I was just thinking about startling plot twists.
I don’t mean “and then she woke up” kinds of things. That is not a plot twist, it’s blatant cheating on the part of the author, which is why it’s universally hated by everyone who has ever been subjected to it. Probably by a good many people who have never seen that kind of ending, but can imagine how awful it is.
Nor do I mean “then the protagonist succeeds after all, against all odds” kinds of things. That’s not really a plot twist either, even if it’s super-clever and you didn’t see it coming. You knew all along the protagonist was going to succeed somehow. It’s interesting to see how, especially if the author does something clever that is not a deus ex cheat, but it’s not a twist.
I’m sure there are many many many wonderful, shocking plot twists out there, but I’ve thought of three. One is more, um, twisty, than the others, so from least shocking to most shocking:
1) Echo in Emerald. The plot twist is a small one, but it really made me sit up straight. I may have yelled out loud. You all might see it coming when you listen to or read this book, but I did not.
2) The Demon’s Surrender. This one kind of falls into the “protagonist succeeds in a surprising way” category, but it was so unanticipated that I’m going to count it anyway. The whole trilogy, which starts with The Demon’s Lexicon, has a lot of startling moments. Very intense trilogy. I truly must read something else by Sarah Rees Brennan this year.
3) And All the Stars. No one is EVER going to see THAT coming. I would put actual money on that bet. No one. Ever. Andrea K Höst has pulled off some startling plot twists here and there, but this one is unbeatable.
If you have a favorite shocking plot twist, drop it in the comments! If you’ve read And All the Stars, well, agree or disagree about this particular plot twist being absolutely at the top? Have you possibly got a contender that might beat it?