This topic is near and dear to my heart. My novel, Life Discarded, has a somewhat unconventional happy ending. Yes, I said happy because no matter what anyone else says, I think the ending was the best possible outcome for Morgan. Apparently it doesn’t matter that I intended Morgan to have a happy ending, many reviewers hated the ending and gave the book a rating which corresponded with their ‘dislike’ of the conclusion. This lead me to the question: Is it okay to give a book a bad review just because you didn’t like the ending?
Initially I wanted to answer this question with a loud ‘F*ck no!’, but then I got to thinking about it and I mellowed (only a bit because I’m never truly mellow). I think it’s important to first of all look at why you didn’t like the ending. Was the book classified as suspense but the ending was a dud that didn’t get your heart pounding in anticipation? Maybe it was a mystery but whodunit was obvious from the very beginning? In those cases, no matter how much it pains me to say this, I’m going to have to agree that it’s perfectly acceptable to give the book a bad review. Not only was the ending a disappointment, but the reader had a right to expect more.
But what about personal feelings? What if you didn’t like the ending because it angered you? The ending wasn’t what you expected? Was violent? I could go on with the questions, but you get what I mean. On the one hand, I want to say – well, shout really – that basing your rating on only the ending is unfair. What about the rest of the book? Was it well-written? Well thought out? Contained character growth? Reluctantly, I have to admit that a review and rating are based on personal feelings. If the conclusion left the reader with a bad taste in her mouth, then *shiver* she has the right to give the book a bad review.
And thus I have to admit that it is indeed okay to give a book a bad review just because you didn’t like the conclusion. Man, that was painful to admit. Instead of wallowing on this, I’ve looked at some of the good reviews I received of Life Discarded and noticed many readers asked what happens in the next chapter of Morgan’s life. Hmmm… maybe if I write a sequel I can get rid of those pesky complaints about a bad ending? No promises but I do have an idea and have even commandeered one of my precious journals for notes on the possible sequel.