There is one thing when it comes books that really bugs me– endings that are bittersweet or downright tragic. In the three books that I have read so far, only one had a truly happy-ish ending. The other two did not. One had a bittersweet ending that I was expecting because I had seen the mini-series that was based on the book. The other was downright tragic and not only made me cry (something that books never do) but also prompted me to throw the book across the couch.
The first book that I read this year was “The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. It is a historical epic set in Australia at the beginning of the twentieth century. It follows the Cleary family, specifically Meggie as they live off the land. The main premise of the book is that Meggie is hopelessly in love with Ralph de Bricassart who is a priest in the beginning. As the book goes on, Ralph tries to fight is attraction to Meggie and Meggie tries to forget hers. They can never stay out of each other lives and even though Ralph dies in the end and Meggie loses her son by him, it is still a beautiful book. A bittersweet ending that I was totally expecting and loved.
The second book that I have read this year was actually a novella.”The Emperor’s Soul” by Brandon Sanderson is set in the world for his Mistborn Trilogy, though it is in a far corner of it. It follows Shai who is a Forger, someone who can rewrite the history of an object and transform it. This can be done from something as simple as a table to as complicated as a soul. When an assassination attempt against the Emperor leaves him alive but mentally empty, Shai is brought in to save him by doing the unthinkable, reForging a soul from scratch. The story was quick paced and it had a great ending ^_^ I will definitely reread it.
The third book that I have read, the one that I spent two hours reading last night, was one that I have been waiting for, for a long time. “Everafter” by Elizabeth Chandler is the third book in a trilogy which followed Ivy and Tristan and without giving anything away, it has a tragic ending. What makes me the most angry is that the book was brilliant until the penultimate scene. That’s when things completely fell apart and I bawled. Books don’t make me cry, but this one did and when I read the last page I threw it across the couch because I was so angry. >_<
So what is the point of this post? The nature of endings and how author’s deal with it. I do understand the bittersweet ending, I really do… which is why I was able to like Thorn Birds so fully. But when an author builds up to something, and makes their readers believe that something is going to to happen and then pulls the rug out…? Well that is just bad form in my opinion.
Endings which infuriate me is also what drives me in my own writing, and why all my characters have happy endings, or at least some semblance of some. My characters are my babies. I couldn’t really kill them even if I tried… not only for my sake, but for the sake of my future readers (if I am ever so lucky) because I would hate to think of causing a reader’s heart to break and to have them throwing a book across a room.
Happy endings have always been what I look for in books, which is why I will always impart them into mine.