I’m cross and crotchety today. I feel like I’ve wasted my reading time this week on two books that didn’t end.
Now, I don’t mean they were long, nor that they were dull. They didn’t end because their writers (and their editors and big, commercial publishers in turn) had failed to comprehend the fundamental requirement for a story to have a beginning, a middle and an end.
This concept was dinned into me at primary school – it’s still used in primary schools now (I checked with 10 yo Offspring). Has this story structure become optional in the adult world and no one bothered to tell me?
One was a romance – and I didn’t find out which boy the girl picked. The other was mainly a whodunnit. It was a fabulous read, right up until the pacey denoument when the heroine was going to find out who’d murdered her twin sister – unless they got to her first! – and then I turned the page to find not who dunnit but an epilogue where she’s fairly sure she knows but wasn’t bothered by any sense of danger or even unease.
They were both the first in a series, but writing a series is not an excuse to cheat your reader out of a satisfying read with each book – or is it? Again, did I miss the memo?!
A contract is formed when I pick up a book. If I’m reading a romance, I expect to finish knowing that girl has met boy and are swanning off into the sunset (in a stolen hovercraft is fine, it doesn’t have to be mushy-happy); if it’s a whodunnit, I NEED TO FIND OUT WHODUNNIT. And I’m both disappointed and cross if that doesn’t happen. I expected a story – but I only got half a one.
Their limp endings (followed by excited requests for me to dash out and get the next in the series – um, no) have ensured I’ll never pick up another book by these writers. And that’s a real shame because both were good, competent books and one of them was absolutely cracking right up until it failed to finish.
Am I the only one to get annoyed by endings that don’t end properly? Use the comments to let me know if you hate an uncertain finish, or if you love a mega cliffhanger at the end of a novel.