Book Pet Peeves: Unresolved Stories

Book Pet Peeves is a feature where I do a mini-rant about bookish things that annoy me. Feel free to join in!


Like many readers I’m a bit of a series fanatic. I don’t even think that’s a full view of all the series I’ve tried.

One of my biggest annoyances with some series books is the lack of proper endings. For me, a good series should have two story arcs. There’s the overarching link for all the books. Then each book has its own story arc.

When I finish a book, I shouldn’t feel cheated and confused.  I should have resolution with one part of the story but I should faced with a new conflict (or the possibility of one) as well as the overarching problem of the series.

Good Example

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Katniss and Peeta win the Hunger Games. (Closes the story)

Just because they won, it doesn’t mean the Hunger Games are gone. (Possibility of new conflict)

The government is still bad. (Overarching storyline)

Bad Example

The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

It’s been almost 2 years since I read this so bear with me. Feel free to correct me in the comments and I’ll fix the post.

Ananna and Naji traipse all over the place to break the curse. I think they find who they need to find only to discover that they must now go on a quest to do more things to break the curse. (No resolution and gives more conflict.)

I remember finishing the book and being terribly confused. The book didn’t have a proper ending. I literally felt like I was missing pages. The book would have been much better for me if the two big stories in the series were just made into one big book.


How do you feel about unresolved stories?

Do you have any good or bad examples? I’d love to hear them!

19 thoughts on “Book Pet Peeves: Unresolved Stories

  1. This may be the #1 reason why I’m more hesitant to start a series than a standalone book. I’m afraid that the first book won’t be a complete story and I’ll be forced to continue reading to know how things turn out.

    The Hunger Games is a good example of doing it right. The Harry Potter books also do a good job of offering self-contained books with an overarching storyline.

    There was a thriller I read a few years back where the book ended abruptly with the main character seemingly falling to certain death. And the author had the nerve to add a note teasing the readers, something like “Want to know what happens? Read the next book in this series.” Needless to say, I didn’t read any more books in the series or anything else by the author.

    • I’m with you. I don’t want to start something if I’m ‘forced’ to read to see how things end. Harry Potter is another very good example of doing it right.

      Eeek. That’s awful. I wouldn’t read anymore of their books either.

  2. Ugh, yes, unresolved stories are the worst. I’ve only had it happen once where I literally thought I was missing pages, which is the worst of the worst… but it doesn’t even have to be that extreme to make me mad. I hate this trend that authors seem to think that a) everything needs a cliffhanger; and b) cliffhanger is just short-hand for “stop writing whenever you feel like it.” Just write a good book, and I’ll want to read the next one! Honest! If you feel like you have to manipulate me into it, what does that say about you and your writing?

    • I hate those weirdly finished cliffhangers as well. Any type of resolution would be good in those books. Yes, yes, yes. I wholeheartedly agree. I will absolutely track down the next book if I’m invested in your writing, don’t twist my arm to read that next book though.

  3. I completely agree. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves – a good example, Landry Park. It’s resolved at the end. You don’t need to keep reading if you don’t want to. Bad example – the Wheel of Time series, which I eventually had to put down because the conflict was never resolved! Just a lot of traipsing around.


  4. Totally agree on Mockingjay! For The Assassin’s Curse, I heard that that duology was originally intended to be just one standalone book. I agree that the first book ended rather abruptly and without much closure. If they had not split the book into two then we would have avoided this problem. Luckily I read the books back to back so it wasn’t too bad for me, but if I had had to wait between reading the two books I would have been annoyed.

  5. Oh, I like rants. hehe. I totally agree with you. I book has to have a conclusion otherwise it feels like they just stopped the story. And cliffhangers? Ugh! No way am I going to care long enough to wait for the next book to come out after you left me hanging for a year. I guess the author thought they’d get me to read the next book that way, but if a book is done well I’ll want to read the sequel more if it has an ending.

    • Exactly! I’d much rather read a well written book that makes me want to read more from the author/series than being forced to read on to find out what happens.

  6. This is kinda how I felt when I finished Dorothy Must Die. The book was very entertaining because it was set in Oz (how can it not be!) but there was no resolution expect “oh well there’s going to be 2 more books so it will probably be solved there”.

  7. I feel like I discuss this a lot in my reviews and I completely agree with you! I need the conclusion of a book in the series to keep me intrigued enough to keep reading: I need some ties to be left unresolved. But I also need to feel like there was a problem and a solution, or a conflict and a resolution, in order to feel satisfied.

  8. Oh my goodness, yes! When I was younger, I used to read a series called the Warriors series, about some cats living in a forest. The first book was a fantastic stand-alone, and then as the series continued, a book would end just to pick up the next minute in the next book. So it felt like I was reading a book that was very very long and had just been split up into 6 or 7 books.

    Another example of this is the Eragon series. I loved the first two books–good little neatly-packed storylines and arcs–and then the author SPLIT THE THIRD BOOK INTO TWO NEW BOOKS. So basically at the end the protagonist finds something… and then it’s just like WAIT, two more years until the next book comes out. Thank you!

    I totally agree with you! Great writing & ideas, Alison!

    • Ugh, that sounds horribly annoying.

      Oh, man. I would hate for that to happen. Why would you split up a book!? It just seems to be money grabbing more than anything.

  9. Pingback: Bookish Pet Peeves | Zezee with Books

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