Favorite Thing Friday: Last Books

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Any reader of a series has mixed feelings about the last book. This is especially true of Young Adult readers that spend large portions of their lives immersed in other worlds built of science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal romance. We don’t just read these books, we live them. Even those of us well into our thirties. There’s something to be said for the magic and escape only Young Adult series books can offer.

Sitting on my bookshelf is no less than thirteen series of Young Adult novels. I anxiously wait for the next book in each series to come out and I buy it the day it hits stores. In many cases, I drop whatever I’m currently reading, so I can dive right into the newest addition of a given series. That is until the series concludes with the last book. Part of me is ready to read it in one sitting, but the other more powerful side is hesitant to even crack open the cover.

Over the last year I’ve made a pile of books, each of which are the last book of a series. They sat and collected dust as I found myself wedged between two very strong emotions. On one end there’s the uncontainable excitement of finally learning the fates of much beloved characters. One the other end is the sadness of having to bid them goodbye. Thanks to the evidence of dust, its easy to guess which end of the dichotomy rules my psyche.

Once the dust layer started evolving into dust bunnies, I knew it was time to get over my crippling hesitance. Since January, I’ve managed to clear four last books from the pile and it’s been an interesting experience of highs and lows.

Allegiant (Divergent Series) by Veronica Roth

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The first foray into last books almost doomed my mission from the start. I loved the first two books of Roth’s thrilling Divergent series, but the last book left me feeling cheated and angry. I can’t remember the last time I was so disappointed with a book at every level (i.e. character development, end of story, legacy, etc.). The silver lining: It was super easy to let go considering the entire series was essentially ruined.

Beautiful Redemption (Beautiful Creatures Series) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

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This last book more than made up for the disaster of Allegient. It offers a satisfying ending to a fantastic series in that it gives the story a solid ending without becoming predictable. My only complaint was the use of multiple points of view (I hate that. See One YA Reader’s Desperate Plea), but ultimately the story was strong enough to overcome that one little glitch.

Rapture (Fallen Series) by Lauren Kate

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Another fantastic last book. Not only does it deliver on wrapping up multiple story lines, but it includes a completely unexpected plot twist. In addition, the last chapter is perhaps one of the best endings ever conjured. Beautifully done.

Clockwork Princess (Infernal Devices Series) by Cassandra Clare

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Clare certainly knows how to weave a mesmerizing tale, but she does get a little carried away in some places, (i.e. scenes that go on much too long, repetitive dialogue, etc). This is somewhat forgivable as her characters are interesting and very likable. The final book offers a satisfying ending, but the epilogue left me scratching my head a bit as it diminished the emotional conflict of the entire series.  Still, it was a pretty darn good book!

Currently, I am immersed in the final book of Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush SagaFinale. So far, I have no complaints. One of Fitzpatrick’s strengths is character development in that she allows her characters to grow without letting them grow too far out of their skin (a common problem in YA).The story is progressing nicely and I am becoming more and more curious of how it will all end. For that reason, last books are my favorite thing this week!

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Next on the list is City of Heavenly Fire (Mortal Instruments Series) by Cassandra Clare. It won’t be released until later this month, but I am anxiously awaiting its arrival, (even though this series was technically supposed to end two books ago). I promise no dust will be collecting on this last book!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

 

 

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13 thoughts on “Favorite Thing Friday: Last Books

  1. I know what you mean, even though I haven’t read too many YA series, if I’m really enjoying a book I don’t want it to end. And a series is a bigger thing to let go of. Tricky to get right for the writer too, you don’t want to let anyone down with a disappointing ending, and there’s a lot to wrap up without being clunky. I’m currently considering extending my YA dystopian into a trilogy – hmm, a lot of work ahead!

