Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Top Ten Mindblowing Book Endings

This week's topic for Top Ten Tuesdays at The Broke and the Bookish is "Top Ten Book Endings That Left Me With My Mouth Hanging Open (because of the cliffhanger or because it the ending was MINDBLOWING, etc. Be careful with spoilers on this one! :P)."

First of all, what a great question! Second, this is kind of difficult for me to answer for two reasons; 1) I'm unusually good at predicting endings and 2) I don't tend to read for plot, but for character, detail, language, world-building, insight into humanity etc. Therefore, a lot of the books I read simply do not have surprising endings, because that's not the point. Still, I'll try my best.

1. The Giver by Lois Lowry

I remember reading The Giver for the first time and crying at the end. It is still one of the few books that has ever made me cry. I had not predicted the ending at all, but I liked it. I was also a lot younger when I read this, though, so this was before I was particularly good at guessing endings.

2. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

While the ultimate ending and most of the twists didn't surprise me, there was one climactic event that did blow my mind, but I won't reveal which one it was.

3. The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald is very much a writer to read for language, detail, and observations on the human condition, but the actual ending of this book did surprise me because the rest of the book seemed leading clearly in one direction. I think the point though is that whatever the outcome of the supposed quest, the nature of the relationships in the novel were going downhill. I hope that's not too much of a reveal?

4. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

Especially at first, I found Martin very unpredictable. Basically, all the books just end in outrageous and violent places, so I've come to expect that even if I can't predict all the actual events.

5. The Time Traveler's Wife

When I first began reading the book, I would never have guessed the ending, but toward the end of the book, it is revealed how it is going to end, it just remains to see the details, which is one of the exquisite things about this book and its careful non-chronological structure. I'm not sure if that qualifies though.

6. Chapterhouse Dune by Frank Herbert

This is the last of the six original Dune books. Dune is the most complete universe I've ever encountered (yes, including Middle Earth, as much as it hurts me a little to admit it), and this book just ends in an absolutely awesome place.

7.The Belgariad by David Eddings

The basic plot is predictable, as is the ending, but the actual climax is pretty epic.

8. The Farthest Away Mountain by Lynne Reid Banks

Again, not unpredictable, but just awesome. This was one of my favorite books as a child.

9. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

You know exactly what's going to happen, but I'm fond of how Levine does the ending. Another childhood favorite.

10. The Stranger by Albert Camus

Another where you know what's going to happen, but the character's reaction is pretty damn surprising.


Trish said...

Hmm I'll have to take a closer look at the F. Scott Fitzgerald book. I really like his writing.

Anonymous said...

Ah, The Belgariad, I'd forgotten about that one. Wonderful book.

Marie said...

this is a great list! strong endings can really make a book sing.

Biblibio said...

Ella Enchanted - an unexpected choice for a list of this nature, but I get it. It finds a good way to give the reader the predictable ending.

And The Giver - absolutely. If I had to define "mindblowing book ending", that would definitely be number one, what with still making me think, all these years later. Too bad Lowry decided to write a sub-par "sequel" years later that killed so much of the beautiful ambiguity...