Friday, April 3, 2015

When the Last Book Ruins Everything

We've all been there with series we love (and some we only sort of like). You build up ALL that anticipation for the final book. The grand finale! The big kahuna! The buildup, the big one, the moment we've bene waiting for, the REASON ALL THOSE OTHER BOOKS EXIST! Waiting...for this!

And then you read it.

And you. Don't. Like it.

Related: The Absolute Terror of the Final Book in the Series

It's the worst. You feel betrayed. You feel disappointed. You feel like all those glorious books you loved before were just completely erased before your eyes and what is the POINT and where is the ice cream and can you Eternal Sunshine that shizz right out of your head and pretend the finale never happened because WOULDN'T THAT BE GRAND?

(I have a feeling a lot of people feel this way about the How I Met Your Mother finale as well. IT'S CERTAINLY HOW I FEEL ABOUT GOSSIP GIRL.)

Related: Picking the Sinking Ship

This doesn't happen to me too often, though, for multiple reasons. 1) I tend to ship ships that triumph in the end, whether it be good luck, a good nose for writerly intentions, or a staidly canonical taste in ships. So I'm not USUALLY frothing with rage at ship resolutions, because my ships win.

Or sometimes a ship you shipped A LOT somehow loses its shine in the third book. Or authors make narrative choices you one hundred percent do not understand. Not even that the characters didn't do the things you'd HOPED...but sometimes, you feel like books took a completely bonkers path that undid all the character arcs and Good Stuffs from the earlier books and all there is to do is cry and scream and perhaps toss things.

One of my favorite book series recently came to an end, and I thought the finale was...not good, shall we say? It didn't sink my ship, or anything, but all the reasons I LOVED the ship and the series didn't come into play at all, and I found the actual plot COMPLETELY BONKERS. (Yes, okay, it's The Ruby Circle. I was saving all of Bloodlines so I could do a delirious and giddy series review wherein I shrieked about Adrian Ivashkov and pie and banter and shippy perfection... But then TRC came along and...ummmm... yeah? Meg says it pretty well here. I didn't hate it got a lot of feels but the plot was kind of entirely on crack.)

I'm racking my brain trying to think of series that I feel were betrayed by their series enders, and again, there aren't that many. Ruin and Rising didn't satisfy me as I'd wished. Ditto Evertrue. I lovedlovedLOVED both of the book twos in that series, and I felt, narratively, that those book threes did not hold water. But I know tons of people who totally disagree with me. But it's just SUCH A COLOSSAL DISAPPOINTMENT to love a series, anticipate a finale with great glee, and then not feel that tremendous sense of payoff at the end. Endings are hard, and you can't please everybody, but really does suck bein gone of the displeased.

Have you ever felt betrayed or let down by a series ender? NO SPOILERS PLEASE!


  1. I haven't actually read it, but thinking of terrible series finales brings Allegiant immediately to mind. I mean, I don't really know how successful it was, but introducing a new POV in the third and final book sounds like a terrible idea to me.

    I mean, we could talk about The One but let's not go there.

    I know a LOTALOT of people were disappointed in Mockingjay, but I wasn't one of them.

    When I think about terrible finales, it's usually television shows that come to mind for me. (HOW DARE YOU BRING UP GOSSIP GIRL THAT DIDNT EVEN HAPPEN.) Like, I wasn't the biggest fan of how That 70s Show ended, or Friends. The Tudors felt very rushed to me. Gilmore Girls - not the actual finale episode but that final season was BONKERS.

  2. Oh, really? You want a list? :P
    1. Allegiant (Divergent)
    2. Champion (Legend)
    3. Blood of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus)
    4.Hex Hall #3 (can't remember name)
    5. Light (Gone)
    6. Inheritance (Eragon)
    7. Breaking Dawn (I mean i dislike this book the most in the series)
    That's it. i'm stopping. Repressed bad memories and all that jazz.

  3. Have you read the MISTBORN trilogy? The ending of the final book gave me the sads. I felt let down by it. I won't tell you why (spoilers and I are not friends) but it was painful and disappointing, even if there was a smidgen of hope. It's like, I was rooting for these characters to triumph and live in the world afterward, and although they won it was a cost I wasn't all that happy with.

    So. I feel ya on this. Great timing, too, because I just finished the trilogy the other day.

