Books I Loathed discussion

Slap-in-the-face Endings

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message 1: by Raiveran (last edited Jul 17, 2010 01:35AM) (new)

Raiveran Rabbit | 12 comments Ever read a book where everything's going fine, then all of a sudden everything starts sluicing downhill like the contents of a poorly-secured outhouse in a landslide? Or did your story suffer from editor's cramp, and suddenly cut to the chase 200 pages too soon and end poorly? Did the characters have an about-face and morph into something unrecognizable?

List it and loathe it here!

message 2: by Raiveran (new)

Raiveran Rabbit | 12 comments For me this was the Everworld series, a decent idea that went on for about 11 books before hastily tying up everything in a book in a half with no real reason or pacing.

Samurai Girl gets a mention for starting off one way and having the MC morph into a conscienceless monster, destroying the previously established goals and personality traits presented.

message 3: by Tara (new)

Tara (tbm126) | 26 comments Every book Jodi Picoult has ever written (I assume... I've only ever read My Sister's Keeper and The Pact). The author tries to create this complex plot and throw in a few twists, then disregards all of her previous work for a shock ending. The reader feels cheated.

For example, in My Sister's Keeper, why did I read all about the family's struggles and invest so much emotion into Anna if she doesn't even have to live with her decision? And then, when the reader is down for the count, the final cowardly kick comes when KATE actually defies science and lives.

message 4: by Clare (new)

Clare Good topic. For me it was definitely the last Harry Potter book I mean it's all built up into this big epic battle and what happens Voldemort's wand backfires. Seriously? The greatest wizard ever? Grrrrr

message 5: by Emily (new)

Emily  O (readingwhilefemale) | 76 comments I haven't really had that trouble with Le Guin so far. I think I've read about nine of her novels, 4 of which were YA books, plus another five or so of her collections of short stories and novellas, and I've always loved her endings. But everything I've read of hers was written in the 60's and 70's except for Four Ways to Forgiveness (1995) Lavinia (2008) and Always Coming Home (1985). Of those I think Lavinia was the worst, but I think that was more because it was written for someone of a lower reading level and definitely not because of the ending. Always Coming Home, the one book of hers that I've read that was written in the 80's, was fabulous in every way. I haven't read as many of her newer books, and I hope that I don't have the same problems with them as you do, because I've loved all of her work so far except Earthsea, which I may not finish.

I agree with the last Harry Potter book. I loved the series up until then, especially books five and six, but the seventh just ruined the whole thing for me.

message 6: by Vanessa (last edited Aug 01, 2010 01:59PM) (new)

Vanessa | 84 comments Ahh, this is a good topic. I can only think of a few right now

Smilla's Sense of Snow had a really good first half and I liked the antisocial heroine. I can't really articulate how the second half fell apart for me. Maybe it was too standard thriller?

The Pelican Brief--this one surprised me because my Mother liked it and I generally trust her taste. But this one had no payoff. You read the whole book waiting for a showdown between Darby and the bad guys and then the whole thing gets wrapped up peacefully in the last few pages.

It (Stephen King) was so scary in the early pages but it lost it's way somehow for me and the end made no sense. Also, there is a group sex scene involving children about 2/3 of the way through that I just could not get over. Ick.

message 7: by Judy (new)

Judy (judy5cents) | 26 comments I had that same problem with It. Here was a group of eleven and twelve year olds lost in a cave and somehow, they come up with the idea of gang banging the lone girl as a solution to finding their way out?

"We're lost! I know, Let's all have sex with Susie! That will get us out!"

I still wonder how that got past the editors. Someone at the publishing house had to have had an 11 or 12 year old daughter.

message 8: by Vanessa (last edited Aug 02, 2010 09:28AM) (new)

Vanessa | 84 comments You know King was normally so sensitive when he wrote about children too. It was like that scene warped in from another writer altogether. And I kept thinking "Somehow this will become relevant, right?" Nope.

message 9: by Randi (new)

Randi (The Artist Formerly known as Guitar Chick) (guitarchick) | 79 comments James Patterson. Max Ride just keeps going and going and going.

message 10: by Vanessa (last edited Jan 05, 2011 06:11PM) (new)

Vanessa | 84 comments As far as Patterson goes, I made it (barely) thru Kiss the Girls and for some reason tried Along Came a Spider and gave up after the first few chapters.

