I like to read the last page of a book. Sometimes, I do this before I start a book, but most times, I read the last page before the end of the first chapter. Sometimes I read even more than the last page. You see, I like to know how things are going to turn out. I’m not good with spoilers. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll all agree. Some people tell me this habit ruins the story, but for me, that isn’t the case. I like to see how an author is going to get me there. It not how it ends, it’s the journey to the ending that I want.
So, I’m reading Lords of the North by Bernard Cornwell, the third book in the Saxon Tales series, and Uhtred, my favorite character, is in trouble. I get nervous. But I don’t read ahead. In fact, when I come to the end of the dreadful chapter, I put the book down and don’t read for the rest of the night. I could have read ahead, and in most cases, I would have but something stopped me. I wanted to let this one play out and see what would happen. Instead of quelling the anticipation, I let it build. This might be a first for me people. That’s why I’m telling you all this.
I think it’s because I like this particular character so much. Uhtred is a Saxon, raised by Danes, in 880s Britain. He’s brutal, but loyal, shrewd but bullheaded, brilliant in battle, and an excellent battle strategist, but somedays he doesn’t stop to think. And that gets him in trouble, and in this particular case, it lands him in a boatload of trouble. I like that about him though. He’s an unpredictable character but a great narrator. He knows he’s flawed but he’s got one hell of a story to tell and all you want to do is listen.
Maybe that’s it then. Maybe my habit has not been broken. It’s not that I can’t read a book without looking ahead, I have, but I like the knowing. The knowing is a good thing for me. But I’m playing this one fast and free. Any bets on how long I can hold out before reading the end?