Finales that disappointed me

orangutan list

We all know what it’s like: the first flushes of love as we fall for a new series, waiting with baited breath for the next instalment, feeling our heart pound as we near the end… only to feel nothing but an anti-climax. Nothing is more disappointing to a bookworm than a series ender we didn’t love. For me, whether I love a series for eternity can come down to those final pages- so, it’s a lot of pressure, but it’s gotta be made to count. As much as I’ve raved about series endings I enjoy– and more than once!- there are unfortunately plenty that have let me down:

kingdom of ash book cover

Kingdom of Ash– so I’m going to start with one that was far from terrible. In fact, I even enjoyed it for the most part when I read it and had some satisfaction when I finished. AND YET oddly enough when I look back on this, I’m disappointed with how it turned out. Because *spoiler alert* this is the kind of story where all the main characters wear plot armour and only expendable characters die. Despite all the explosions, there was no fireworks and consequently no spark for me. It relied on a series of “eh whatever” plot conveniences that have niggled away at me over time. It leaves me with an empty feeling when I think about it. I will say this could just be a case of me outgrowing a series- yet I can’t help but feel a pang when I think of this series. As much as I devoted time to it, I’ve no desire to reread it and have since unhauled my books… and to me, that’s immensely disappointing.

queen of air and darkness book

Queen of Air and Darkness– this was another book I liked less and less over time AND is another book that put me off a series. In this case, I blame the book. It was just designed to bridge the gap between this and another (clearly more important) series. It was slow and exhaustingly repetitive and made the entire series redundant. I’m annoyed that I ever wasted my time on it.

Breaking_Dawn_cover

Breaking Dawn– as much as I will say I think people are too harsh about Twilight, this book was a trashfire. Aside from all the long-winded and anti-climactic elements, this book has a grown man fall in love with a baby?!?! WHO SIGNED OFF ON THAT IDEA?! Ugh, even all these years later, I still wish I could get that ending out of my head. I rue the day teenage me ever picked up a book on sparkly vampires, because I should’ve known it was only going to be downhill from there.

Harry Potter and the deathly hallows

Deathly Hallows– yep, I was one of those teens that was disappointed with this ending. Largely because I didn’t like the copycat elements from Aslan in Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (…plus a whole bunch of other complaints over the years, which made me develop a complicated relationship with Harry Potter). Now, while I still don’t think it’s the perfect ending, I will say I have (just about) reconciled with my old mate Harry Potter. I think I can get on the same page with this ending now… but I’ll never love it.

shadow study

Shadow Study– I loved where the poison study series started, however hated where it ended up. It went from something startlingly unique to just another generic fantasy- and I can’t quite forgive it for that.

final warning maximum ride

The Final Warning– another series that took off and soared to great heights… before ultimately getting shot down and tumbling to its doom. I get the feeling the author had no idea where it was heading- cos this was just blatantly bizarre. Oh, and in this case, I found out this wasn’t the *final* finale… but let’s be real, I’m never going to read on.

ashes to ashes

Ashes to Ashes– another waste of a series where I felt like the promises were left unfulfilled. Unlike the endings I’ve complained about for being too kind, by contrast I felt this was far too much of a punishing end.

inkdeath

Inkdeath– I loved the concept of Inkheart, but this was just not an ending I enjoyed. Fortunately, unlike a lot of the other books on this list, the first book can be enjoyed in its own right as a standalone.

immortal reign

Immortal Reign– this was wayyy too easy an ending. I know it sounds callous (cos it is) but I prefer my endings to feel like they count and this didn’t.

our dark duet

Our Dark Duet– it’s not just super long series that I’ve dedicated my time to that can disappoint- this duology held a lot of promise in the concept, but I did not like where this went. I particularly disliked the shift in villains. Above all, it felt rushed and unsatisfying.

queen of ruin

Queen of Ruin– ditto with this duology. The more I look back on this, the more frustrated I am that this took such a strong start and let it fizzle out. Somehow this simultaneously managed to be both stuffed with fluff and cut to the quick too fast. Worst of all, the character work was lacking. It decidedly ruined the series for me.

And that’s all for now- thankfully! Have you read any of these? Do you agree or disagree? And what series disappointed you by the end? Let me know in the comments!

60 thoughts on “Finales that disappointed me

  1. Maximum Ride definitely went from action packed and unique to just bizarre! I forced myself to get through to the “last” book – and was really losing the determination by then, anyway – and I do agree that the author didn’t have a clear plan for where the series was going, and started just making it up on the fly! (no pun intended!)

