Have you ever been disappointed by a book or a series’ ending? Have you ever been left dumbfounded and flabbergasted by a book’s finale? Perhaps even angry, or grieving or upset? Of course, you have. We all have those endings that we like to pretend never happened. We all have those series that we pretend were standalones…or standalones we pretend were never written.
This month, we’ve chosen to discuss such books. Painful as it is, we will rehash all these disappointing endings and bitter feelings. Why? Because we are humans and we love to vent when overcome with intense emotions. So join us but at your own risk…there will, obviously, be major spoilers.
Here we go…
K.’s Disappointing Endings
The Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray was one of my earliest introductions into Young Adult and I enjoyed it immensely…even to this day, it stands as one of my most favourite YA series of all time. I was floored. Except for the ending of The Sweet Far Thing…specifically with what happened to my dear, darling, sexy Kartik. You see, he turned into a tree. Or his soul became the essence of some magical tree in the magical realm. But really, W. T. F. ? Everything else was divine. The last few paragraphs of that final book was beautiful and inspiring and so heartfelt. But my heart was breaking for Kartik because all he wanted was to be of use and fulfill his destiny…and apparently, his destiny was to become a tree.
The Unearthly series by Cynthia Hand is another series that I was absolutely obsessed with. It had depth, it had logic, and it had entertainment. And technically, I got what I wanted in the end — a happy ending and Clara ending up with Tucker. But it’s always about the journey not the destination, right? I felt that Boundless was rushed, less detailed, and a cop out in comparison to its predecessors. I don’t think it delivered what the first two books had promised. There was no great battle between good and evil; some of the characters were brushed aside; and Clara’s character arc seemed to have undergone a reversal. In the end, I feel many of the characters, and us as readers, were cheated. Le sigh.
The Delirium series by Lauren Oliver was another disappointment, almost starting from the ending of the first book. But that last book was such an unexpected failure in my eyes. It was never a favourite series but I like Oliver’s writing and thought the concept original. Nothing went right, really, in the third book.
Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman is book one in her Noughts and Crosses series. It is one of the most emotionally jarring books I have ever read. It is so incredibly heavy and serious one must be prepared to feel deep before venturing into its pages. The ending of this book made me cry not because it was bad, but because it was so real and so unfair that, for a moment, it made me hate life and everything in it. It made me see how the world works and I wept.
Kim’s Disappointing Endings
Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi takes the cake for series enders that manage to both bore and enrage. I wasn’t a huge fan of the series to begin with, but man, I had hoped for better. I felt so terribly for those who were really invested in the series and felt like they’d been slapped in the face with Adam’s sudden and complete personality reversal. I was always enraged by the mere fact that Warner, Juliette’s captor, tormenter, stalker, and known child torturer, was considered even a potential love interest. Are you kidding me? Ignite Me managed to find an excuse and weasel out of every single one of Warner’s past transgressions. It just read like a creepy missive on how and why abusive behaviors really aren’t so bad and can be easily explained away. He only stalked you because he loved you, Juliette! No. A thousand times no.
Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas. Perhaps this is a strange one to include here because I do think the book itself is very good. The writing is solid and it’s a definite page turner, but the ending left me feeling so, so creeped out. Now, this was probably the actual point, but I hated the way I felt like I had to keep looking over my shoulder hours after I finished it. This is probably a ringing endorsement for those who enjoy that type of book. I am just not one of them. The ending also makes the somewhat sapphic aspects of the novel show in a poor light which never sits well with me. But I can’t talk too much on that. You’d just have to read it and see.
Wendy’s Disappointing Endings
I’ve been disappointed in more series enders than I have individual books, so here are the ones that have made me wail, “Noooooo!” when I reached the final pages. In a way, this is sort of a compliment since it’s impossible to have feelings this strong unless you’re extremely invested in a series and what works for some won’t work for others. But here’s my list of endings I wish could be rewritten:
The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams made my top ten list for 2011 because of seriously swoon-inducing scenes and I loved that was a clear choice made at the end of this book! I expected that the triangle would then resurface a bit through the next two, but the way it was done still felt forced and frustrating to me.
There you have it. A list of the books that left us in shock and in tears. Which books have disappointed you and dashed you expectations to pieces? Let us know below in the comments!