On Finishing a Trilogy

Last year I managed to start something like three trilogies where the third book had yet to be released. Let me tell you a little bit about how this played out.

Picking up Book #1: Hmm, this looks interesting. I’ll give it a try.

Finishing Book #1: OMG must read more. There’s a sequel?!? YES. PLEASE.

Reading Book #2: Leave me alone don’t talk to me can’t you see I’m reading?!?

Finishing Book #2: NO! Yes, but NO! I must find out what happens next!!!!!

Searching for Book #3: …WHAT DO YOU MEAN THERE’S NO BOOK #3??????

Basically, I’ve spent a lot of time this past year refreshing my Goodreads “to-read” list hoping that the release dates of these desperately awaited books has magically been pushed up. But now, a year later, the final books in these series are finally starting to come out. And as excited as I am about experiencing the conclusions to these wonderful stories, I can’t help also approaching these finales with some degree of trepidation.

Because finishing a series can be an emotional thing, especially after waiting months and months for the final book. As a reader, you’ve spent hours with these characters, investing your time, energy, and emotions into their stories and experiences. You’ve explored their worlds alongside them, faced trials by their sides, and celebrated victories with them. And now, eager as you are to discover how their stories end….you also have to find a way to say goodbye.

This past week I burned through the first on my list of trilogy conclusions. And let me just say, I loved it. The important plot arcs found their natural endings, and the characters all got the endings they deserved. The conclusion was thrilling, unexpected, and poignant.

And yet. Even though the writer and logical reader in me knew it was the perfect ending to a fantastic series, and how could I ask for more? ….I couldn’t help but feel a little bit sad. Even though the characters ended up where they ought to be, they didn’t get there without trials, and now, the story was over. As the pages counted down to that final sentence, I braced myself for the inevitable farewell.

It happens. I’ve said goodbye to more characters, worlds, and stories than I can count. And when I’m being honest, I’d tell you that the inevitable goodbye is part of the continuing joy of reading. Every character’s story has an ending…and every ending paves the way for a new story. I will read more books and fall in love with more characters; I will start new series and finish old series and begin all over again.

In fact, I think there’s another series conclusion coming out next month.

And maybe someday, I’ll get the chance to re-read this trilogy, and experience the joys, the sadnesses, and the inevitable goodbye once again.

Do you look forward to (or dread) finishing a trilogy? How do you manage to say goodbye? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

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4 thoughts on “On Finishing a Trilogy

  1. Shauna Granger

    Omg. I can’t believed you used that gif of Ten. I can’t even. *goes to collect herself*

    One trilogy I can’t wait for book three of is the Cahill Sisters. I am waiting with grabby hands for that one. Just finished Ruin and Rising, loved the ending and love knowing spin offs are coming for that one. Love Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but the ending felt a bit anticlimactic, probably because something I was hoping for didn’t happen (no spoilers!). STILL waiting on book two of The Fifth Wave. I feel like the publication dates for that one are way spread out.

    Things like that make it hard to finish a series. Like, I still haven’t read Insurgent. It’s on my shelf, I have it, but I have no drive to grab it and read it. I know some books are harder to write than others so they take more time, but if they take too much time… Well, the tbr list is full of other options and then you kinda forget.

    1. It’s so true. If the wait is too long…well, life goes on, right?

      I really loved Ruin and Rising, but I’ll admit I’m a little apprehensive about The Dregs…. I haven’t read any of the other series you mentioned (I know I have to read Laini Taylor, it’s just been on my TBR list for so long and I still haven’t gotten around to it). I’m really looking forward to the third installment of Sarah Rees Brennan’s Unspoken trilogy.

      So many books, so little time!

      1. Shauna Granger

        I know what you mean. Sometimes I think I should wait to start a series until it’s almost closed so I know I won’t forget details or when the next comes out. But that doesn’t support the author like they need, but when I find a series that is already closed, and I like it, I do a little happy dance and rush to buy the whole thing.

  2. Last year I listened to the audiobooks of Robin Hobb’s Liveship Trader’s and I just recently finished Michael J. Sullivan’s Riyria Revelations. Both were amazing and I was sad to leave the characters. But I think if the series wraps up well, I’m usually okay for it to be over. I wouldn’t want it to continue past it’s time like some of my favorite shows have done (*cough* House *cough* Dexter). Sorry about that, I just inhaled some powdered sugar from the donuts I’m scarfing down.
    But it has to be a great ending to leave me satisfied and ready to move on to something new.

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