Let’s Talk Bookish: Prologues and Epilogues

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. Discussions pertain to topics related to reading or books. Share your opinions, and spread the love by visiting other “Let’s Talk Bookish” posts.

Prompts:  What’s the difference between having something as a prologue vs. a chapter 1? Is it too much to have both a prologue and epilogue? How does having one (or both) affect how readers perceive the story? Do you think epilogues have more value because they might tie up loose ends? Do prologues have more value because they can set the scene? Do you prefer having neither?

I’ve never thought about how I feel about prologues much. I’ve welcomed them when they help set up the story, a primer of sorts to acclimate readers to what is ahead. On the other hand, they can be bothersome, especially in sequels, when I’m trying to jump right into the book. Good prologues have me thinking about them throughout the book, trying to make connections and predictions.  Epilogues are a different story.

I used to dislike epilogues because I mostly liked endings as they were. If an author included an epilogue, I wondered why it couldn’t have just been included in the last chapter or why the last chapter couldn’t have just been tied up more nicely. I have since changed my mind, at least as it relates to romance novels. Reading romance novels has made me more accepting of epilogues.  I’d go as far as to say I look forward to them. Epilogues have spoiled me by providing glimpses into a couple’s future, sometimes a few months to a few years later. Now, I am often disappointed when there is no epilogue in a romance novel because I don’t get the confirmation of their HEA. As I’ve grown to embrace epilogues in romance novels, my desire for them has also bled into other genres. I sometimes wish some of my favorite fantasy novels included epilogues. I would have appreciated some loose ends being tied up.

Generally, my feelings about prologues and epilogues have often depended on the individual novel. Not all prologues nor all epilogues are equal. I do wish some never existed. 

What are your thoughts on prologues and epilogues?

10 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: Prologues and Epilogues

  1. Thats a great point in that not all prologues/epilogues are created equal! And I agree about sequels, the world is already set up, so why need a prologue in a sequel? All good points you made.

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    • Right? I just want to plough ahead but you’re preventing me from doing so because you’re telling me to read these pages first. I already waited a year (or even longer) for the sequel! LOL…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel like prologues can be a little overused in SFF, but I don’t mind a well-written prologue/epilogue. Leigh Bardugo’s are my favorite!

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  3. Prologues can be great when they give you a taste of what’s to come in the future, but sometimes they can be slightly confusing. It depends on the style of book. Epilogues are typically something I enjoy because they wrap up the story really well, unless they’re in a contemporary romance and they’re basically just like, “and then they got married and had a baby” haha!!

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    • It’s true! Contemporary romance epilogues are often “they got married and had a baby.” Haha… For most romances, I still like them and, unless I loved the ending, I miss the the epilogue if there’s no more pages greeting me at the end.

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  4. I dislike the epilogues that take place like a year later when everyone is suddenly married and with kids. Especially if it’s YA books. Just please stop making every YA character grow up and have kids.

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    • I agree. The one year later suddenly married with kids, especially if it is YA, reinforces the stereotype that happily ever after can only be acquired when those elements are present.

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