  4. One word: ALLEGIANT. That was definitely the series finale that crushed all of my divergent hopes and dreams. There was just so much that went wrong in that book and I'm not just talking about the way it ended. It was just not good and that made me sad. On a book level, I think I'm fairly lucky in that Allegiant is really the only final book that truly disappointed me. Although, Blood of Olympus made me sad because of the lack of a Percy POV. WAIT, I lie - The final two books of the Looking Glass Wars Trilogy were terrible and I mean terrible - like the whole series should have been condensed into one big standalone and it would have been fine. On the other hand, TV shows have a tendency to end in places that confuse the crap out of me. Like Gilmore Girls - I loved that show so much but I hated most of the characters' endings. Smallville also went in such a weird place towards the end that I didn't even finish the series.

    - Jazzie @ The Book Dancer

  5. YES. This is the worst feeling!!!! I didn't like Ruin and Rising nearly as much as I hoped to and I didn't like Allegiant at all. It totally killed that series for me to the point where I don't even want to see Insurgent. I tore through the first two books and yeah. It wasn't even WHAT happened, it was HOW it happened and how nonsensical so much of the world building became. The book I probably despise the most is Breaking Dawn. I loved the first three books and Breaking Dawn killed it stone dead for me. HATE HATE HATE.

    Then there are those that I was excited for, never got around to, and now I'm meh if I'll ever finish. I have Sisters' Fate and Strange and Ever After that I haven't read. Part of me wants to but the other part is over it.

    It makes me even more grateful for the series that can end on a high note or at least a consistent one. Harry Potter most prominently. The Hunger Games. And hopefully Throne of Glass, The Raven Cycle, The Lunar Chronicles and A Song of Ice and Fire. I have faith in those authors, their storytelling, and the fact that every book is better than the last. But we'll see.

  6. Aww, hugs. I very much know what you mean :( I have been waiting SO LONG for the final book in trilogies. And then they arrive. And I peek at it, but don't read it, because SO MUCH disappointed me already :( Which is just the worst feeling. Hmph. Gorgeous post Gillian. <3 Thank you for sharing about it :)

  7. Blood Red Road by Moira Young. The first two books were decent, and I loved Saba. The last book left a bad taste in my mouth regarding the entire series.

    To a point, Unearthly was disappointing to me, but that was because my ship sank. At least the story was compelling.

    And who could forget Mockingjay? Those final decisions!? NO.

  8. THE BITTER KINGDOM (GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS #3) ruined the whole series for me with something that's absolutely impossible and takes less than 10 seconds to bring up in a Google search. Now Rae Carson has been shunted from my auto-buy list. I'll be getting her next few books from the library until I trust her again. Same with Christopher Paolini and INHERITANCE. That book was so unwieldy and unsatisfying.

    I think THE RUBY CIRCLE wasn't that satisfying because it was trying to do too much. When you're trying to wrap up every hanging thread from 2 6-book series I guess it's kind of hard to keep from going from one extreme to the other.

  9. Oh my goodness, this is the absolute truth. I HATE how the last book in a series will let me down. That's always how it is. . . . It just loses it's magic or it's shine and it leaves me rather disappointed in the entirety of the series despite the fact that I loved the other books.

    On the other hand, I've had the reverse happen as well. I read through this entire series once that I thought was kinda meh, but then the last book of the series completely changed that for me and I fell in love with the series. Now I recommend it to people all the time!

  10. Ugh this. I hate it when this happens. It's actually rare that I love the final book in a series and a lot of times I'm too scared to even read it. I have many final books waiting on my shelves to be read but I'm scared. What if it sucks? I read one recently that I enjoyed but it was the weakest of the three which was still so disappointing. Great topic and such a sad one!

  11. I feel this. I feel this deep down in my SOUL. There are so few series that ended with a bang. Like, there are tons that ended decently well, and I'm content and whatnot, but my expectations were SO HIGH because the other books were SO GOOD. Ugh. And some just turn around and spit in your soup.

  12. A bit late in the day, but I had to comment on this: 'The Last Battle' - when C.S Lewis suddenly gave up trying to tell a good story and the ending was TERRIBLE. I like to pretend it was never written. And 'Mockingjay'. And it hurts me to even mention the Merlin series finale :(

  13. I've got to admit I can't really think of any such betrayals, mostly because for me to stick with a series I need to REALLY love it, and that usually happens in good, solid series that deliver throughout.


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