I was up until 1 a.m. last night reading Rebel Angels, the second book in Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy. The third book is in transit to my library, so I'll be standing there drumming my fingers on the check-out desk until it arrives.
HOWEVER. I glanced at the Amazon reviews for the third book, and the word "bittersweet" has popped up more than once. This gives me great trepidation. I have a very bad feeling that Gemma and Kartik will not live happily ever after. Look, I don't care if he's Indian and she's white and it's forbidden in the 1890s. I DON'T CARE. They can move to Canada and live in the woods, where it's too cold for anyone to give a fig about who you're married to.
I really require a happy ending unless I know going in that it's going to be sad. Perhaps this is why I'm a romance writer who has never even imagined anything less than a happy ending for my characters.
I read Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro a couple of weeks ago and it was clear from the start that Kathy, Tommy and Ruth would most certainly not be skipping off into the sunset arm in arm. So I had different expectations. Ishiguro is a compelling storyteller, and even though it ended up exactly as sadly as I thought it would, the book was still a page turner. The last line was perfect.
But when I enter into a romance -- on TV, or in a movie or book -- with a reasonable expectation of HEA (happily ever after), and I get very invested in the couple, I am most put out when things don't work out. Realism, schmealism. I want satisfaction!
It's all about expectations. That's probably why not only do I write in the romance genre, but I read a lot of it, too. I love tons of angst and pain along the way, but as long as I'm guaranteed that HEA, I can relax and enjoy the ride.
Now I must dial down my expectations for the conclusion of Bray's trilogy, because I think Gemma and I are going to learn that life -- and fiction -- doesn't always turn out how you want it to.