So here's a selection of series finales that have stood out to me, broken down into four categories. This is mostly based on how these books have compared to the rest of the books in the series, though a couple on here were definitely particularly good or bad. And remember - me thinking that a book didn't measure up to the rest of the series doesn't mean I didn't like it on its own!
JUST NOT GREAT
These are the books that are not only my least favorite of the series, but just make my overall impression of the series that much worse. Because really, that's what we were building up to the whole time? The biggest offender here is absolutely THE ENCHANTRESS (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel), although to be fair, that series started deteriorating the book before that. It started out great, but it just went in a totally different direction that I didn't want anything to do with. Then, there's THE SWEET FAR THING (Gemma Doyle). It wasn't bad by any means, but after how invested I was in the first two, it was definitely a letdown. And finally, we have DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS (Daughter of Smoke & Bone), which I really think was just a matter of my personal taste. There were parts of the first two books I liked and parts that I didn't, and this last installment really focused on those parts that I wasn't as much of a fan of. Not a bad thing overall, but a bad thing for me.
WORSE THAN THE REST
My feelings about these books vary widely, so let's end on a high note and go from worst to best. First, then, we have MOCKINGJAY (The Hunger Games), the book that intensely divided my friends in middle school. Some people thought it was brilliant, and some people (like me) thought that compared to the first two books it was confusing and underwhelming. The shift into this final book was so dramatic that I'm not surprised it was polarizing. I want to give this whole series a second chance, and maybe I'll appreciate it more. Then, there's CLOCKWORK PRINCESS (The Infernal Devices), which, from what I've seen, I have an unpopular opinion about. My series reread this past summer really solidified my belief that the first two are better! I really liked this finale, and I thought it did a good job of wrapping things up, but there was so much going on that wasn't always relevant to the main plot that I don't think it was as good as a whole. Finally, a book that I absolutely love: A MILLION WORLDS WITH YOU (Firebird trilogy). So why is it on this list? Because the first two were even better. They all easily got five stars from me, but the first two just had that little extra something special that made them instant favorites while this one was left slightly behind.
BETTER THAN SOME INSTALLMENTS
Sometimes, it's other books in the series that let me down! Or, even if they're not disappointments, they're just not quite as good as the finales. In my discussion post, I said that one possible reason that I don't like series finales as much is that they can be kind of different from the rest of the books. These two examples are definitely different, but they take that difference and make it amazing. First, there's IN THE AFTERLIGHT (The Darkest Minds). In this series, a shift between books wasn't that unexpected, because it happened between the first and the second books too. And even though these shifts happen, I never got the feeling that they were out of place or that this wasn't the series I thought I'd started reading. (That's not me saying that series can't change - they can and often should! But if they're unrecognizable, something might be wrong.) There's also HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS (Harry Potter), which breaks the mold that the other six books have followed in pretty much the biggest way possible. But at the same time, it doesn't change what you loved about the books. (Unless, of course, what you loved about the books was Harry attending class at Hogwarts, in which case, I'm deeply sorry. You must have been incredibly disappointed.) Harry's still on the same mission, he's still putting clues together with help from his friends, and he still runs into the same kinds of problems.
BEST OF THE BUNCH
As I said in my previous post, I can only find one series where I definitely like the last book the best. That last book is WHERE SHE WENT (If I Stay), and funnily enough, it's incredibly different from the first book. It just goes to show there are exceptions to everything. The thing is, though, I love this book so much because I read it twice in high school and I really related to it. I'm a little scared that if I go back and read it now, I won't enjoy it as much because so much has changed in my own life. And then maybe there won't be any big exceptions at all. (Bonus: I have to give a shoutout to VIVIAN APPLE NEEDS A MIRACLE (Vivian Apple), which I rated significantly higher than the first book. It's a bonus and not a main example because I really need to reread the first book and I know I'll like it more this time around.)
What are some series finales that have stood out to you? Do we agree or disagree on any on my list? What do you think about series finales in general? Tell me in the comments!