My definition of an open ending is when all the pieces of the puzzle aren’t exactly put in place, the outcomes of relationships aren’t revealed (as in those love triangle situations), and a cliffhanger that won’t be resolved (sometimes there are those endings that stop right before new action starts and you’re just left hanging, specifically when there is no sequel).
I could give many examples of books which are guilty of leaving an opening ending. Some do work well considering the context of the story and some do not work at all. However, I’m sure everyone has at least one book in mind when it comes to unsatisfying open endings.
It’s annoying when standalones do it, but it’s worse when trilogies and so on do it. I do not want to read several books in a series just to be left hanging. It feels like a waste of time and money just to be told ‘you can imagine your own ending.’ If I wanted to do that I wouldn’t read any books. I’d just imagine my own little stories with their own little complete endings.
I’d rather all the heroes and heroines be brutally eaten by a monster than be stuck wondering if he/she/they lived, and if they accomplished their mission, or if they had a happily ever after or became forgotten, drunken nobodies on a street corner. I’m not asking for an unending epilogue detailing every aspect of their lives after their great adventure or their children, just enough for a sense of closure for the main story and any important relationships.
How do you feel about open endings? Hate, love, meh about them?