Silver Linings: Series Endings
I'm really not good at handling series endings at all. I can't even begin to count the number of series finales still on my shelves that I bought the day of release, unread. I just can't bring myself to sever the connection with the worlds and characters created, even if it's an open ending. I just read Rapture by Lauren Kate after over a year of mentally steeling myself to finish it. I remember every memory associated with that series.Happy ending, unhappy ending. I always get really emotional at the end. It's bittersweet; it's a pang in my chest. It doesn't even matter if it's not a series that I was particularly fond of reading. I can't imagine that ending.Part of it is that there are memories stitched into every book. I remember everything about the first time I read a book. I remember books that taste like certain things because I was eating M&Ms the first time I read Paranormalcy. I remember books associated with certain milestones in my life. When I open another book in that series, I'm taken back.I remember things from years ago and that's such a nice feeling - that mixture of nostalgia and excitement that comes with a new chapter in my life. Once the series ends, I can go back and reread but it isn't the same when there isn't that underlying tension and uncertainty that comes with not knowing how a story will end.Some series affect me more than others. Some, like Forever by Maggie Stiefvater, Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han, left me positively bawling. An emotional wreck. Unable to do anything for the rest of the day or night but think about the stories and impact they've had on me and what it means that they're suddenly gone.What if it doesn't capture the special essence that made me love the book in the first place? What if the ending sucks? What if it leaves me disappointed and the characters are forever tainted by the spoiled last book in the series? I'm left with all these questions and doubts that chip away at me when I look at it on my shelf.Especially because recently, many of the really tense books that lead up to an explosive conclusion fall short. So many clues and build-ups are scattered around that it can fizzle out when it gets to the final battle. There's not enough action or not enough of a finite ending. It feels like the author wimped out by taking an easy way out or an obvious solution. Or it'll feel like an author's planting convenient ways out of tricky situations for the main character.Kill your darlings. It's a phrase tossed around to describe authors having to kill off characters. I develop such intimate relationships with certain characters that positively destroy me when one dies. But it's necessary. If it's a battle between good and evil, it almost feels like a cop-out if an author lets all the favorite characters live. No spoilers here, but the finale of a series shouldn't be easy. It should be emotionally difficult to get through, and that goes for contemporary too. All the tension should erupt.It's especially sad if the series tapers off. When a book establishes a really distinct, really emotional mood in the first book but it lessens later in the series, I can't bring myself to read the final book. I don't want it to be plain or boring or a struggle to get through.Part of it is honestly blogging. I feel like it's a lot rarer for me to be truly absorbed into a book. It's a lot harder for me to forget about the rest of the world because I am a lot more critical about the little things in a book. It makes it that much better to get really sucked into one. I'll read the final book in a series that I started before I started blogging and ask myself - why didn't I notice how weak the writing was when I read the first book? Some books leave me like that and it makes me scared to finish the series. There's not the same excitement. The last book should be the climax of the series and the one that captures all the lost threads and little touches established throughout the narrative.I'm a coward when it comes to final books. Some of my favorite series haven't been finished. I have a bad habit of reading the first two books in a trilogy and never reading the third. I still have Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl on my shelf because I can't dream of finishing it. Beautiful Chaos left me crushed and dissolved into an emotional wreck. That wasn't even the series conclusion - so thinking about reading the final book is horrible.I haven't read Clockwork Princess or Sever or any of those although I own them. I can't do it. I have to pick a day to devote to the series because otherwise, I won't be able to function. I will cry afterwards and it will be all I think about and in the end, that series will have been beautiful.Books carry memories. They carry bits of us and bits of the world as we experienced it when we cracked open that first book, or read our favorite lines for the first time. They're exciting and scary and a little bit boring sometimes but they do leave an impact. We have a beginning of that story when we read the first in a series, but I can't bring myself to end it.What do y'all think? Are you the type to read the series conclusion the day it comes out or, like me, waiting months or years to read the final book?