On Endings

Let’s talk, dear Readers. Let’s talk about endings. (If you haven’t read Reckoning yet, I’ll do my best not to spoil you.)

I’m getting a lot of hatemail about the ending to Reckoning. Plenty of people are “disappointed” with “who Dru ended up with.” Really? Seriously? You honestly think that I would write a series where the end-all and be-all of a teenage girl’s life would be who she was dating? I don’t think who a girl is “with” defines her at any point in her life, teenage or otherwise. I have always questioned whether Dru needs to “end up” with anyone. Especially after she had to deal with the zombie that was her father, being hunted across a continent, and several other situations that were far more important, not to mention, oh, life-threatening. Who a girl decides she likes is not the hugely important thing our society would have one believe it is.

And let’s look at her options! There’s Graves, who was living in a mall, has abuse issues, and ends up Broken. Dru is wonderful at fixing things, but a relationship with someone you need to “fix” does not normally end well. There’s Christophe, who knew her mother, and is still a teenager inside (psychological standards for djamphir, he often notes, notwithstanding) and who is also controlling and does not give her the information she needs to make her choices. Is there anyone else? Well, there could be–but there’s the little matter of her running for her life. This isn’t conducive to dating. The wonder is that she had time to think about her options at all.

Other things are mentioned in the hatemail. You think I have left unanswered questions, dear Readers?

I beg to differ.

Why does Christophe smell the way he does? It could be because he’s a glutter. It could be because Dru’s “touch” is telling her (like it warned her of danger before she bloomed) that he is safe. It could be that her “touch” is telling her he’s not safe. It could be he’s a good genetic match for her. It could be that he wears a pie-filling cologne. You are encouraged to believe any combination of the above, or to bring your own answer to the question.

I like giving you options, dear Reader. Questions with only one answer are sometimes boring, and don’t invite you to spend time and thought on their ramifications.

Other questions arise–whose was the blond hair in her room in Betrayals? Was it Dibs? Anna? Some other wulfen or a traitor djamphir who died in the fire afterward? What really happened to Graves when Sergej had him? What is the bonding that happens after three gulps of blood shared between djamphir? Again, the answer to the last is complex. It could result in an inability of either djamphir to attack the other. It could bind a djamphir to a svetocha and turn him obsessive. It could show a svetocha everything about a certain djamphir, and hence expose secrets most of them don’t want out in the open. Any combination of the above is, as I said above, likely and I highly encourage you to decide for yourself.

I have left you breadcrumbs. It is, in the end, all a writer can do.

I do not rule out returning to Dru’s world. I have certain foggy notions of a Maharaj girl’s story. But Dru has grown up. When she lets someone go, and feels the peculiar adult wrenching of realizing that she cannot fix everything, that she cannot make everything better, that indeed, despite what she thinks, she cannot and is not required to fix everything…that is when adulthood happens, for her. When one is young, one has an absolute lack of proportion. One thinks anything that goes wrong in the world is one’s own fault, because of course the world revolves around you. Growing up shows you that the world doesn’t revolve around you (hopefully) but the added lesson that you don’t have to fix everything is one I think a lot of girls miss out on. Our society, after all, says we are responsible for fixing everything for other people in a hundred-plus overt and covert ways. Or maybe I’m just projecting, because it is a lesson I am struggling to learn even now, thirty*mumble* years into my current tenure on this marvelous, painful, beautiful life.

I understand you may be frustrated, dear Reader. My stories do not often have neat, happy, Disney-esque endings. The fact that you are so incredibly involved, and so unwilling to let go of Dru and her world, humbles and comforts me. I take the demands to write one more Dru book as a sign that I succeeded in a writer’s job of making the reader care. I am sorry for your frustration, and Dru’s frustration too. And I believe with everything in me that I gave Dru the right ending.

I would not have written otherwise.

I owe you, dear Reader, no less than my absolute very best with each story. I owe you the last drop of heart’s blood if I am going to write these stories. I can give no less, and I furthermore owe you what I believe with every fibre of my being is the right ending. Not the happy ending. Not the ending I want, or someone else might want, or the characters might want. The right ending. Even if it hurts.

I ached for everyone involved at the end of Reckoning, for different reasons. I was tempted to end it differently, but that would have been punking out and betraying you, dear Reader. Rage at me all you like, but I will never, ever betray you in that manner. I just can’t do it, and furthermore, I won’t do it. There is my line in the sand.

That is all. Over and out.

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