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  2. Interesting thoughts. I haven’t read any of those books but I just finished the second one in the Miss Peregrine’s School For Peculiar Children series. I didn’t like it as well as the first. Long wait for the third. My Favorite Friday things are old Beatles songs. They are playing now and always take me to a better place. “If I Fell”

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  3. I’m of two minds about series. On the one hand, I admire an author’s ability to maintain the momentum of a series. On the other hand, there’s flogging a dead horse. I remember being on the third Harry Potter book and tossing aside, crying “It’s the same bloody story with a different gizmo!” And indeed plot construction was not one of the strong points of that series. I’m not a total ‘Thronie’, but I do enjoy watching ‘Game of Thrones’ on TV. I have noticed a repetitious plot device and wondered if it exists in the novels too, I call it ‘the ten mile rule’: A & B are on a journey to find C, when, ten miles along the road, they are surprised by D and a company of armed men, who drag them off in another direction. It doesn’t have to be quite like that – it might be a poisoning, an assassination, a piece of magic, or some other sideways jump – but it seems to be G R R Martin’s way of sustaining the narrative by ensuring that no situation ever resolves. Frankly, it’s getting so predictable in the TV series, that there is a loud laugh and cheer in our house whenever it happens.

    Great series:

    William M Miller Jr’s ‘A Canticle for Leibowitz’. I know it’s usually presented as a single novel, but in reality it’s three novellas in a single binding, plus a kind of stand-alone sequel, but it’s imaginative, witty, and dares to be bleak where necessary.

    John Masters’ novels of India. Each is very much a stand-alone novel, but as a whole they are a brilliant progression.

    I have mentioned this before. I fell into writing YA fiction, mainly because my first novel, though written for adults, was marketed to a YA readership. My second novel was a reply to a direct challenge to set a fantasy in a school and come up with something better than a Harry Potter story – okay, no problem, did that! My third was as a result of being asked to write a teen-vampire story. That was a bit of a challenge because as a genre vampire fiction has been done to undeath. But I wrote one very quickly that was and is different to a degree. It is, moreover, the first in a series – I’m in the middle of the second right now. My plan is NOT to perpetuate the style of the preceding novel in the succeeding, nor to use the same characters, nor to set each in the same historical period. In short, I intend to break the conventions that usually sustain a series. Wish me luck.

    By the way, the first in the series – ‘From My Cold, Undead Hand’ (or ‘Chevonne Kustnetsov vs the Sharp Teeth Krew’) – should be published some time this year.

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    • I remember you mentioning some of these thoughts on series on another post a while back. I love how both readers and writers have such a wide range of opinions regarding not only novels, but also on what makes a series tick.

      I’m actually very excited to see how you construct your series. Part of what makes a good series is daring to mess with the norm. Do something unexpected, interesting, and unorthodox! Of course, I know you will do all of these things! 🙂

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  4. famouslyfamousity

    I’m in complete agreement with you on Allegient. The last book bored me and that ending made me wish I hadn’t spent money on it. Clockwork Princess was good too, but I really hated Tessa for betraying Jem. Nice reviews though, they’re pretty spot on.

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    • I ended up selling my Divergent series to Half Price Books. I didn’t want the memory of disappointment sitting on my bookshelf. It’s really too bad as I think Roth is an incredible writer.

      I’m still trying to process the Will – Tessa – Jem triangle. Jem was a great character, but I never “got” Tessa and Jem together. It just didn’t work for me. I was Team Will all the way, so it was especially hard to watch that relationship be tarnished with elements of betrayal, (no matter how unintended they were). Ah well, I suppose the fact that we’re still talking about it vouches for just how good a book it was!

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  5. I have the same love/hate relationship with the last book in a series. To be honest, sometimes I wait to start series until they’re nearly over because finally starting the last book is usually a rash decision. Or sometimes I skip a series altogether because of the last book. (I’m very torn on reading Divergent because all the reviews I’ve heard of the last book, including yours, are so disappointing. It’s a tough thing to choose to subject yourself to.)

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    • Ha! Sometimes I wait for the entire series to come out, too. I did that with Hunger Games! 🙂

      To be fair, many of my students through Allegiant was fantastic. As always, it is a matter of taste. 🙂

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