    I have mixed feelings about Harry Potter in retrospect, too – but at the time, I was on board with the ending! Nowadays, though, there are more and more plot points or character decisions that bug me in some way or another… 😛

    I’m the only person – until now – I’ve come across that didn’t like Our Dark Duet! I had trouble with the first book, but had heard such amazing praise for the author that I kept going – it’s like she decided she hated the original and wanted to change everything in the second half! This duology was my first introduction to Schwab, and to be honest, it turned me off enough that I’ve yet to try anything else by her!

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    1. Oh yes completely agree!! Hahaha I hear you!

      I can understand that- I think I’ve gone in the other direction (well, more or less reconciled myself to the ending- at least more than I was at the time). Haha I hear you- there’s some things I’ll never get over.

      Oh I was so disappointed with the second half (especially because I really liked her other books). YES! That’s exactly the problem! All the work she did in the first one, she undid! And I don’t get why!

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      1. And is it just me and you, or are we truly the only ones who didn’t love that duology? I’ve yet to hear a single bad thing said about that Schwab work, when it literally turned me off trying anything else by her… Confusion…

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        1. Ah yeah it’s much more popular than I realised! Cos I think some other people were disappointed when it was released, but now all responses to the series are overwhelmingly positive? I do like her other books though (in varying degrees) but I have heard from people who loved savage song that they didn’t like the shades of magic series (which I enjoyed for the most part)

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          1. I haven’t tried the Shades of Magic series – mostly because I am terrified of books over 300 pages anymore – but also since I had such conflicting responses to Savage Song/Dark Duet. Maybe one day??

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  2. asdfghjkl also add allegiant from the divergent series to this list!! 😭 i definitely also agree with you about kingdom of ash and queen of air and darkness. i loved those series while i was reading them but the finales were SUCH a letdown!

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  3. I gave up on Maximum Ride and the Poison Study series before it ended and it looks like that was the right choice. It’s been years since I read Poison Study, but I loved the first book and remember feeling like the second book didn’t live up to the first (probably why I never finished the series)

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  4. Wow. So many ways to go wrong.

    The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever … the ending was pretty satisfying, considering that the way the books are set up, you are led to expect that everything fails and everyone gets killed, and that’s almost exactly what happens. So it felt like real life. But they had to include a conversation between the MC and God about the problem of evil, which is bound to be unsatisfying because the author doesn’t know the answer and there is no satisfying answer. I found a lot more wisdom in the story itself than in that conversation.

    There are a few series that I’ve started but don’t intend to finish because it’s the concept itself that was the most intriguing, and that was well developed in the first book or two, leaving the author with nowhere to go after that. The Clan of the Cave Bear series, in a big way, is like this based on what I’ve heard. (I’ve only read the first three books of it.) The Emberverse series, even though I always recommend it for the first three or four books. Apparently, according to reviews, the later books devolve into mostly visions.

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    1. Haha unfortunately yes (although I feel like if I make it to the end of the series, I’m more likely to enjoy it than not).

      Oh a lot of that sounds good- but that definitely sounds like an unsatisfying (and dare I say it unnecessary) aspect.

      Oh I’ve definitely found that problem with some books- it’s a good reason to give up on something! And that’s odd about the Emberverse!

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  5. I actually liked the ending for the Burn for Burn trilogy. It felt really messy and conflicted and I kind of ate it up. Not a perfect ending, but I liked it! Breaking Dawn more like Breaking Down. That book was absolutely trashfire. I read it when I loved Twilight and I struggled through it. The whole Jacob imprinting thing will forever make me uncomfortable.

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  6. Whew… For once, I have read some of the books in the post.
    I agree about Maria Snyder, I loved the first two, then got bored..
    So also Cassandra Clare. I haven’t been tempted to pick up Sarah J Maas
    I liked Deathly Hollows and breaking dawn though in breaking dawn, I didn’t think the physicality of it but something about soul mates. At that time of my life, I believed in the purity of souls and didn’t think it to be adult loving a child. Ah well, times changed and innocence was lost. No idea what I would think of the books now

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    1. Ah I’m glad I’m not the only one with poison study tbh.
      I think that’s fair.
      And I can understand liking deathly hallows.
      And yeah I can understand that (I know that’s what she was going for) but it just didn’t have good implications for me, you know?

