Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Jaw-Dropping Endings

This week's topic is a tough one for me, as I tend to prefer books with reasonably predictable endings. Make of that what you will.
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Here's my best shot at remembering the few really shocking endings I've come across. It's spoiler-free. I promise.

1. Every book but the last in a series, like the Wheel of Time (Robert Jordan). The authorial practice of ending volumes of an unfinished story with sudden cruel cliffhangers is annoying, but effective.

2. The Host (Stephenie Meyer). Actually, the real ending was perfect and fitting; it was the fake-out ending that left me muttering and crying and furious for a night. But I did drop my jaw when I discovered the real ending. And then sobbed in relief. It was a little pathetic of me, yes.

3. And Then There Were None (Agatha Christie). All the way through that book, I was utterly terrified and confused. And I never would have figured out the truth on my own.

4. Pretty much every other mystery novel I've ever read, too. My grandmother liked Phyllis Whitney's books, so I read a few of those, and was usually completely shocked upon learning who the psychopath really was. Chesterton's Father Brown mysteries always take me by surprise. Mary Higgins Clark novels take me by surprise. Heck, most of the Harry Potter books took me by surprise. Mysteries just do that to me. :)

What book endings have taken you by surprise?


  1. Even though I knew exactly what was going to happen to Anna at the end of Anna Karenina, the end of her story arc was still a jaw-dropper (several other parts of the book were also, such as VRONSKY GET OFF THAT HORSE RIGHT NOW OH MY GOD). Oh, and when [SPOILERS REDACTED] toward the end of The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead, I literally started yelling at the book, "What? What?! NO. WHAT!?!" I'm sure there are others, but those are the two that come to mind.

  2. I'll remember that when I read Anna, Laura. Thanks for commenting!


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