I heard a story on NPR last year about writers who hired themselves out as ghost writers for well-known fiction authors. Which really surprised me because I didn't know that went on in fiction. One guy they interviewed said he wrote for a very famous series he obviously couldn't name and I immediately thought of Patterson. I don't see how it's possible he cranks out so many books per year, even as formulaic as they are.

message 11: by Randi (new)

Randi (The Artist Formerly known as Guitar Chick) (guitarchick) | 79 comments Yeah, he's pretty much a brand name now. He admits to having a lot of help.

message 12: by Erica (new)

Erica | 66 comments How about The Handmaid's Tale, and Cat's Eye?

message 13: by Dixie Diamond (new)

Dixie Diamond (dixiediamond) | 2 comments Cold Mountain. It was totally implausible in general, but then we're supposed to believe that the hero went from this tough guy to somebody who gets killed because he can't bring himself to shoot a teenage boy (who then shoots him)??

message 14: by David (new)

David (tediousandbrief) | 4 comments Ian McEwan's Saturday was going along fine until the third act when everything went nuts and I started finding the story, the coincidences, and the conclusions unbelievable.

Though there's much of this in the Twilight series and they are terrible books in general, Breaking Dawn really made me feel like a slap in the face. There's all this build up to a confrontation that doesn't happen and we end up with a sort-of happily-ever-after ending without any real growth throughout the whole series.

message 15: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 84 comments David wrote: Ian McEwan's Saturday was going along fine until the third act when everything went nuts and I started finding the story, the coincidences, and the conclusions unbelievable.

Interesting. I read The Comfort of Strangers recently because people kept recommending McEwan and I wasn't sure about him so I picked a shorter book of his. It actually was ok and very atmospheric and then it drops a bizarre final 20 pages on you that is outlandish and off-putting. Other people have suggested I read something else by him that is better (Atonement gets mentioned a lot) but I think I'm done.

message 16: by Kathy (last edited Feb 09, 2011 07:47AM) (new)

Kathy (geedle) | 5 comments The ending of A Prayer for Owen Meany drove me nuts!!!

message 17: by David (new)

David (tediousandbrief) | 4 comments Vanessa wrote: "David wrote: Ian McEwan's Saturday was going along fine until the third act when everything went nuts and I started finding the story, the coincidences, and the conclusions unbelievable.


Some of his work I've read is better. Atonement was alright, as was On Chesil Beach.

message 18: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany | 7 comments There was a mystery series that was highly recommended for me and I read the first book Larceny and Old Lace and the book was so poorly edited. Not only were there grammatical issues throughout, but a character's name CHANGED 2/3s of the way through the book! How does that get past an editor?

message 19: by Ellie (new)

Ellie (elliearcher) I agree that the end of Saturday by Ian McEwan was a total change from the rest of the book. I kind of forgave McEwan because I liked the rest of the book a lot & it was so different from his other books. I thought the end was like an old habit pulling him back in.
One "slap in the face ending" that I think a lot about & think I actually liked (in a highly ambivalent way) goes back to Agatha Christie- a very early work, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. I read it when I was very young & it completely turned how I read mysteries, well everything, ever again. Nothing seemed trustworthy or predictable. Talk about breaking a contract with your reader! I can't really say more, I guess, or anyone who hasn't already read it, never will.

message 20: by Tara (new)

Tara (tbm126) | 26 comments Guitar Chick-Dolly Dagger wrote: "Yeah, he's pretty much a brand name now. He admits to having a lot of help."

