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Series (4+ novels or 500k+) with a satisfying conclusion?

Discussion in 'Books and Anime Discussion' started by Ched, Jul 13, 2021.

  1. Mordecai

    Mordecai Drunken Scotsman –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

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    I have to agree with Taure about Trudi Canavan - her books are pretty mediocre, but she definitely has the knack of tying up her plots in pretty satisfying ways. I think this applies to all her book series - the Kyralia series has 7 books (2 distinct trilogies and a stand alone prequel), and I would say the story threads that run through connecting all 7 books are solid and are also finished in a way that leaves you satisfied with how it all turned out.

    A bit of a different example might be Jean M Auel's Earths Children saga. A sextology, no idea of word count but it totals more than 4000 pages across the 6 books. Volumes could be written about various aspects of how poor the writing is, certainly the same story could have been told in 60-70% of the words, likely less. However, it does have a solidly satisfying ending (if a bit weird) - and one of the reasons I think it is satisfying is due to the amount of time covered across the books, and how the main character changes through that time - the first book has the main character start as a child, and by the last one she's a mature adult taking on a position of leadership and responsibility.
     
  2. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    Awesome <3
     
  3. Zerg_Lurker

    Zerg_Lurker Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    Piggybacking off the Sandman rec, I'm gonna throw out the spin off Lucifer written by Mike Carey. 75 issues in 10 volumes so roughly similar length but a much more focused story and a really satisfying bunch of payoffs in the conclusion.

    I remember reading the ending and just sitting there contemplating for a fair bit.
     
  4. James

    James Auror

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    I liked the conclusion of Simon R. Green's The Nightside - https://www.goodreads.com/series/40946-nightside

    It's sort of a Fantasy Sci-Fi with Crackish undertones, filled with weird characters with absolutely random powers. Merlin is a bad guy who didn't took over, but only because he's missing his heart and a huge chunk of his power. Angels are there, but are actually a huge self-important dicks, etc.

    For 12 books, MC is a Dresden-ish "powerful, but upcoming" known person who often clashes with "The Authority" in weirdest ways, and comes into his power as a son of the Lillith, the first demon.

    It ends with him killing (I think) and becoming the new "The Authority", to keep his personal freedom, as well as status quo of the night side as a free, dangerouts and wild place. I thought it pretty satisfying.
     
  5. TheWiseTomato

    TheWiseTomato Prestigious Tomato ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    @Ched i would say that all of Pierce’s series have satisfying plot arcs, but they’re more individual problems that flow from one to another. Her Tortall series is centred on a single kingdom and its ruling dynasty and covers maybe thirty years. There are connections between the issues, but they’re not super explicit.
     
  6. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box ~ Prestige ~

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    Joe Abercrombie's First Law trilogy ended pretty well, from what I recall - not necessarily happily, but satisfyingly. 600k words, give or take, with several other books set in the same setting.
     
  7. Hansar

    Hansar Second Year

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    I'm not sure satisfying is the word I'd use. Everything certainly got wrapped up by the end, but I came away from it feeling like everything that happened was pointless.

    To me, it felt like all the payoff that was there at the end of the trilogy came at the expense of the very underwhelming endings of the first two books. It was more like one really long story chopped into thirds rather than a story written in three parts.
     
  8. Drachna

    Drachna Groundskeeper

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    If I remember correctly, the First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie had a great ending. There are six POV characters, and none of them got what they wanted. Life went on, and continued to be pretty terrible for all of them, but despite that, the ending felt very natural, and was a perfect end to a wonderful series of books.
     
  9. Thaumologist

    Thaumologist Third Year ~ Prestige ~

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    The Night's Dawn trilogy, by Peter F Hamilton.

    The reason I've avoided recommending it to people in the past is the obscene amount of viewpoint characters. You have the plucky young starship captain, the space-communist bio-ship captain, the cultist, the newly-settled planet farmer and his daughter, the debutante from Neo-Olde-England, Al Capone...

    I've only read the entire thing twice, because it's huge, but I remember being satisfied with the ending. Threads are pulled together (although this is happening throughout book 2 as well, as the storylines merge).
     
  10. Mutton

    Mutton Order Member

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    You can read the 3 books after The First Law to kind of wrap it all up too, but I liked it's ending, no matter how bleak.

    I'm going to have to go read through my library for truly finished works, as "authors who totally screw up the ending" is more prominent in my mind (Tad Williams, Alistair Reynolds, Dan Simmons although if you treat the first two Hyperion books as a stand alone duology it's still good).
     
  11. Drachna

    Drachna Groundskeeper

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    I think that Alistair Reynolds makes it his mission to ruin every book he writes after he reaches the halfway mark.
     
  12. Tsar

    Tsar Sixth Year DLP Supporter

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    I'm a big fan of the Witcher series: two short story collections followed by a five book series. I found the end to be truly satisfying.

    The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie, though I don't know if it hit 500k in total
     
  13. DrSarcasm

    DrSarcasm Death Eater

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    I enjoyed Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series, which felt like it had a satisfactory ending.

    If you are willing to look outside of literature, Avatar the Last Airbender is not only one of the greatest pieces of television in history, it has one of the most satisfying conclusions I've ever seen. To the point where I don't feel the need to ever read fanfiction of the series, since I'm happy with how it turned out. As long as you don't count the Legend of Korra as a continuation of the series, at least. It should still be on Netflix.

    Also, the Fullmetal Alchemist manga series or the FMA Brotherhood anime are in the running for most satisfying conclusions as well.
     
