Booking Through Thursday – Twisty

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I feel like I’m slogging through each day, just waiting for the moment where the alarm does not have to go off one morning.  This week has been particularly tough mentally.  So, my joy at the fact that it is finally Thursday knows no bounds because it means I only have to get up early one more day this week!  It also means it is time for Booking Through Thursday!

Jackie says, “I love books with complicated plots and unexpected endings. What is your favourite book with a fantastic twist at the end?”


So, today’s question is in two parts.


1. Do YOU like books with complicated plots and unexpected endings?


2. What book with a surprise ending is your favorite? Or your least favorite?

This is another fabulous question that requires too much thinking early in the morning.  Do I like books with complicated plots and unexpected endings?  Well, I think they are two different things.  Complicated plots are one thing and do not necessarily entail an unexpected ending.  I like those endings that I cannot predict, that throw me for a loop and have me gasping out loud from the twists and turns.  Granted, they have to be realistic surprise endings – no jumping the shark endings for me – but I do like unexpected endings because it keeps me engaged as a reader through the end.  I do get upset when I can predict the ending of a novel well before said ending.  I read to escape, not to unintentionally figure out how the conflict will end. 

However, I do not think complicated plots automatically mean an unexpected ending.  I am not a big fan of overly complicated and convoluted plot lines.  Again, I read to escape, and I feel that reading should not require flow charts and diagrams in order to figure out what is happening.  That being said, I do think that this can be done with skill and finesse so that the plot is complicated without being confusing.  Unfortunately, this is a skill, and not many authors can pull it off well. 

As for what books I feel best exemplify mastery of the surprise ending, I would have to put The Hunger Games and even Catching Fire among the top of the list.  Both kept me on the edge of my seat while reading, and I honestly had no idea where Suzanne Collins was going with her story.  Both endings left me all but panting because of the roller coaster of emotions that was flooding through me.  I would also rank the children’s classic The Westing Game up there as well.  As a child first reading the story, the ending literally shocked me to no end, and that feeling of respect I have for Ellen Raskin’s ability to do so has stayed with me over the years. 

Thankfully, I cannot think of a book I would list as my least favorite.  That means I have either blocked out the memory or have not read any I would classify as such!

Now it’s your turn!  Any books with surprise endings that I need to add to my TBR pile immediately?  Any I should avoid at all costs?  Are complicated plots the same thing as an unexpected ending?  How do you feel about either plot device?

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14 Responses to Booking Through Thursday – Twisty
  1. thekoolaidmom
    January 28, 2010 | 9:04 AM

    I've not read Suzanne Collins books yet, and I'm beginning to think I'll be the last one to do so! You are right that complicated plots and unexpected endings don't necessarily go hand in hand, and I didn't really address that in my anwer.

    I had to chuckle when you said it's too much thinking for this early in the morning. Don't I know it!

  2. Jennifer
    January 28, 2010 | 9:55 AM

    I have not read the books you cited so I shall check into them. I am more twisty than you, I think. I could not come up any novels, which means my brain is overloaded, however, I give an example. My answers: http://www.rundpinne.com/2010/01/booking-through-thursday-complicated.html

  3. MarceJ
    January 28, 2010 | 10:01 AM

    Interesting answer. I have to read The Hunger Games, i'm happy to see a twist ending.

  4. Michelle
    January 28, 2010 | 10:20 AM

    I've not yet read Hunger Games or Catching Fire, but have heard nothing but good about them.

    Here are my responses:
    http://literarilyspeaking1.blogspot.com/2010/01/booking-through-thursday-january-28.html

  5. gautami tripathy
    January 28, 2010 | 12:20 PM

    I like unexpected endings!

    Booking through twisty

  6. Jackie (Farm Lane Books)
    January 28, 2010 | 5:56 PM

    I loved The Hunger Games, but predicted the ending very early on. It didn't lessen my enjoyment of it though!

    Sorry for making you think early in the morning! You still managed to come up with a fantastic answer!

  7. Michelle
    January 28, 2010 | 6:23 PM

    Kool-Aid Mom – I highly recommend any Suzanne Collins book! I even read the first book in her series for younger children, Gregor the Overlander, and enjoyed it as well. Sometimes, it is just too hard to think at 7 AM!

  8. Michelle
    January 28, 2010 | 6:24 PM

    Jennifer – You will have to check them out!

  9. Michelle
    January 28, 2010 | 6:24 PM

    MarceJ – I think twisty endings make reading worthwhile, don't you think?

  10. Michelle
    January 28, 2010 | 6:35 PM

    Michelle – For twisty endings, they are one of the best!

  11. Michelle
    January 28, 2010 | 6:35 PM

    Gautami – Me too!

  12. Michelle
    January 28, 2010 | 6:36 PM

    Jackie – You are a better reader than I am if you could figure out the ending of The Hunger Games. Thanks for making me use my brain so early in the morning!

  13. mattviews
    January 28, 2010 | 8:50 PM

    I enjoy complicated plots and multiple layers of meanings, but they are not necessary for me to like a book. It all depends whether I resonate with the story.

  14. Michelle
    January 29, 2010 | 8:22 AM

    Matt – I agree that resonating with the story is key and goes a long way to making complicated, interwoven plots more tolerable as well as enjoyable.

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