James Patterson does? Not that I don't believe this - it makes more sense than anything - but I'd like to know where he admits having help. If you think about it, at least 0.5 of his books per year are released in conjunction with another author.

message 21: by Sonya (new)

Sonya marie madden some authors give a ghost writer an idea and they go with it. Tom Clancy does it also. I am a writer to WRITE books, not to sit back and collect the royalty.

message 22: by Ellie (new)

Ellie (elliearcher) It's probably a good thing I feel that way too-I love writing-since ghost writers aren't lining up to get my non-existent royalties! :)

message 23: by stormhawk (new)

stormhawk Shutter Island was a dandy mystery up until the dead stupid ending (which, strangely, the movie handled better).

message 24: by Randi (new)

Randi (The Artist Formerly known as Guitar Chick) (guitarchick) | 79 comments James has said in several interviews that he hires people to help with teen slang (fail) and other aspects of writing teenagers. Also, nobody can write so many books and have them all come out so fast without another author's help.

message 25: by Austin (new)

Austin (agwalk22) | 2 comments Dracula. The book is hundreds of pages long, they spend months trying to catch and kill the filthy monster, and people die. But how does it end. In less than a paragraph, Dracula's coffin tips over, they stab him, and the novel is swiftly wrapped up. Talk about a bum deal!!

message 26: by Finley (new)

Finley Mac | 5 comments Maximum Ride should have been a trilogy and the Hunger Games should have been a stand-alone. Also, the ending to Liar by Justine Larbalestier confused me a bit. :/

message 27: by Gabby (new)

Gabby (demarreg) | 4 comments Steinbeck - The Pearl ...... awful ending. As if the book wasn't awful enough before going completely off the awful book deep end in the last paragraph...
Also, I thought the ending to Dracula was super exciting! Interesting to hear a different take on it.

message 28: by L. (new)

L. (igotstufftodo) There was an old book called Audrey by Mary Johnston. It was a romantic tale of a poor girl and a rich guy trying to overcome obstacles to be together, yadda, yadda, yadda. Finally it looks like they're going to be together. Then literally pages from the end, Audrey's stalker shows up and fatally stabs her! The last sentence in the book is of her dying. Here I've invested all my time in getting to the end of this book expecting a happily ever after thing, and the author kills her title character off!

message 29: by Finley (new)

Finley Mac | 5 comments Wow. What author in their right mind would do that?

message 30: by James (new)

James (theadventurousbookreader) | 2 comments Totally not reading Audrey by Mary Johnston. That book sounds very dull and pointless too.

message 31: by Toni (new)

Toni berkshire (starcookie2verizonnet) | 32 comments For me, it was the problem in Harry Potter, of Hermione ending up with Ron instead of Harry. I think that Rowling was possibly trying to compensate for not ending up with her friend, Neal, so in her story, she had Hermione(loosley based on herself) end up with someone who she claims was very like him, Ron. In real life, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson just don't seem like they belong together. I liked the ending, but the lack of attraction between the two just leaves it flat. There also seems to be no real attraction between Daniel Radcliffe and Ginny.

message 32: by Finley (new)

Finley Mac | 5 comments Don't compare it to the movie. The movie had nothing to do with how the book was written.

message 33: by Maria (new)

Maria Elmvang (kiwiria) | 72 comments Wolfie or Tangles :D wrote: "Don't compare it to the movie. The movie had nothing to do with how the book was written."

Very true. JRK is a great writer but she couldn't write relationships to save herself. There is a LOT more chemistry between Rupert and Emma than there ever was between Ron and Hermione in the books.

Harry and Ginny sucked both places though.

message 34: by Toni (new)

Toni berkshire (starcookie2verizonnet) | 32 comments Sorry, they just sort of blur together for me now. The problem wasn't as apparent in the book as it was in the movie.

message 35: by Lucy (new)

Lucy | 5 comments I love endings. If a book has a good ending then I fall in love with it. Spolier!!
Looking for Alaska was an example of one that i didn't love. it ended on a cliff hanger and there's only one in the series!! we don't know if Alaska actually wanted to kill herself or if it was an accident so i guess i'll never know!

message 36: by Melisande (new)

Melisande (melisandes) There is the one Sookie Stackhouse where much like Harry Potter an important and much beloved character gets killed. I will try not to spoil it for anyone who has not completed the books.

