Who here doesn’t like to be surprised by the twists and turns of a novel? I for one love shocking plot twists and reveals, thus I was surprised to see that I haven’t written a post on plot twists before – god knows that in the 5+ years of blogging I would have had the chance.
However, that all changes today, because I’ve brought you a few of my favorite examples of plot twists – but still kept the post completely spoiler free! The books mentioned in this post come from all kinds of genres – including fantasy and mystery – but they all managed to surprise me with their original, shocking endings.
Before we jump into the post, quick update – for a while I (Vera) will be working on the blog on my own, which means that I’ll be posting less than usual, i.e. once or twice a week instead of three times. I do have quite a few posts ready to be published, so they’ll keep coming, but I don’t want to use them up fast in case I’ll end up managing the blog alone for a longer time. I’m not happy posting less, but hope everyone understands. 💜
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, centering around old Hollywood starlet Evelyn Hugo, served me surprise after surprise, and kept me entertained and intrigued all through. It being a mix of woman’s fiction, mystery and romance it is the perfect October read for anyone who is uncomfortable reading scary, gritty novels, and would instead be interested in picking up something that delves deep into a person’s history, while also addressing important social issues.
Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
Some of you might remember that I was thoroughly disappointed by Obsidio for multiple reasons, but I do still have love for the series, and I’ll gladly admit that Kaufman and Kristoff pulled off some awesome twists in Gemina. I couldn’t for the life of me put down the novel towards the end, even though all the twists and turns of the plot made my head spin (in a good way, though!) And the twists weren’t simply shocking – they also played with my (our, I guess?) emotions in a manner that’s quite rare in books. On that note, the ending of Illuminae was positively twisty as well – I only highlighted Gemina, because its ending was far more complicated.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
I think some of you might be surprised to see Cinder mentioned on this list, because I haven’t really seen it being hailed as a shocking novel, but I couldn’t help myself, I had to add it. There’s a certain amount of suspense in most fantasy and sci-fi novels, but not all of them can pull off a surprise like Cinder did for me. The revelation close to the end of the novel had me gasping out loud, trying to think of all the clues I might have missed leading up to it. Granted, I read this years ago, and somehow I doubt it’d be able to surprise me quite like that were I to read it for the first time today, but I think it’s important to compliment older favorites, as well.
Lady Julia Gray Series by Deanna Raybourn
I’ve read lots of mystery novels, yet I’ve found few authors who are as good at writing suspense and mystery as Deanna Raybourn is. She’s one of the most skillful writers I’ve ever had the chance to read from; her writing is so wholly engaging that it genuinely feels as though you’re right inside the novel. As for the content, I went into the series thinking it’d be light and entertaining, basically a cozy mystery, but it was way darker and more complex than that. There are five novels in the series, and each of them left me guessing till the very end… without much success. I simply love this series, and I’m definitely looking to reread it soon.
Here Lies Daniel Tate by Cristin Terrill
For those who haven’t heard of Here Lies Daniel Tate, it tells the story of Daniel (well, not Daniel, you’ll see), who cons his way into the family of the real Daniel Tate, a kid who disappeared years ago. This is one of the most captivating premises I’ve ever read, and boy, does the author do justice to it! Daniel is deliciously morally gray – he’s conning a whole damn family, telling them he is the kid/brother they lost, but at the same time he is absolutely lovely and he just WANTS TO BE ACCEPTED AND LOVED, OK. I adored him, and would love to read more of his adventures, to be honest. And about the ending – I’m obviously not going to go into detail, but it surely left me shocked, and I was impressed by how twisted it was.
In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
Cat Winters is the true reason I became more open to reading Historical Mystery – without her books I probably wouldn’t have read the aforementioned Deanna Raybourn, for instance. In the Shadow of Blackbirds was my second novel by her, and to this day it remains one of my all time favorite novels. To begin with, Winters always creates vivid historical settings for her stories that make you feel as though you were right next to the characters, who are also just fucking incredible. On top of that, she is great at shocking her readers, and In the Shadow of Blackbirds is one of her most engaging mysteries to date; the ending caught me by total surprise.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
We Were Liars is a novel that typically makes it onto people’s ‘shocking twists’ lists, and I could not possibly leave it off of my own. At its core, We Were Liars is a contemporary YA that delves deep into the main character’s life and development, as well as into her friends’ and family’s lives. Sounds simple, right? Nah, it isn’t. Suspense and a sense of foreboding is added into the mix, and the novel culminates in a final twist that, I think, is practically impossible to guess. Yet, when you look back, you’ll realize that there are certain signs and clues hidden in the text that hint at the outcome, which is what makes We Were Liars one of the best mysteries I’ve ever read.
Have you read any of these novels? Were you surprised by their twists? What novels have you found really twisty and surprising?