Top 10 Tuesday: Jaw-Dropping Book Endings

This week’s TTT topic (courtesy of of Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl) relates to commonly used words in the book titles of certain genres. I’m not really feeling this one so instead I’ve chosen a much older topic to have some fun with: jaw-dropping book endings. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a big, shocking, twisty ending? And by enjoy, I mean have a very complicated love-hate relationship with. Interestingly, there’s a lot of sequels on my list and because of this, and also the nature of the list, I’ll say up front, WARNING:

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Alright, prepared yourself? Good.  Let’s go!

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City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments 1#) – Cassandra Clare

I still remember reading this book for the first time on a lengthy car ride to visit my grandparents. When the plot twist regarding Jace and Clary’s relationship was revealed at the end of the book, I was shocked. My first reaction was, wow, way to rip off Star Wars, my second was, WHYYYYYYYY????? A ship had crashed and burned in front of my eyes (well, or so I believed).

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A Gathering of Shadows (A Darker Shade of Magic 2#) – V. E. Schwab

A lot of the stuff in this book is fairly light weight and unrelated to anything that happened in book one. Everything seems to be going okay and then all of sudden right at the end, it all goes to complete crap. Actually. It’s so bad that it takes all of book three for the characters to fix things. Safe to say, I was definitely keen to get my hands on A Conjuring of Light.Divider3Image result for golden son

Golden Son (Red Rising 2#) – Pierce Brown

This book was seriously action packed and then just when you think everything’s settled down, it goes full throttle again in the worst (or is it best?) possible way. The main character is betrayed by a close friend, someone significant dies, and multiple main characters are left in an absolutely terrible position going into book three. I was just a little bit heart broken. Divider4Related image

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer 1#) – Laini Taylor

I only have myself to blame for this one as the ending is revealed at the very beginning of the book. Yet, for some reason I convinced myself that it must have been a dream or something else entirely. Nope, neither of these things. A major character died in a pretty awful way and one of the others was blackmailed into accepting a terrible bargain. Where’s book two already?Divider5Image result for handle with care jodi

Handle with Care – Jodi Picoult

Jodi is known for endings that hit you like a stack of bricks. This was no different. I sat there shocked for several minutes and then just bawled. I rarely cry at books but this one got me, hard. After everything the characters go through in this story, it’s rendered insignificant in the space of only a couple of pages right at the end. Damn you, Jodi, you always know to hit where it hurts!Divider6Image result for shadow kiss

Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy 3#) – Richelle Mead

While book two’s ending was definitely sad and shocking, it’s three that takes the cake. Dimitri and Rose are one of my favourite book couples and they end this instalment in an absolutely terrible place after a massive vampire attack on the Academy. I couldn’t believe what had happened and I was desperate for book four to make sure everything turned out okay. Divider7Image result for The Mime Order

The Mime Order (The Bone Season 2#) – Samantha Shannon

The Mime Order is vastly different to book one of the series but still remains a really engaging read. There’s a lot of new elements introduced but somehow everything manages to come together right at the end in an ‘oh, shit’ kind of way, converging the story lines of both books. Quite a few things click into place about people’s behaviour, motivations and plans, and it was certainly enough for me to go: Damn, better read book three. Divider
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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter 7#) – J. K. Rowling

This was the book in which everything finally made sense and past events were given entirely new perspectives. The horcruxes, Dumbledore’s history, Harry’s importance, Snape’s true motivations, the reality behind Dumbledore’s death, it was A LOT to take in. Then there was the numerous character deaths and the fact that after that many years it was finally over. Done. Finito. If this book wasn’t a jaw dropper, I don’t know what is. Divider9Image result for atonement book

Atonement – Ian McEwan

What a heart breaker, a soul crusher. The shock of this ending comes from the fact that all is not as it seems. It’s almost like a cruel joke on the reader disguised as a kindness by a major character. You realise that you’ve been reading a lie for quite some time and that not all endings get to be happy ones. You’ll stare at a wall for a while. Trust me. Divider10Image result for Catching Fire book

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games 2#) – Suzanne Collins

And so the revolution began, with a bang and important characters being left behind to be tortured by the Capital. There’s a reveal about the supposedly destroyed District 13, the destruction of District 12, and a spectacular break out from The Hunger Games arena.  We also find out that an important capital official was a rebel all along. All together, it’s a wow ending that sends you running for book three. Divider

Q: What were some of your biggest jaw-dropper endings? Did any of these books get you like they got me?

