Books With The Biggest Plot Twists

4 min read

“The best stories are the ones with the unexpected plot twists that no one would have guessed, even the writer.”― Shannon L. Alder

There is nothing quite so thrilling as reading a book with a great plot twist. Twists pull everything in a story together and work to take advantage of predictable habits of thought. Whether consciously or unconsciously, writers work their magic and leave their readers shocked or surprised by brilliantly unexpected endings. Where some plot twists have failed, others have succeeded and this list hints at some of the best!

  1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (1847)

    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (1847)

    Charlotte Brontë’s psychologically driven novel is a classic but with a major twist. While many writers wait to reveal their twists at the very end of their stories, Brontë introduces hers much sooner. The twist is unexpected and even after it is revealed, the drama of the story continues to build. Jane Eyre is plain but fiercely intelligent. After a difficult childhood brought up by a cruel aunt and then sent to an orphanage, she secures a job as a governess at Thornfield Hall, home to the dashing Mr Rochester. He and Jane begin to grow closer but she is unaware that he is harbouring a great secret… Through this brilliant book, Charlotte Brontë revolutionised literary form, diving deep into her protagonist's thoughts with her first person narrative. It is form perhaps which makes the plot twist even more startling!

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  2. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (1939)

    And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (1939)

    Many of Agatha Christie’s tales end unexpectedly. And Then There Were None is one such tale. On a luxury island resort off the coast of Devon, ten strangers come together after each receiving a mysterious invitation. Though they do not know each other, they have one thing in common: all of them have committed a crime. Christie plays on her readers predictable thoughts, keeping readers guessing right until the very end. As in all Christie novels, the murderer is never who you expect! Her ability to create a plot twist is masterful and led to this book becoming one of the biggest-selling publications of all time. And Then There Were None is just one of five thrilling murder-mystery stories collected in this volume. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd; The Witness for the Prosecution; Philomel Cottageand Three Blind Mice can also be enjoyed for their unexpected endings!

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  3. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

    Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

    Great Expectations is filled with a rich cast of unforgettable characters. The story follows the story of Pip, an orphan who rises to wealth and is eventually humbled by his own arrogance. His story entwines with that of Estella, ward of the jilted and embittered Miss Havisham who encourages Estella to entrap and then break Pip’s heart. The novel’s plot twist is divided into three parts, known in the story as: The stages of Pip’s great expectations. The revelations therefore occur in stages, carefully placed throughout the story to create the greatest effect. Dicken’s wrote two endings for his story as well, gripping the reader's attention right until the very end.

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  4. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1893)

    The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1893)

    This collection of short stories is sprinkled with various plots twists and turns. Though some readers have viewed several of these twists as far-fetched, they nevertheless have the intended impact. No mystery story is complete without a twist and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle knows just when to strike. Sherlock Holmes is one of the great characters of literature. A neurotic genius, but a genius nonetheless, he is the best kind of character to have around when a drama unfolds. His intellectual superiority and aloof arrogance captivate readers and draws them into the depths of these tales. If you wish to know what kind of plot twists appear in these stories, you’ll just have to buy a copy and find out for yourself!

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  5. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (1898)

    The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (1898)

    There is no better place for a shocking twist than in a gothic horror story. The Turn of the Screw is one of the most famous ghostly tales, filled with haunting twists and turns. The greatest twist however is brought at the very end of the story and so entirely subverts expectation that it’s somewhat unsettling. The story itself is an uneasy one. An unnamed narrator relates her strange experiences working as a governess at Bly, an eerie country house in Essex. Glaring ghosts linger in the house and gardens, but no one else seems to see them there. The fiendish creatures seek to possess Miles and Flora, the children she cares for, but they seem to feel no fear for the walking dead. Even after the final twist, it is not clear whether the ghosts were real or if the governess was simply mad.

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Beneath Every Story

The best plot twists build up layer upon layer of story so that the reader becomes entangled in the heart of the tale. They are complex yet uncomplicated, a true contradiction in terms. Plot twists rely on the predictability of the human mind – and a splash of literary magic – to keep readers guessing until the end. Though perhaps the greatest plot twists don’t keep readers guessing at all but simply swoop in with an ending that no one, not even the writer, could ever see coming!



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