Bookish Blatherings #8: Cliffhangers, Yea or Nay?

Posted March 23rd, 2014 in Bookish Blatherings, My Features / 34 comments

Welcome to Bookish Blatherings, my new feature in which I will be rambling about bookish or bloggish things and hopefully you will join in on the discussion.

I will admit, when I first started reading, cliffhangers bugged the crap out of me. I would literally cut off a star in my rating when there was a cliffhanger at the end of a book. I felt like it was a ploy to make me read the next book, and I hate being forced to do anything, so I rebelled.

But as time went on, cliffhangers started to weasel their way into my heart. Now, don’t get me wrong, they often piss me off. So much that I have to take a few days breather before I write the review so I don’t just rant about the cliffhanger. But I see their appeal now. They make the wait for the next book so excruciatingly delightful. I love looking forward to a book coming out. One of the worst things that can happen is not even realizing the next book in a series has come out. That’s not a good sign. You should be dying to get your hands on the next book. Now that’s a series worth reading.

I think one of the best cliffhangers I have read is in Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. The whole book was fantastic, and then that heart wrenching ending was so effing epic. I was shredded and hyped up all at the same time. The same goes for Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I was so upset but excited.  I thought of Opal and that ending numerous times throughout the year. The wait for the next book was almost unbearable but well worth the wait.

So, yes, cliffhangers, for me, have their place in the book world. However, a cliffhanger at the end of a book that didn’t need one is BAD. For example, if the book had very little action or plot, you can tell the cliffhanger was thrown in to liven things up. Um, yeah, too little, too late. Surrender Your Love by J.C. Reed fell into this bad cliffhanger category. Or when nothing is solved throughout the whole book. If it’s just a whole cluster of continuous things getting worse and worse, more questions, no answers, more mystery, no solutions, then a cliffhanger can be too much. It’s not satisfying to read a book with now resolution or wrap up. Authors have to give use at least a little bit of closure or hope or it’s just not worth reading the story. At least this is true for me.

I hate cliffhangers. I love cliffhangers. It’s a toss up for me sometimes. It all comes down to how the author presents it. Cliffhangers can be beautifully done. They can also crash and burn the whole book. But overall, I think they can add a lot to a series and it’s craveability. I crave the next book following a cliffhanger. It works. It’s a great selling point and you can’t help but respect this strategy.

Do you like cliffhangers? Why or why not?

Modified banner photo credit: Wurzeltod via photopin cc

Bookish Blatherings, My Features

, , , , , ,

34 Responses to “Bookish Blatherings #8: Cliffhangers, Yea or Nay?”

  1. Melanie

    Like you, I love and hate cliffhangers. In 2012 when I finished reading The Mark of Athena, I was dead for about a month because the cliffhanger was crazy big and killed my soul. I had to wait an entire year for the sequel. UGH. the agony. So that was a good thing but also bad thing. Then there are times when I hate cliffhangers because they are so stupid and ridiculous etc.

    Lovely post, Jennifer! <33

  2. Istyriabookblog

    I’m with you on this. 😛 Cliffhangers can be good, but they can also be bad when there shouldn’t be one in the first place. The waiting and anticipation of the next book is also a sign that the series is very good. If you weren’t so hyped and stuff for the next book after a super cliffhanger… Well that’s not a good sign is it? :p

  3. Ashley

    I think I largely agree with you. It ultimately depends on HOW the cliffhanger was done. If it’s done well, I have a love/hate relationship with them. I love them because they excite my pants off, but I hate them because OMG NEED THAT BOOK NOW!! But it’s a good kind of hate, lol.

    But there are a lot of books where the cliffhanger doesn’t feel like a cliffhanger, and instead it feels like a cut off in the middle of the story. I hate those >_< It’s like nothing happens throughout the whole book, then finally as soon as we get SOME kind of conflict, the book ends. Bleh.

