I’m in the process of planning a book and plotting how I want it to end. I’m considering the ending first because it ties everything together. I’m however worried that the idea I have might alienate some readers.
My world has an empire. I don’t plan for them to be all evil. They want to form a strong, unified state. One of the ways they do this, and the way that the protagonist is initially ticked at, is culture suppression. The empire paints their ruler as some sort of god. Various things that may or may not seem ridiculous come up: “he” topples a mountain, miraculously survives to be over 100, etc. This is all very played up by the empire, in an attempt to provide proof of a god. Reason to give up the old gods and follow something with evidence.
Here’s the thing though: when it’s all over, and my protagonist ascends to the palace on an Olympus-like setting, it’s empty. The old emperor died an indefinite number of years ago. To give some explanation, the prince is the only one who ever communes with the god emperor. He’s really been in charge. I plan on cluing this throughout the series.
I’m worried that this type of thing might disappoint my readers. My intention with the twist is to give it a bit of a deeper meaning, add a final conflict for my protagonist to resolve, and reward anyone who wants to reread the series from a different perspective. Yet I’ve read a lot of goodreads reviews on other books that say things like “overall the it was good a read, but the ending made me want to throw the book.” Obviously, execution is everything, but do you think this kind of twist is a good idea? Is there glaring flaws I should make sure to address?
And on a side note, does anyone have an example of something similar to this in fiction?