There is a book Mercedes Lackey did for Luna that felt like it was 200 pages too long. After what seemed like the happily ever after it just kept going. There is a bunch more but I can not bear to think.

message 37: by Erica (new)

Erica | 66 comments To Vanessa, post #17, I thought that Atonement was fabulously written but I didn't *appreciate* the ending: if I reviewed it I probably have a spoiler, so don't read my review.
It is puzzling the way some endings can be unexpected, but great. Other endings are unexpected and irritating: "violation of the writer-reader contract" is almost a good explanation but there is also a component of "I didn't get my fix." In this case, I mean the figurative fix, like an addict, and the literal fix, like a solution that wraps up problems previously introduced.
I recently read "The Water's Lovely," by Ruth Rendell. I thought it was great (including all sorts of clever twists and consequenses) until the random fade-out that left our unpleasanter characters unleashed, unpunished, and still at large.
In my mind, the fiction author has every opportunity to craft a clever and satisfying ending. But are they obliged to do so? Is that pandering to the audience?

message 38: by Shauna (new)

Shauna (solar333) Delirium is my top one!!

message 39: by Thit (new)

Thit (assbutt-unicorn) | 6 comments Jean M. Auel completely destroyed her life work book for book. Clan of the Cavebear was beyond amazing and one of my avsolute favorites but then it just went completely downhill. The last one I couldn't finish it just seemed like a book of random ramblings about cave paintings. stop while your on top and don't ruin your legacy ms Auel

message 40: by Daphne (new)

Daphne Perfect Lies had a really bad and rushed ending that just left a sour taste in my mouth. There was no hinting of the ending and it was like the author just ran out of time and wrote the first thing she could think of even though it made no sense.

message 41: by Derek (new)

Derek Dewitt (memefactory) | 5 comments Oh so many of Stephen King's - It, Under the Dome, Doctor Sleep....

message 42: by Katharina (new)

Katharina | 3 comments Any book Heinrich Steinfest has ever written.

I like his stories but he clearly never learned how to write a proper ending. He always tries to solve all the mysteries in the last 30-40 pages in the most ridicolous way that has nothing to do with the rest of the book.
His books could be really great if he is ever able to fix that.

message 43: by Dramapuppy (new)

Dramapuppy Derek wrote: "Oh so many of Stephen King's - It, Under the Dome, Doctor Sleep...."

I've heard that a lot about Under the Dome. I see it. It was odd and didn't seem to fit with the rest of the book. I kind of liked it but maybe that's because it was my first Stephen King and I was just proud I finished it. Plus, I thought he pulled it off well. Maybe a little less theme related stuff would have been nice.

message 44: by Dramapuppy (new)

Dramapuppy Maximum Ride. The first three books rocked but then GLOBAL WARMING.

The last four books were a disaster but the ending to Nevermore was the worst. And now he's writing another one...

Let's see how that turns out! *sarcastic thumbs-up*

message 45: by Sara (new)

Sara | 3 comments The Princetta
by Anne-Laure Bondoux

I had a similar experience like L. (I need one of these, do they come in threes? cuz I need to squeeze them), only with this book instead of Audrey. This book starts out well, a princess who runs away to prove herself, the son of a pirate going on his first ever sailing adventure, the two meeting along the way, going on this huge adventure in which they fall in love, overcome many obstacles, and even get stuck in a time loop for a while. They finally get home only to find her father dead and the kingdom ransacked by marauders, so she takes over and they start to rebuild. Then one day people are attacking, so they run through this secret tunnel to escape, he steps out into the stables and BAM he's shot dead! That is how it ends with her weeping over his body. I mean WHAT?!!!!!!!!!!! I would never condone violence against a book, but I was so mad I threw that book across the room. I mean, after ALL THAT, he dies?!!!!!!! They're in love, they're FINALLY home, and then HE DIES?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Haha, as you can tell, just the memory of reading it gets me so mad and I read this book at least ten if not more years ago.

message 46: by Sara (new)

Sara | 3 comments There are too many books with rushed endings that I have read to put them on here.

message 47: by Lori S. (new)

Lori S. (fuzzipueo) | 78 comments Sara wrote: "The Princetta
by Anne-Laure Bondoux

I had a similar experience like L. (I need one of these, do they come in threes? cuz I need to squeeze them), only with this book instead of Audrey. This book s..."

Excellent rant.

message 48: by Sara (new)

Sara | 3 comments Excellent rant.

Why, thank you!

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