Yesterday I started reading Magic Study by Maria Snyder, the sequel to Poison Study. I loved Poison Study and though I didn’t jump right into the next book (I don’t have time to get sucked into reading another book I can’t put down!) I was very eager to read it, to find out what happens next.

But as I read the first few pages, a question flashed into my mind–was I going to get a HEA? This book is from the LUNA line at Harlequin and it’s not a romance line, though their books have romantic elements. So a HEA isn’t guaranteed with this line. I found my energy for the book waning as I wondered if the ending would conclude in a satisfactory manner for me (some sort of at least a promise of a HEA). And I started thinking about reading the end to find out. But I also know if I read the end and I’m not happy with it, that I won’t read the book, and I might miss out on a very good story.

I don’t normally read the ends of books first. For one thing, I read a lot of romances and I can usually expect that they’ll meet my expectaions–a HEA or some suggestion of one. But there are cases where I start a book, and it’s not clear who the hero is, or what’s going to happen or if I’m going to get my HEA and I find myself wanting to read the end, because I don’t want to put forth the emotions in a character only to have something tragic happen to them or find out they’re not the hero/heroine’s choice.

There is one “series” of books that I always read the end to, and that is Brenda Joyce’s Deadly books, featuring Francesca Cahill. Why? Because her books have had a few twists with the relationships as time has gone on and in the past two, I’ve found myself needing the reassurance that they’re going to end in the way *I* want them to (they do) before I invest in them (emotionally and timewise, not financially).

The most recent book I read the end of was Danse Macabre by Laurell K. Hamilton. But that was because I’d gotten 50 pages in, I was thoroughly disgusted and had pretty much determined that the book was going back to the bookstore. Reading the last chapter made that decision even easier.

The one book, of all my reading “career” so to speak, that I WISH I’d read the end to before wasting my time on it is Hannibal by Thomas Harris. The ending of the book made it a wallbanger for me and I’m still bitter about how it concluded. If I’d only read the last chapter first, I could have saved myself some time and irritation. But I didn’t and so Hannibal stands as probably my most disappointing read ever.

And on a small side note, if the TV show LOST were a book, I’d have read the end long, long ago and given up on what’s in between (instead, I pretty much gave up on the inbetween and count on my husband to fill me in on anything really interesting).

So, do you read the end first? Have you ever or would you, and under what circumstances? And is there a book or books that you wish you’d read the end to first, so you wouldn’t have “wasted” your time?

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