Love Ashley

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Book Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (A Re-Read)

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Categories 5

Bloomsbury | August, 2013 | p. 452

I first read TBS back in 2013 and was super excited to get my hands on The Mime Order when it came out in 2015. Over two years later, here I am, eager to start flipping pages on The Song Rising EXCEPT, I have a problem: amongst all the waiting for the next instalment I’ve gotten a little hazy on the details. Do I remember the major events? Yes. However, I know the minute I pull back that lovely white and orange cover Samantha Shannon’s intricate word building is going to hit me like a truck at top speed. And so it’s clearly time for…

A RE-READ!

Just like last time, I tore through TBS in the space of three days. I stayed up into the early hours of the morning, unable to tear myself away and I’m happy to report that my previous rating holds up the second time through.

For those who haven’t read it, here’s the GR synopsis:

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

The first few pages of this book are not easy to get through, regardless of whether it’s your first time or not. It’s easy to feel discouraged because to put it bluntly, the first 10% or so of the book is DENSE. Shannon has created a wonderfully detailed and complex world for her stories but boy, is it difficult to get a handle on. History, government organisations, geography, characters, clairvoyance, technology, politics –it hits you over the head like a piano in an old Looney Toons cartoon.  No-one’s a fan of massive info dumps but in this case I understand why Shannon’s done it. There’s a lot of information to get through in this new world and in order to understand the plot, you need to have a basic grasp on a lot of it. My advice: sticker the clairvoyance chart at the beginning and the glossary at the end – you’re going to need them, a lot. Shannon also likes to incorporate a lot of world specific slang into her writing. Just when you think you know vaguely what’s going on, she throws another unfamiliar term at you. This didn’t really bother me as much as it did other people because much of it can be determined from context, and the ones that can’t become less of a problem as you go on.

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Plot wise, it’s important to know going in that while the beginning and end are fairly action packed sections, the rest of the novel is a bit slower with a few exceptional chapters. This is because these parts of the novel are centred upon (a) character building – particularly Paige’s, (b) Paige learning about her situation and working out how to get out of it, and (c) developing Paige’s relationships. For me, this was enough to keep me wanting more. Both A and C are dealt with through the help of flashbacks. I know a lot of people hate this technique but here they serve to aid our understanding of who Paige is. More importantly, they give us an idea about the London crime syndicate and characters that become prominent in The Mime Order. A lot of the book is devoted to Paige’s conversations with certain people so if this doesn’t float your boat, maybe stay away. The characters around Sheol I are decent enough, but all of the members of the Seven dials are compelling, even though they’re developed to varying degrees.  Nevertheless, the most important of Paige’s relationships is that formed with her Rephaite keeper, the Warden. Warden is an interesting and complex character, and it takes time to understand him and his intentions. As a key part of the novel, it’s also engaging to watch his and Paige’s relationship gradually develop over the six month period as they come to understand one another and build up trust. *spoiler* I will say though that the romantic jump does feel a little bit too sudden despite the ground gained. *spoiler over*

Paige herself, in my opinion, remains a likeable character. She’s strong, emotionally and physically, but comes with limits and vulnerabilities. She refuses to give up despite the apparent hopelessness of her situation and is constantly on the move, trying new things and searching for any piece of information that’ll help. And yet, she’s also flawed and doesn’t always come out on top. When she does, she needs help. In this way, she feels like an actual person, someone who makes mistakes and has a lot of room to grow throughout the series, which is a great thing.

The novel’s magic system is quite confusing and a little over complicated, and I still find myself a little unsure about it. However, I’ve found that with TBS it’s definitely possible to enjoy the use of magic and references to it without grasping the full picture. People sending images to people’s minds, controlling ghosts, and telling the future with tarot cards is still awesome even if you don’t understand the why.  I liked reading about Paige developing and learning more about her abilities. I’m a bit of a sucker for a good training session in a novel, especially where magic is concerned, and it’s nice to know that Paige is still somewhat at the beginning of understanding what clairvoyants can do, much like us, the reader.

While I recognise quite a few issues with TBS from a writing standpoint, I still can’t help but find that I really enjoy reading it. Even though it’s complicated, the world is compelling, and the characters are fantastic. There’s action, magic, romance, mystery, criminals, monsters, ghosts, alternate dimensions, and I just can’t help but be completely swept up by it all. I think that in this case, TBS is just one of those books where either you’ll be completely put off or, despite the mental haze, you’ll be more than happy to be along for the ride. Lucky for me, I fall into the latter group.

Have you read The Bone Season? What were your thoughts on it?

Happy reading!

Love ash

 

 

 

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