Hello…hello…Welcome back to another discussion post!
So originally I had a different post in mind but the randomly this post idea popped up in my head and I knew I had to write it and I really couldn’t wait so here we are.
Also I totally forgot about this idea 2 seconds after I thought of this and it took me three days to recollect it so I really-REALLY-wanna have this ready to go.
Recently, just 2 days before I am writing this post, I finished reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz and tbh up to, 65-70% of the story I was not enjoying it whatsoever and I was feeling thoroughly disappointed it and all I could think was, somehow the ending should save the book (which it did, but I digress) but that thought got me thinking (hehe) how much should book ending affect our ratings.
Almost every since book, movie, TV show, manga, anime and whatever we watch and read builds up to an ending and even no matter how impressive the journey, the way it ends does affect how we feel about the entire story overall.
Sometimes a good ending can save a crappy buildup and sometimes a bad ending can destroy an amazing story…so endings do play a very important role in the overall enjoyment of a story.
Before I continue, I just quickly wanna talk about the different kinds of endings I have come across in almost all forms of entertainment I consume
They are the most common form of endings I have seen and it makes sense, most forms of entertainment exists to give a sense of escape, a time of relaxation to the readers/viewers so even in serious shows happy endings seem like the way to go…endings where the bad guys is defeated, a curse is lifted, lovers unite, happily ever afters.
Tbh, I am biased towards these myself since they are adorable, lovely and give a sense of comfort in a scary world.
There are many examples for this like Disney Princesses movies, Shows like Friends.
In Books – Simon VS the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Red, White and Royal Blue, Kingdom of Ash and many more.
These are also very common kinds of ending where things don’t tend to work out for the main character or the cost of the victory is too high or someone dies and many more things can lead to a heartbreaking ending.
For example – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Changes by Jim Butcher, They Both Die at the end by Adam Silvera are just a few examples of books that ripped my soul apart
There are my second favorite types of endings because they end in a way that leave you satisfied but also leave something to be desired though they are really hard to explain so I am gonna leave some examples below.
For example – History is all you left me by Adam Silvera and Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon
This is pretty self explanatory…so instead answer me this…what cliffhanger ending made you wanna throw the book across the room? For me it was Changes by Jim Butcher
If you have read Haruki Murakami’s novels you will know what endings I am talking about.
To me sometimes these endings feel like the author ran out of ideas and stopped writing which is really annoying because I would like the loop to be closed, and even if we don’t get a closed ending at least we don’t need to end in a random part of the characters life…..
DAMN! Norwegian Woods and The Colourless Tsuku Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Murakami both has this element in them and it made me so frustrated and angry.
But that is just my personal opinion and I am looking forward to reading more by Murakami soon.
These ending are left open to interpretation, the book ends and you can decided how you want to close it off in your mind. The way I have read it happen, though no examples come to mind, is just a hint of the future but without a solid story to support it.
For Example, Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur, it has a happy ending but the book ends just a chapter too soon in my opinion and even with that happy ending it leaves something to be desired and leaves it to you to imagine the couple’s life will progress…it does have companion novels though so you do not have to guess for long.
Now, arguably all endings can be considered as Open Endings as once the book or series is over, you can imagine how the character’s lives will turn out in your own way….like in What If It’s Us or even in Instructions for Dancing there are parts I like to assume that will happen after the story is over because they make sense to me or make me happy
Now that we have spoken about different types of endings, let’s get back into the actual post.
How much should endings really affect our ratings?
This is a question that doesn’t particularly have any answer, well because for everyone loves a book differently and different reasons and someone may give more weightage to the ending than someone else.
But there is something we cannot deny, all of us desperate wait for a great climax in all books, stories, movies, TV shows, even in episodes because the build up needs to lead to some sort of an epic ending…*this sentence is damn innuendo, I feel like Charles Boyle from Brooklyn Nine Nine*
Mostly the last 25% of the novel when all the stuff goes down, from the major reveals, the plot twists, the final action sequences and much much more, in general the ending of a novel is pack with high stakes content which makes us readers turn pages faster than our brains can catch up.
But does the last part justify a crappy beginning? This question is subject to personal opinion.
But in my experience, I have found out that sticking it out for through the start is mostly rewarding because what the beginning lacks in pace and action, the ending makes up for it.
The beginning and the ending need to balance each other out, and this is more in reference to standalones than to series, because and yes there books that throw us head first into the world and the story and leave us to figure the stuff out *cough* Ninth House *cough* and those book also are amazing, a lot of books begin with character introductions, world development and building and start by setting the much needed context for the story ahead and only after that do they pick up and become interesting…
In The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon approx. the first 250 pages were slow and a building up to the story that was to come, with giving is info about the world, the lore, the magic system, introducing us to the characters, their histories and motivations and more and once that was all in place the story progress to what it was for the rest 554 pages
Another great example of the same would be The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson which also sets up the world and magic system to a certain extent before jumping into the heavier part of the story.
Though there are a lot of books I have come across that do not and tbh that is okay as long as the plot and characters are able to carry it through however sometimes it can fall short.
Empress of all Seasons by Emiko Jean, was a great book with an amazing start to the story and it was feeling like a great 4 star read but then the ending was so damn rushed that it took away all the fun of the story and made the story feel very very anticlimactic, tbh The Priory of the Orange Tree also had the same sort of ending, the middle part of the story was better.
And sometimes, in some books the build up saves the story from falling, like in ACOSF the ending used a trope I hate, no wait, LOATHE, but what saved the book for me was Nesta’s journey, the realness of the plot and the intensity in which I related to the entire character arc so even with a trope and ending I am not a fan of that book received a 5 star rating.
Now talking about series, depending on the length of the series you will see the difference in the pacing, the intensity of the story, the character arcs the bar keeps on getting raised higher and higher as the series progresses and the build up to the ending of a series has a lot more expectations resting on it’s shoulder than that of a standalone.
This even applies to TV shows and Movies, people tend to remember the shows that gave them a good ending even with a few average seasons or an average start because the more time you spend in the world and with the story the more there is a need to see the story turn out fair and well for the characters and in a sense for justice to be served.
With trilogies there is common format that is followed, so I have noticed, with a beginning book about a small inconvenience but an over-arching plot you know will takeover soon, the second book is kind acts as a bridge between the beginning and the finale with the suspense building up and the last book is where everything comes to fruition.
But with longer series, you have to wait and see, my own favorite series The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher has a slow start with 17 books and 2 short story collections out now the series is vast but it did not start as epic as it is now with the first 3-5 novels being more of a build up to the major story where you get to meet all the major characters, major creatures and major villains in the story and book 6 is where things start to get even more interesting and there is so much build up to the final few books that my heart cannot handle the suspense but at the same time I am terrified to read the ending…though I digress.
I guess what I am trying to say is that book ending in general play a very important role in how we tend to rate our books, with the freshness of the ending shadowing over the start and even objectively they are where the author wants to lead us so the build up is high and bar is raised for the final delivery.
How much should a book ending affect our rating? Well that depends on the book at hand, there are many more examples that I can share where how a book ending has affected my ratings and exampled where book endings have not affected my ratings.
The reason why I even wrote this post is because I found it amazing that even a few final pages can change your entire perspective and enjoyment of a story because as much as it is important to enjoy the journey (which it is, always have fun in the journey) the destination should also have a great view.
What is your take on book endings? Let me know in the comments down below.
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