  4. Jessica Haluska

    YEP. I hate cliffhangers. I love cliffhangers. But regardless of my love/hate relationship with cliffhangers, I do HATE waiting for a year to get my next fix. To that end, I have refused to read Opal, etc. until the last book comes out. But I’ve read, and will continue to read anything Laini Taylor puts out as soon as I can get my hands on it. I pick and choose 😉

    Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    • Jennifer Bielman

      I agree, six months seems more realistic to wait, but a year is too much! I have also waited to read a book when I found out there was a cliffhanger until the next book comes out. I think it’s a solid strategy.

  5. Vickie Ramage

    I don’t min cliffhangers, however the publishing industry uses sequels and cliffhangers really unnecessarily these days. Often a book doesn’t need to be made into a trilogy yet to sell more they do that anyway and that really frustrates me.

    On the other hand, some of the best books I’ve read have equally amazing cliffhangers that make me really excited to read the next book. The ending of Catching Fire was one that I will never forget and I waited eagerly for a year to read the sequel. The Finisher by David Baldacci, I read that this year and I’m now really excited for the next book.

    The discussion post I posted today is fitting… XD
    ★ Under The Mountain – Can You Keep Up With Sequels? ★


    For me, it all depends on what, exactly, is left hanging.
    I’m still convinced that a book should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. If the story has a climax and resolution to a plot thread, but leaves other stuff for later books, that’s fine by me (it has to be – that’s how I write my own).
    But I really get angry when a book just stops. That’s unfair to the reader, almost a way of blackmailing them into buying the next one and I won’t do it.
    I now check reviews before I buy, and if they warn of that sort of cliffhanger, sorry, but I just won’t buy the book, even if the story appeals. I may be missing some great stories this way, but I’d sooner that, than buy what is, in effect, only part of a novel.

    • Jennifer Bielman

      I know, it does feel like blackmail sometimes. I will buy cliffhanger books when the next book is out so I don’t have to wait to see what happens next. It totally works.

  7. Jaclyn Canada

    I’m pretty much on the same page with you about cliffhangers. I don’t like reading a book that has nothing resolved and barely any action throughout and then BAM! ends right when things are finally getting good. I do respect the cliffhanger in Opal and agree that it made me pine for the next book. Expertly done there and in some others as well. Great post! Jaclyn @ JC’s Book Haven.

  8. Robyn Jones

    I don’t know! Just a couple weeks ago I commented that I hate cliffhangers and then one of the reviews for my books mentions the cliffhanger ending. Crap! I wrote a cliffhanger despite how crazy they make me? So maybe I’m like you? Love em, hate em, just give me the next damn book now!

    • Jennifer Bielman

      It’s funny how we can hate cliffhangers as readers but see how they totally work in our writing. I haven’t done a cliffhanger yet in my writing but I do like to do shockers that make you want to read the next book.

  9. Christy @ Love of Books

    I’m the same way. I really don’t mind them, unless they are just ridiculously not done well. I’ve found myself trying to wait to read a first book until closer to the release of the 2nd. Not just because of possible cliffhangers, I’m tired of having to wait so long between books.

  10. sherry fundin

    I go both ways on cliffhangers. My biggest gripe is, I read so many books that I will forget to keep my eye out for the next one and often don’t read the rest of the story. I know I have missed some great stuff and that frustrates me. I try to keep lists, but then my lists grow out of control. LOL

  11. Julie S

    I hate them with a passion. Books should never just STOP! It takes too long for the next book to come out, and I feel like it is a ploy to sell more books. I prefer the story to wrap up with a set up for the next story that will be in the next book, rather than Duh Duh DUHHHHH and that’s it.

  12. kimbacaffeinate

    I have decided I have a love/hate relationship with them. It is kind of like scary movies. I love the excitement, the racing heart and hate being scared. I love the anticipation a cliffy provides but too much one one will drive me insane. Am I making any sense?

  13. Angela's Anxious Life

    I don’t so much dislike cliffhangers..but if the whole book is a cliffhanger.. UGH. This is my probably with the Maze Runner. We didn’t get any answers through the entire book. I mean… drove me crazy. The worst part was the main character is running around asking questions and no one will answer him. I am like reveal something. I never moved onto the next book. I didn’t want a book full of questions again.

Leave a Reply