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    1. Oh yeah I definitely get that about Allegiant (that wasn’t a good ending- I just never loved the series enough to be super disappointed). I did like Mockingjay, even if it’s not technically as good as the first two, but see why others don’t. I get being fine with deathly hallows as well. And that’s fair! Thank you!

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  7. I may give Inkheart a try since you mentioned that it’s a great standalone, although I’m still a little dubious about a 12 years old being the main protagonist. We’ll see. I’ve managed the Harry Potter series and this was also about a bunch of wizard kids. I’ve never thought about it as high flying literature and consequently never had big expectations about it. Just some entertaining read … written for a juvenile public. And I definitively don’t join the lynching crowd attacking Rowling. Those moral crusaders right now are wielding such an influence that their censorship is even creeping into the minds of writers. Lately I read a lot about writers who’re withdrawing their books from publication because some critics find they’re not propagating the “correct” views or attitude. All those writers loudly claim that it’s not censorship but their own choice, what just indicates that the censorship gets induced into one’s public opinion and art. One can get crucified for saying something like “positive discrimination is also discrimination, because you’re going to favor someone because of his race or gender above someone with better intrinsic qualities”.

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    1. Oh yeah that’s fair- it may be a tough one to get into as an adult. And I think that’s completely fair about Harry Potter (I probably should point out I was a kid when I read it/had such high hopes for it 😉). Oh I absolutely agree- I definitely didn’t mean this post as a way to pile on Rowling in any way (I did write/schedule this post a while before the recent furore and feel bad about that being in here now, cos it’s pretty ill-timed). I definitely think it veers well into censorship (especially when people are saying “don’t read her books or give her your money” now). I agree with you.

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  8. I DNFed Queen of Air and Darkness about 100 pages or so in. Okay, The Dark Artifices was always going to be my least favourite of the Shadowhunter series even if I did really like the first two books but this book made me want to never pick up another new Shadowhunter book ever again. I hated it.

    Moving towards the opposite end of the scale, I was okay with Deathly Hallows and Breaking Dawn. Actually I re-read Breaking Dawn a lot when I was in my major Twilight phase but it has been a good seven years or so and I would definitely be cringing and struggling with some of the concepts laid out in that book if I re-read it now.

    And Our Dark Duet is actually a sequel and finale I personally loved. I thought it took the story up a notch and twisted the story in a way I did not see coming. I totally get that it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea but it worked for me.

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    1. I completely agree with you! I wasn’t as fond of them as the other Shadowhunter books… but wow by the end of Queen of Air and Darkness I’d decided to stop reading those books. It killed my enjoyment of the series.

      Ah that’s completely fair!

      That’s interesting- I always feel like Our Dark Duet splits fans down the middle and I see why. I do think that the ending was a massive twist- and I could’ve been on board with it, I just wasn’t keen on the execution. I’m glad it worked for you though!

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  9. I’m still not a fan of the last Harry Potter book, I skimmed over a lot of it because it never got interesting for me. I’ll have to take note of your other books here, I definitely don’t want to get hooked on a series with a bad ending! Thanks for posting. 👍

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  10. I’m the same way with the Queen of Air and Darkness. I LOVED LOVED LOVED Lady Midnight but as the series progressed I fell a little more out of love with it and you are right. The Queen of Air and Darkness was just meant to bridge the gap between the Dark Artifices and the Wicked Powers. It was disappointing because I loved Julian and Emma and the Blackthorns and I don’t know… I just wanted more…. and a better ending and less repetition. They are such strong characters!

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    1. Ah yes I hear you!! I really liked some of the ideas in that series- but it just went downhill. Yeah I was so disappointed by that- even if it was designed to bridge the gap (which is so annoying) I feel like it could’ve been a great story in its own right. Completely agree! They were (in my opinion) some of the best of Clare’s characters and they got short changed by the story.

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  11. As much as I love the Inkworld in general, I feel you on not particularly loving the finale. I still think that Inkheart is the best out of all of them as well. However, I must say, that I read those as a kid and Dustfinger was my first crush and fictional character I cried over. So, they managed that haha
    And I also feel you on Our Dark Duet. August is one of my favourite characters, but I can’t believe it ended like that. I felt like Schwab was building this huge world (I was so sure there would be a spin-off with some of the characters mentioned early on in the book), but that was it. I heard her say she doesn’t plan on doing more in this world … but it doesn’t quite sit right with me.

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