I have mixed feelings about cliffhangers. Obviously I don't mind them when the entire series is out because I can just pick up the next book. No problem. But when the next book isn't out yet and I finish and it ends in a huge, jawdropping cliffhanger, I just scream "Nooooooooo!" and I feel like throwing my book (or Kindle) against the wall. Knowing I have to wait to find out what happens. It's sheer torture.
Part of me loves cliffhangers. They're exciting and make me crave the next book. They evoke strong emotions and make me care about the characters, possibly even stressing and obsessing, flailing, talking to other people about them, etc. But the other part of me gets mad. The stressing and obsessing can be...well, stressful. That feeling of incompleteness, of having to wait SO LONG (usually a year) to get resolution. And it sometimes feels gimmicky, like my emotions are being toyed with, and that the cliffhanger is there just so I'll buy the next book. Well, if I loved the first book, even if it ends in a good place, I'll buy the next book. The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas is a great example. The story is far from over, but it ends in a good place. And I LOVED that book. So of course I did everything in my power to get my hands on The Perilous Sea. And you know what? Cliffhanger ending. Why?????
Some of the cliffhangers I've read have been especially brutal. Like someone being shot. And then The End. What???? Or someone being kidnapped. I recently read a book where it looked like it was going to be one of those that ended in a good place, but laying out what they had to do next to save the world (it's always up to a small group of teenagers to save the world). Then, in the last five pages...ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE. I'm not kidding. Everything that could go wrong went wrong and one character is dying and the rest of them are about to be taken prisoner by an evil person. I wish, with a year to wait, that the author could have just stopped at the good place ending. Then there are those cliffhangers where there's a huge reveal at the end of the book and you're like What??? Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver was like that for me. It was so hard waiting for the last book. JLA is a master of the cliffhanger endings. Opal and Deity…those were brutal.
What do you think? Is it a gimmick? Have you ever read the next book just because it had a cliffhanger ending and you had to know what happened? Would you rather the book end in a good place or with a cliffhanger? Do you love them or hate them?
Posted by: Pam