awe of my ultimate procrastination abilities. I HAVE TROUBLE LETTING THINGS GO OKAY?? If I don’t finish reading the series — it’s still vaguely going on inside my head. Also BONUS: all my favourite characters haven’t died yet. Ahem.
But book finales have SUCH awful potential to explode in your face. There are several reasons for this, which I’ll kindly list, because I’m just that nice of an overlord. (Sheesh. I need to work on my evillness.)
Reasons Finales Often Are Perilously Not Good
- The author is under a LOT of pressure (especially if the previous books did really well) and is flustered trying to end it right AND please an audience.
- The author is just an EVIL TOOTHY GUAVA BRAINED FIEND and enjoys people crying, ergo ends the series hopelessly sadly.
- The characters have all gone through A LOT — ergo they’ve changed to become different people who make odd decisions…that boggle we readers because THIS ISN’T WHO WE STARTED READING ABOUT.
- The ending is actually FINE. It’s we readers who are the problem and aren’t ready to let go and we turn into picky watermelon seeds.
- The author has used up the HUGEST climactic plot twists too early in the series. So the finale seems like a limpet.
- Ships sinking. I SEE SHIPS SINKING EVERYWHERE. This is usually dissatisfying if the hero goes through soooooooo much and is rewarded with spinach soup for dinner and no one to share their toast with.
- The book is too LONG while trying to wrap up a ton of sub-plots — ergo, it ends up being boring.
- IT ENDED, DANGIT, WE DIDN’T WANT IT TO END. STAHP THIS NONSENSE AND WRITE MORE BOOKS, AUTHOR, PLEASE. PLEASE.
Clearly writing GOOD finales is as tricky as baking a blue cake on raft in the middle of the Pacific with an electric oven and a shark sous chef.
Not impossible. But definitely HARD.
When it comes to series, not all the readers are going to be satisfied. NOT EVER. Someone’s expectations will always collapse.
But I mostly stand by the fact that I think authors DO know what’s best for their characters and do accordingly. Even if it makes the series end sourly. (Well, I mean, there are definitely some series where the finales ruined it for me. SO. I’m a hypocrite of my own statement, buuuuuut….I’m also overlord and queen so. I say what I want.)
ERGO! THis is an awesome moment to discuss the TYPES of series finales! AND I ALSO HAVE A QUIZ FOR YOU. Because quizzes are freakishly fun and we haven’t done one in a while. (What is wrong with my slack dragon secretaries. Seriously. They fail at blogging so often. #ShameOnThem)
(Click covers to go to Goodreads.)
I also want to point out that 2016 is apparently THE YEAR IT ALL ENDS…because there are SO many series finales out this year. I’m dying. Remember me whilst I wither with feels upon the ground.
(Alrighty, let’s get to the reason we’re ALL here for this post.)
1. THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER
It’s like a happy Christmas package tied up with a nice bow and presented to you lovingly by the author. Happily ever afters are the “fairy tale dream”, naturally, but they’re also for the SATISFYING books. The couple get together. The evil is defeated. The lost queen sits on the throne. The cake is saved. Everyone goes home and has SOUP AND TOAST and probably snuggles a duckling.
PROS: You feel happy that it all turned out.
CONS: Sometimes they’re unrealistic because when does real life end so easily??? And seriously, the heroes all survived????? As if.
2. THE MASS DEATHS OF EVERYTHING OF EVER
Let’s go for the heavy-duty-realism, right? Because war doesn’t play favourites, darlin’. And PEOPLE YOU LOVE WILL DEFINITELY DIE. These finales are heavy on the feels factors. They terrify you. They haunt you in your sleep. They emotionally cripple you so you end up as that puddle of nope in the corner, rocking and crying gently. Even the HEROES aren’t safe here.
PROS: It feels realistic and you also get to be emotionally destroyed. (Somehow that’s a GOOD thing???) Good books make you FEEL!!
CONS: Sometimes it makes the book feel pointless when everyone dies anyway. It can also just make you angry/sad because NOTHING WENT RIGHT. #AllMyFriendsAreDead
3. THE OPEN ENDER BECAUSE WHO NEEDS CLOSURE HA HA HA (CRIES)
When does life ever wrap up in that nice little bow? NEVER. So these kinds of finales make sure to a) not tie everything up, b) leave you with questions, and c) drive you 97.3% insane with QUESTIONS THAT WILL NEVER BE ANSWERED. But at least you get the feeling that the characters’ lives aren’t over. Hurrah! They’re still off adventuring and (hopefully) staying alive.
PROS: Your imagination has room to flap about happily/anxiously/both-together. And it’s very realistic.
CONS: The questions literally kill 9 of your braincells and you eat a brick wall with WANTING TO KNOW. It can also feel like cheating and/or pointless because nothing is solved.
4. THE STRESS FEST
Let’s just have battles! Plot twists! Chases! Escapes! Explosions! ALL OF THE TIME. These finales are ultimately exhausting and you only need to nap for 58 years to recover. Nothing seems to go right and everyone is CONSTANTLY in peril. But you end up feeling really exited and energised with that feeling you just read an amazing book.
PROS: It’s epic! No snivelling around! Let’s just SMITE ALL THE THINGS and stretch everyone to their limits! Also they’re very hard to put down.
CONS: They can be SO stressful that you don’t want to read. Especially not knowing if it’s going to end in mass-calamity. Also the action/plot-twists can get over the top and feel try-hard.
5. THE RUNAWAYS TO A NEW SERIES
This just involves the characters solving a FEW of their problems, but ultimately running away in to the sunset — or darkness. It has feelings of “YAY THEY ESCAPED” or “OMG RUN AND DON’T GET CAUGHT AGAIN”. You get the feeling that their adventure is so not over. It has closure in that the plot DID wrap up. But you can definitely envision them having another series. And oftentimes they DO get another series!
PROS: You get another series to look forward to and promises that you don’t have to say goodbye yet.
CONS: It’s potentially unsatisfactory and can also feel like it’s being spun into unnecessary books. You want answers, but, dangit, do you have to read like TEN MORE BOOKS to get them???
Can my gloriously intelligent quiz predict what kind of series finales YOU like best???? Be sure to let me know in the comments if it was right or waaaay off!!