Give me your hands, if we be friends,
and Robin shall restore amends."
Rule number one: do not mess up the ending. The ending is everything. The ending is what will stay with the reader, what the reader will think of whenever that book is mentioned. The ending is the grand finale, the coup de grace, the moment when the curtain descends and the actors stand in tense silence as they await the audience's reaction. Will there be wild applause? Heartfelt silence? Discontent mutterings? Disgusted shouts?
I'm always talking about endings; I bet you're sick to death of it. But it's true. if the ending's off by even a fraction, no matter how amazing the rest of the book is, it will not sit right in my mind. A good ending is vital.
So I thought I'd show you how a professional does it...and give you a list (I love me some lists!) of books with some of the best endings in all of Literarydom, plus mention a few of the worst. I certainly won't tell you what the endings are (spoilers!). That's something you'll have to discover for yourself (or you could, you know, cheat and use the internet).
Artemis Fowl - Eoin Colfer. So epic.
The Demon's Lexicon - Sarah Rees Brennan. The book itself is practically intolerable, but the ending is so good and makes so much sense. It's hard not to admire it.
Dragon Slippers - Jessica Day George. Wonderful. Brought a big smile to my face.
Dread Locks - Neal Shusterman. Gave me chills.
Generation Dead - Daniel Waters. Made me scream.
House of Stairs - William Sleator. ...Rather hard to explain, really.
In The Spotlight - Ann Mauren. Though there were many parts of the book I didn't love, the ending is spectacular.
Last Stop - Peter Lerangis. Definition of a twist ending.
Marco's Millions - William Sleator. A brilliant climax.
Me, The Missing, And The Dead - Jenny Valentine. Rest of the book isn't impressive, but the ending is pretty good.
Midsummer Night's Dream - William Shakespeare. See above quote.
Sorcery & Cecelia - Caroline Stevermer and Patricia C. Wrede. A true happy ending.
Speeding Bullet - Neal Shusterman. Realistic and satisfactory.
The God Engines - John Scalzi. Slightly horrifying.
Unwind - Neal Shusterman. Appropriately epic.
And this is how you don't write an ending:
Angel - Cliff McNish. Well, despite the fact that THIS WHOLE BOOK IS CRAP.
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury. Doesn't seem to fit the rest of the book.
Gods Behaving Badly - Marie Phillips. They never really solved the problem of the disappearing sun...?
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling. I know, I'll probably get hate mail for this, but...it was a bit heavy on the happily ever after, don't you think?
Mansfield Park - Jane Austen. YOU READ 400 STINKING PAGES FOR THAT?
So Yesterday - Scott Westerfeld. Just...disappointing, to say the least.
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins. It's very abrupt and tacked on, like she had no idea how to write an ending.
Twilight - Stephanie Meyer. Bella doesn't get turned into a vampire (oops, spoiler).
So what's your list of epic conclusions and awful endings?