What Makes a “Good” Ending? – Let’s Talk Bookish

Good afternoon friends, and welcome back to the blog. As always, Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by me and Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Today’s topic is: What Makes a “Good” Ending? (suggested by Rian @ Dogs and Books)

Thank you so much to Rian for suggesting this topic!! I do have some thoughts on what makes a good ending, so let’s get started!

I think a good ending is one that ultimately leaves you feeling satisfied.

An ending where the characters die can actually be a good ending, if it feels right that they died. This has happened so far in only one book I’ve read, and I was absolutely pleased because it just felt right. The characters had gone through so much to save the world and give it a better future, and I had a feeling that they might die. At first I didn’t want them to, but as the book ended, it just felt right and I was able to accept and love it as an amazing finale to the series.

I’m keeping it deliberately vague so it’s not a spoiler for anything. Maybe you’ve read a similar book or THE book and have a guess as to what I’m referring to. But no spoilers 🙂

Another type of ending that I sometimes like is the happily ever after one. I love it when the characters survive the Big Mess and they have a chance to finally finally be at peace and live their life how they want to without any worries.

But this only works if it’s a realistic buildup to such an end. The wrap-up to the Big Mess has to be done right, in a way that there aren’t any loopholes, or oddities, or anything of that nature that leaves me with more questions than answers. I’ll even accept a few open ended questions that are left for the reader to determine the answer to, but everything else should be wrapped up appropriately.

Another type of ending that I just recently came across and ended up liking was one where the story is not resolved. I don’t know, but I’m perfectly fine with how the story ended because the big questions were answered even though the fate of the main character is not known. This book is going to remain a standalone as far as I know and I’m actually quite fine with that. It’s odd because I feel like in any other circumstance, I would have been less forgiving of a not so neatly tied up ending.


Now for the types of endings that I don’t like.

I don’t like endings that leave more questions than answers, or that are resolved in a hasty “the magic did it” kind of way. That just seems so lazy and unfair because I’ve probably put a lot of hope into the book and invested a lot of emotions into the characters. For the Big Mess to be resolved by some ancient supernatural magic that is used as a flimsy excuse would be highly annoying.

I also don’t like endings where bad characters who honestly don’t deserve a redemption are somehow redeemed because something occurred to them that should make me feel sorry for them now. I have a very specific book in mind for this one lol. Not everyone deserves to be redeemed and if that happens at the end when they don’t deserve it, I will very much hate that ending.

In a more mystery/thriller book sense, I hate endings where some random person who cannot logically be the person who committed the crime is the one that is revealed as the evil mastermind. This has happened a few times to me and it’s frustrating because I can’t connect the dots to see where I missed the important clues. Usually there aren’t even any dots to try and connect. It’s just a random ending.

A book with a complex plot that is ended with a simple, “click this button and all will be well” can either be amazing, or terrible. Like really terrible. It can be amazing because it will give me a huge *facepalm* moment where I’m like “DUH rukky, how did you miss that??” and I will be pleasantly surprised.

But it can also seriously backfire. Sometimes, a very complex plot just can’t be resolved so simply because then I feel like “what? that’s it? seriously? I agonized all this much and tried to piece out this complicated mess because there is obviously a genius master plan that I am yet to see and the ending is as simple as push the red button??????”

It’s not a fun feeling y’all. Not fun at all.

Lastly, I hate cliché endings. And I mean this in a Disney Princess ending kind of way. There’s been one book that I read that ended like that and I was positively dying at how Disney/cliché it was. Basically, a character was on the brink of death, and the love interest is crying about how she’s going to miss him, how he shouldn’t leave her, yadda yadda yadda, and then the character *dies* but these two other characters mix their blood together and it magically heals him so he comes back from that brink of death and everything is alright and it ends as a happily ever after.

Even saying that is unbelievable. Possibly the worst type of ending in my opinion.

Of course, this is all my opinion; you may actually like some of these types of endings, or hate the ones I like, and that’s all fair! We all have different tastes, and I’m curious to see if you agree with me or not.

And that’s it! All my favorite and not so favorite endings and why. I actually really liked this discussion and talking about the why behind my likes and dislikes, so thanks again to Rian for suggesting this topic!!

This Week’s Participants:

Jen @ Book Brew Blanket | Dini @ Dini Panda Reads | Ruby @ Ruby Reads and Reviews

Millay @ Millay’s Musings | Jheel @ Krisha’s Cozy Corner | Raji @ Words Unlike Our Own

Rachel @ A Bookworm’s Paradise | Dani @ Literary Lion | Rian @ Dogs and Books

Sammie @ The Bookwyrm’s Den | April Lee @ Booked Til Midnight | Carol @ Reading Ladies

Hehe, so it’s not Friday, but better late than never! I actually wrote this post Friday evening, but lost the motivation to edit and post it. Which is ridiculous because it’s not that much work, but alas, here we are.

How was your weekend? What are some of your favorite types of endings? Are there some I missed? Do you agree or disagree with my opinions? Do you have some guesses about the books I’m talking about? Chat with me in the comments below!!

10 thoughts on “What Makes a “Good” Ending? – Let’s Talk Bookish

  1. I agree with you… Except the last part. That cliche ending sounds totally cool!! Imagine if that was your favorite character dying right there. What would you do?! (Also, let me know privately what book that was because I have GOT to read it!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think endings can be really hard to do and often the last book in series are never my favourites. It isn’t because they are bad but more the fact that it is ending I think, like I’m so used to the stakes getting higher and higher but they kind of how to come down at the end. But it can be done really well, I do like the happy ending. It feels nice and you can normally wrap up a lot of nostalgia in those type of endings which I love.
    I also love sad endings with deaths and even where nothing seems perfect because it can sometimes feel more realistic to the story if was a dark story but hope has to be mixed in as well.
    I don’t like the ‘click and all is well end’ either, it feels a bit like a cop out and it is all too quickly resolved. I don’t like the overly disney ending either, it just feels slightly annoying really (in my taste of course).
    I feel like we have quite similar thoughts for endings and I loved reading this post !! 💕💕

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  3. Yes, I think narrative satisfaction is the number one thing that makes an ending good! Which is so hard as a writer, because it’s so vague and also so subjective…

    I agree that happily ever afters are nice only when they’re earned. I’ve definitely read some books that just felt too neatly wrapped up, to the point that they felt a little unbelievable. Personally, I’m partial to a bittersweet ending, where maybe not everything is fixed, but you feel like the characters are going to be okay. Or when a character doesn’t get the thing that they always wanted but they discover that it wasn’t what they needed after all?? I LOVE IT.

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  4. I LOVE open endings. They’re just…ugh so amazing and they always leave me feeling swept away. Although there are a few open endings where the author clearly just didn’t want to resolve things and those are kind of…😒 I totally agree with you about sad endings! I’ve seen some people who say that no ending should be sad ever, but I’ve seen some sad endings that felt just right for the story and were so cathartic. I’ve also read happy endings that were really contrived and imo should have had sad endings.

    Endings are really just…something that depends on the story and I personally don’t think someone can put blanket qualifiers on which type of ending is best. It needs to flow naturally from the story, of course, but I don’t think ‘happy endings are always the best’ or anything like that.

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