All the Endings: Books Finales that Disappointed Me

orangutan list

So I don’t know how much I mentioned it this month, but I’ve been doing a casual version of Nano and am currently at that stage of wrapping things up in my WIP. Which means I’ve naturally been fretting about it *a lot*. I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I love endings and obviously I want this to be the culmination of everything I’ve been working on (although obviously first drafts suck and can’t be perfect… more on that another time…). My biggest fear is that I’ll have built up all this whole story and it won’t pay off- or worse, that the idea I had in my head was too crazy to begin with… Because we all know that feeling when you’re invested in something completely and then- BAM!- the ending just ruins it all. You know, the HIMYM standard of finales. Well, I decided to torture myself and think about all the ways an ending can go wrong:

captain corelli

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin– this, in my opinion, is an example of making a bad book worse. Even if you liked this book, the ending will make you want to scream loud enough to shake the Greek islands. It was so frustratingly unsatisfying.

thirteen reasons why

13 Reasons Why– again, it’s no secret I’m not a fan. That ending though- I genuinely felt like the book was building to a crescendo and it ended up turning down the volume. I also think blaming the counsellor was one of the worst “reasons” on the list and it did a genuine disservice to the profession (and people seeking help who fear they won’t be listened to).

Breaking_Dawn_cover

Breaking Dawn– this book in general is *gagworthy*. There’s a werewolf falling in love with a baby, the most perfect of all the special snowflakes Bella turning into an even more perfect snowy skinned vamp and a lot of sitting round waiting for the scary, scary villains to turn up. But even with all that buildup, spoiler alert- though who even cares at this point- the big fight doesn’t happen. It’s the kind of ending that will make you want to smash it up and burn all the little pieces (incidentally that’s how you kill a sparkly vampire- you’re welcome for the tip 😉 )

ashes to ashes

Ashes to Ashes– this isn’t the worst book in the world- but GAH! What a flaming mess that ending was! Such a letdown! I very rarely think an ending ruins a whole book- much less a series- but this did just that for me. I don’t want to get into spoilers, so you can read more on why that was here.

stags

STAGS– while the ending didn’t totally ruin my enjoyment, it was completely ridiculous. Some of this comes down to execution, but also the twist was a shade bonkers regardless.

Caraval-150x225

Caraval– I had a lot of mixed feelings about this book- but one of my biggest issues was that the last twist was a twist too far. At one point every page turn was another acrobatic turn and that last one just landed badly for me.

The_Fault_in_Our_Stars

The Fault in Our Stars– now this is far from the worst ending on the list, however, I make it no secret that I always found the twist too obvious from the first chapter and consequently didn’t find it impactful. Also, I know this would have been a bit on the gimmicky side, but I *loved* the enigmatic ending in the book Hazel loves and thought that was gonna be how the book ended the whole way through. This comes down to personal taste, but I was disappointed that never happened. If Green had gone there, I’d have been sold.

safe haven

Safe Haven– I actually liked this book- yet there was one major flaw with it that I couldn’t get behind and that was the so-called twist. Even though it was foreshadowed, it didn’t blend well with the kind of book it was and was frankly just a bit silly.

the wasp factory

The Wasp Factory– I liked this book overall- rating it 4*- nonetheless, I couldn’t get behind that ending. It didn’t work for me. It felt like a betrayal of a lot of the themes it was working towards. Again, I don’t want to spoil it, and wouldn’t have room to discuss it at length anyway, so you check out my review if you’re interested as to why I didn’t like it.

great expectations

Great Expectations– this one might seem a bit bizarre, because I don’t totally hate the ending and this is possibly my favourite Dickens… BUT the ending as we know it is not what Dickens intended and having read the original ending I have to say, I thought it fit better with the themes of the book. Still wonderful though.

So do you agree or disagree with the choices on this list? And which endings really didn’t work for you? Let me know in the comments!

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Popular Books I Hated

A lot of these aren’t necessarily highly rated (most of these don’t have the best GR scores) they’ve just been read by *a lot* of people. But for the ones that are well loved- try not to crucify me for having a different opinion- thanks! The clue is in the title: these are not books that I liked, so don’t get upset that I didn’t like them. And if you think the title’s harsh, just consider the fact that I could’ve titled this “shit books that I hate” like Lily C on Youtube (really recommend by the way).

Fifty Shades of Gray– let’s start with the obvious one. I can’t be diplomatic about this: I think Fifty Shades of Grey is one of the most loathsome books of all time. In fact, it’s my quintissential example of a bad book (so thanks for being that I guess, everyone needs a go-to bad book). I mean, you’re free to like it, whatever floats your boat, but it’s objectively awful: badly written, has a bad plot (*ahem* no plot), bad romance (not the ra ra ooh la la kind), bad sex, bad characters, bad messages. Just bad. It reads like it was written on a Blackberry when the author did her groceries… and I know for a fact half of that statement is 100% true. *Sigh*.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin– I started my book blog to complain about this book- no joke! (so I guess I owe it a vote of thanks, cos I don’t think I’d ever have plucked up the courage to get going otherwise). This was my first review (not the best review, but whatever)- I was bored for huge parts of it and when I wasn’t bored I was raging.

Da Vinci Code– I don’t really need to explain this one. It’s a dumb book. The plot is dumb, the characters are dumb and the writing is dumb (also I read this when I was thirteen and it made me lose faith in adult’s taste in books for a good five years).

The Selection– I feel like this is low hanging fruit at this stage. I hated the characters and if I’d heard of the bachelor before I’d read it, I never would’ve picked it up, cos this not. a. good. idea. Plus, America (the character not the place) sucks.