  14. Mutton

    Mutton Order Member

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    I really liked Terminal World and several of the stand alone Revelation Space novels along with his short stories. The real midmark murderer is Scalzi, who has all sorts of wonderful plotbunnies he simply has never been able to bring to fruition. But yes, Revelation's Space is up there with Otherland in terms of terrible "got 15 pages left have to wrap it up" endings.
     
  15. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    @DrSarcasm - I didn't find Codex Alera's ending to be satisfying at all. I found it to be cliche, boring, and 100% what everyone expected compared to the rest of the series.

    Good series sure but yeah. Very disappointed (personally) in the ending. Though I suppose Butcher did foreshadow everything and tie most of it up.
     
  16. Erandil

    Erandil Minister of Magic

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    I certainly have to agree with the sentiment that longer series rarely have exceptional endings and indeed often end up to be a quite disappointing which I personally really find disheartening since at least for me a bad ending can ruin a whole series. I would have to agree that the Black Company books had a solid and satisfactory ending/last book but it takes quite a bit of suffering to get to it.

    The Falco series has also been mentioned and from what I remember the ending was also not bad but I have to admit that it also wasn't so amazing that I can still recall it all that well at the moment and the same is true for the First Law trilogy. And I have to agree with Ched that Codex Alera ending wasn't exactly what I would call great either.


    That said the first thing that comes to my mind when talking about good endings of longer series is Kushiel´s Dart/Phedres trilogy which admittedly may only be on the border of what can be called a long series as it is only a trilogy but it should fulfil the word requirement so I will still mention it here. Its ending is in my opinion a perfect example of how to have a "happy end" that solves most of the stories plotlines without denying that problems still exist and hint that life will continue to change and evolve even after the story ends. Plus it is honestly one of the best fantasy series I have ever read, especially in regards of the heroine. Sadly the next trilogy in the series leans a bit to heavily into the "magic" side of things for my tastes but even so is certainly worth a read if you are interested in how to give your main characters distinct voices.

    Speaking of more obscure stuff, The Long War series by Christian Cameron also has a pretty solid end that manages to both be a satisfactory solution of the overall story while at the same time again suggesting that this is not the end of the characters life, if that makes sense. And if that is not obscure enough there is also the Terrach Chronicles series which also has ending similar to what I described above.
     
  17. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    Thanks @Erandil - I hadn't heard of all of those.
     
  18. Erandil

    Erandil Minister of Magic

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    None of them are that well known other than perhaps Phedre trilogy which is sorta infamous for its sexual themes/content as it features some pretty explicit scenes, often with a BDSM flavour. Though in my experience if you ask people that have actually read it why they like it is less the sex and more its political intrigue, world-building, action and characters that make it into one of the hidden gems of fantasy in my opinion. And again it manages to beautifully tie together its themes, plots and character developments without appearing to be forced while also leaving space for the readers imagination to continue the story which is in my opinion the ideal for an ending.

    The other two are really niche products, the Long War series by Cameron is set in ancient Greece and really benefits from the fact that the author is an actual historian and reenactor who does a superb job of bringing the world alive and writes the best battle scenes I have ever seen. Though I admit that while I think this story has a solid ending it really benefits from its historical context that I think gives it ending a note that you will be hard pressed to copy. If you like the series you should also check out his other series (he also publishes fantasy themed series under the name Miles Cameron), though his Traitor Son cycle is sadly the perfect example of a how a bad ending can really weaken a series as well as the general decline of longer series that is so common.

    The Terrach Chronicles is a by no means a a hidden masterpiece but it is a solid story with a in my opinion well executed ending and perhaps the best example of "work-manlike" that I can think of at the moment which is why I included it.
     
  19. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    Thanks - can you somewhat spoiler those endings in tags? I'm not really looking for things to read here so much as I want things - good or shit, fantasy or not - that managed to have satisfying endings. I'm going to then go seek out major spoilers to see how they did those endings without it being a letdown for readers.

    Thanks
     
  20. Othalan

    Othalan Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    James Islington's Licanius Trilogy is pretty damn good. I admit I never got around to reading book 3 ("The Light of All That Falls"), but the first two ("The Shadow of What Was Lost" and "An Echo of Things to Come") were both very enjoyable. It's an epic High Fantasy story that actively subverts the traditional High Fantasy tropes to the point that every time you think you've got a handle on what's really going on, there's another layer to it that throws your whole perception off. Some people don't really like that, and at least one reviewer called it "vastly overelaborate" - though they conceded that it was also "relentlessly gripping"- so YMMV, but I certainly thought it was a good read.

    Personally I enjoyed the overelaborate-ness of the storytelling. I can usually figure out the broad strokes of how a given fantasy/sci-fi storyline will pan out by the time I'm half-way through the first book based on long familiarity with the genre's formulae and tropes that authors rely on. But the Licanius Trilogy was completely unpredictable, without straying into pure randomness for randomness' sake, which made it a real treat to read, imo.

    Joe Abercrombie also has another loosely-related "Trilogy" of novels that take place in his First Law fantasy world and use a lot of the characters from the main trilogy. "Best Served Cold", "The Heroes", and "Red Country" are fun quasi-continuations of the First Law trilogy that can be read as a series, or individually as standalone stories set in that universe following characters seen or mentioned in the first trilogy. "Red Country" in particular is a fun one as a (mostly) Low Fantasy take on the American Westward Expansion with a lot of Wild West/Gold Rush tropes mixed with Abercrombie's usual gritty swords-and-occasional-sorcery setting.
     
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