This week’s Top Ten Tuesday list (thanks to the Broke and the Bookish for hosting!) made us think about the various book series we’ve read (or are in the middle of, actually). We’re thankful it was harder for us to brainstorm series enders we hated than it was for us to come up with the ones we loved. Several of our favorite series are coming to an end soon, and it’s our hope that we can add them all to the “Best” column the next time we do this meme. Of course, we’re thinking specifically of Veronica Roth’s much anticipated “Allegiant,” which comes out Oct. 22! Without further ado, here are our 10 picks for Best/Worst Series Enders.
Best Series Enders:
1. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” by J.K. Rowling: As I read this magnificent ending of the “Harry Potter” series, I feel like I experienced the entire spectrum of emotions. I laughed, I cried, I was shocked, and I ended up in awe. Rowling wrote an ending that was just absolutely perfect and gave us a wonderful conclusion to the lives of Harry, Ron, and Hermione. And yes, I even enjoyed the Epilogue, which I know is controversial (apparently all epilogues are, but Sandie and I both felt Harry, Ron, and Hermione deserved that “all is well.”) –Diana
2. “Quintana of Charyn” by Melina Marchetta: Anyone who has been paying attention knows that I am a die-hard fan of Marchetta’s work, but I was scared to read “Quintana.” The second book in the series, “Froi of the Exiles,” had left a huge pit in my stomach, particularly when it came to all three of major couples I was invested in, and I had no idea how Marchetta was going to pull everything off and resolve all of the conflicts. But by that final chapter, I was jaw-droppingly amazed at how beautiful Marchetta’s “Lumatere Chronicles” is and how in the end, it was all about the concept of family, sacrifice, and love. –Sandie
3. “The Return of the King” by J.R.R. Tolkien: I loved each book in this series, but the final book in the trilogy was brilliant. Tolkien was able to take the story of Frodo and his fellowship and give us an ending that was sublime. At the end, I was so overcome I simply didn’t want my time in Middle Earth to end. –Diana
4. “Monsters of Men” by Patrick Ness: I read this entire series because of Tammy’s prompting, and I literally read all three books in one week, not pausing for much of anything but parenting duties and basic human essentials like food and sleep. I expected the final book in the Chaos Walking trilogy to be devastating — Ness isn’t afraid of putting his protagonists through the ringer, or even killing off beloved characters — but he managed to temper the heartbreak (and how much crying I did!) with hope, and the eternal truth (FINALLY!) of Todd and Viola’s love. –Sandie
5. “Clockwork Princess” by Cassandra Clare: I really liked the Infernal Devices series more than the Mortal Instruments series. Sandie and I are huge fans of both Will and Jem and we really appreciated the way Clare ended this series. It was more than we’d hoped for. I know that many will disagree with us, but we honestly loved the end of the story of Will, Jem, and Tessa. –Diana
6. “Forever” by Maggie Stiefvater: Sam and Grace go through so much to get to “Forever.” I don’t want to spoil anything, but there are plenty of times you have no idea as a reader if they’re even going to be human at the same time. Stiefvater is a master storyteller, but still, there were so many pieces and people in play, I wasn’t sure how it would all end up for our favorite Wolves of Mercy Falls. She made it happen, and gave us — and Sam and Grace — a lovely ending (or should we say, beginning).
7. “The Dark and Hollow Places” by Carrie Ryan: There are things I didn’t LOVE about this final installment (I got tired of all the love triangles) in her “Forest of Hands and Teeth” series, but overall, I give Ryan props for sustaining the same level of immediacy in her nailbiter of a zombie trilogy. That’s tough to keep up, and she managed to make me crazed to find out what would happen. –Sandie
Worst Series Enders:
8. “Breaking Dawn” by Stephenie Meyer: Sandie and I had fun reading this series together (I read it after her, but we discussed it at length), and we honestly were less than thrilled (to put it mildly) with the ending to this series, especially the big battle scene (which at least occurred in the final film). It’s one of the few times Sandie has come close to not finishing a book (I think she might have thrown in across the room, in fact). AND even more startlingly, this might be one of the only cases in which the movie was considerably better than the book. –Diana
9. “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins: This is one of just a handful of book that Sandie and I do not agree on, because she did like all the sociopolitical commentary of the final installment. I loved “The Hunger Games” and “Catching Fire,” but I just couldn’t get over some of the heartbreak in “Mockingjay.” While I totally understood the need for political statement, I felt that Collins went way overboard. I didn’t like the fact that Peeta wasn’t really himself anymore, and I disliked the way things ended for Katniss (except for maybe the epilogue). I had a hard time getting through it and hope the movie will be better. –Diana
10. “Requiem” by Lauren Oliver: I think Lauren Oliver is a talented writer who made me fall head first into Lena and Alex’s story in “Delirium.” The “love is a sickness” idea was original and compelling, and even in “Pandemonium,” I understood the need for Lena to move forward and discover how she could be strong and useful for the cause that meant so much to Alex. But the final book, with the exception of Hana’s storyline, was a big letdown for me. –Sandie