As I Lay Dying– this book basically explains why I hate postmodernist claptrap: it’s illogical, it makes no sense and the people peddling it are out of their mind with pretentiousness (and that’s me being generous).

Nutshell– bravo for butchering Shakespeare! (*sarcasm detected*) Perhaps I wouldn’t have hated this up-itself book so much if it hadn’t been a retelling of Hamlet- oh the folly of writing such crap and calling it intellectual. Then again, it’s also really crass, so I don’t think it could have stood on its own merit anyway.

Lolita– I don’t despise Lolita- it is at least well written. But it is also completely disgusting and I hated every second of my experience with it. I would have happily DNF’d this if it hadn’t been for a class.

The Sun is Also a Star– this is probably the highest rated book on GR to make it onto this list- I just… hated it. The premise is stupid and basically reads like instalove on acid. And the female lead rubbed me the wrong way.

The Fault in Our Stars– yep grab your torches and pitchforks! This isn’t the worst book on here, but I still didn’t like this book. It was predictable, the characters didn’t talk like normal human beings let alone teens and some of the *oh-look-at-this-symbolism* went too far- that scene where they’re snogging in the Anne Frank museum is in poor taste.

The Eye of the World– I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry. I really didn’t like this and I don’t think anything’s going to change my mind. It’s dull and full of infodumps and feels like a ripoff of far better fantasy. I have never looked at the page count more for any other book.

Girl with a Pearl Earring– way to ruin a great painting with stupid internal monologues and presumptive bilge. The worst thing about this is that the mc’s voice and story doesn’t even fit with the feel of the painting. It doesn’t capture any of the essence of Vermeer’s artistry and feels like it’s piggybacking off of a much finer piece of work.

Okay, so agree or disagree with my list? Do you hate any popular books? Let me know in the comments!

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin- Book Review

captain corelliWhat better way to start than with a book I absolutely detested. (Obviously with a book I absolutely loved- but unfortunately this was the last book I read and I just need to vent about how bad it is!)

Not only is this book the most tedious drivel I have ever read, but it’s pretentious to boot. In a typically precious fashion, de Bernieres rehashes age old concepts as if they’re brand new. The book is astoundingly pompous considering the fact that its message essentially amounts to “war is bad”. It makes me wonder- does the author genuinely believe he is saying something unique? Oh, I suppose since he has a cat shitting in Mussolini’s helmet he thinks he’s redefining an entire genre.

That’s just one example of de Bernieres’ supposed wit. Again and again, the author believes he is being clever, but only succeeds in being annoying. At times, he is outright offensive. Take the moment when Carlo announces that “history is only written by the winners” (another age old concept). He then goes on to say that if the fascists won the war there would be “photographs of mass graves in the suburbs of London”. The implication here is subtle but clear: the authenticity of the holocaust is under question as “the winners” wrote the history books. Is that supposed to be clever? Does de Bernieres really need to use the deaths of millions of people in an attempt to seem deep and meaningful? It disgusts me that someone can use one of their characters, supposedly a hero, as a mouthpiece for this propagandistic garbage.

To be honest, I could leave the review there and that would be enough to explain my utter loathing for this book. After that point, I lost all respect for the author. But since I powered through the book, I may as well let you know about all its other failings.

Aside from being offensive, inconceivably dull and pretentious, it is virtually impossible to connect with any of it. I did not relate to the setting, characters or plot. The setting, though related in minute detail, never seems anything more than a colourless backdrop; the characters are poorly drawn and never amount to anything more than caricatures. The only figure that seems mildly interesting is the kindly old father, who is shunted to the side so that the reader may better “enjoy” a forced romance. Perhaps this is de Bernieres one and only success- he spends so much time convincing the reader how unbelievable this love is that it is no wonder that I simply did not believe in it.

De Bernieres is unrelenting with his “artistic” affectations. He uses multiple third person perspectives- much like George R R Martin- only he does it incredibly poorly. Unlike Martin, his pace is way off, and this only serves to create a jarring, fragmentary feel. When one examines the novel closely, the plot appears to be divided into three parts: the first is boring and pointless, leaving out the titular character to create “suspense”; the second part picks up a little and was the only time when I wasn’t blowing-my-brains-out-bored; but, alas, the third section ruins anything you might have liked.

As you can probably tell, I am really struggling to give this book credit for anything. The plus side is it got a range of emotions out of me; the downside is all of those emotions were negative. When it wasn’t boring me, it was irritating me, and when it wasn’t irritating me, it was angering me. The best thing I can say about it is that some parts are less boring than others.

Usually, if I read an acclaimed book that I don’t like, I can at least see something of value, some literary merit in it that I just didn’t relate to- but not in this case. I really don’t understand why so many people loved it. My only guess is that it’s a case of “the emperor’s new clothes”. I mean, why else would anyone say they enjoyed this? If anyone has any reasons please tell me- I genuinely want to know!

Rating: 0/5 bananas

*Spoilers* (don’t read on if you haven’t read this and want to read it- though I can’t imagine why you would…)

Ok, so I have to say it- what the hell was with the ending? Are you kidding me? It would have been bad enough if Corelli had never come back at all- but why on earth would you make him come back thirty years later? I am guessing this is just another attempt at being “deep and meaningful”- that love is so enduring blah blah blah- but no, just no. That is just not a satisfying ending; it sits uncomfortably between tragedy and comedy. It’s not like this untidiness makes any sense, especially considering the fact that de Bernieres conveniently ties up his other loose ends, having Mandras conveniently turn out to be an attempted rapist (I’m assuming the author just tags that on the end to justify Pelagia’s fickleness in retrospect). Gah- it’s nothing short of infuriating.