Die Cliffhanger Die!


There seems to be a new trend amongst authors lately, and it’s causing quite an uproar.  Cliffhangers.  Otherwise known as:

I’ve ranted at a few of my favorite authors who use this plot device in their novels, and I can’t help but wonder, why would they do it?  Are they pressured by the publishers?  Agents?  It sure as shit isn’t the fans who are pressuring them to end their novel on a precarious problem or difficult dilemma, or sometimes the death of a main character–after finally almost getting to see him and the girl we all want him to be with get it on, get shot!  Shot! End Scene.  Shot.  End Scene.  Yes, it really happened like that.

In this day and age of series novels, versus stand alone novels, is this what we are coming towards more often?  Is this the industries way of trying to “keep it fresh”, or “keep it interesting” or “keep the fans guessing?”  Because to me, that’s a load of bull.  If I am reading a novel in a series, it’s because I want to.  So, after buying book four of planned seven book series, why would it be necessary to end on a cliffhanger?  The conspiracy theorist in me can’t help but wonder if the publishers weren’t all that impressed with the novel itself, and felt maybe fans would start giving up on the series, so they forced the author to end on such a convoluted cliff.  But no. They wouldn’t do that.  Would they?  What do you think?

I’ve racked my brain over and over, which admittedly, my brain is often mushy from sleep deprivation, but so far, I’ve not come up with any reason why cliffhangers are a good thing.  I guess I can see a little bit.  They force readers to talk, speculate and over analyze everything said in the novels.  Karen Marie Moning, has been dubbed by me as the Cliffhanger Queen.  After reading her third novel in the Fever Series “Faefever”, fans of Mac were left wondering how she faired after she was raped.  By three or four different fae.  That’s where our illustrious author left us.  Wondering about rape.  Seriously.  After waiting a year for her fourth novel “Dreamfever”, I figured it couldn’t get any worse.  Boy was I wrong.  “Dreamfever” ended on a death.  And to add insult to our injury, the death actually took place on a cliff.  Yep, you read that right.  She killed a character, on a cliff, then ended her novel.  THEN we had to wait 18 months for the next novel.

I kid you not.

Now it seems to be a growing trend, and I don’t know how, as readers, we can stop the madness!  It’s insanity!  I hate cliffhangers.  It doesn’t make me want to hurry up and wait for the next novel.  It makes me angry.  I feel cheated.  I feel used.  I feel like hurling the book into a fiery pit, roasting it, then spreading the ashes far and wide.  It does NOT make me want to wait in line on release day at midnight.  Often times lately when books end on a cliffhanger of epic proportions, I find myself lacking the energy to even get mad.  Am I just accepting this crap as par for the reading course now?  Am I becoming cattle to the publishing world?  Being lead to slaughter?  God I hope not.

I don’t know where to get answers to these questions.  It almost seems taboo to ask those in the know.  I bet they wouldn’t even tell us anyways.  Trade secrets and all that jazz.

I never thought that I would ask these questions.  Honestly.  If I were writing a novel, there is no way you could get me to end on a cliff.  I don’t believe in torture.  And that’s what it boils down to in my most humble opinion.  Torture.  Do you want to burn your toast?  Do you like soggy bread?  Are you a masochist?  I often want to ask authors if they were reading a series novel, and it ended on a mammoth cliffhanger, how would they feel?  Do you think they would be honest? Or just laugh that villainous laugh and dodge the question and say something like “Can’t wait to read the next novel!”

I implore you up and coming novelists, please, for the love of books, don’t get bullied into ending novels on cliffs.  It’s hazardous to my reading health, and my overall state of mind.  If you write a good novel filled with intrigue, strong characters, good world building and some romance (either implied, or down right dirty)  I will come. (hee, hee)

I’m not going to call out any authors by name now.  I’m just posing the questions.  Do you have any answers?  Thoughts?  Do you like cliffhangers?  Do you think they are a necessary evil, or should we revolt against them?

Open discussion!

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About Erika @ Badass Book Reviews

Mom to four by day, Book Review blogger by night. I read Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance a little Historicals

Posted on May 10, 2011, in General Updates and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Amen, sista! I’ve never been able to stand the dreaded cliffhanger. It makes absolutely no sense. Like you stated, if I’m reading a series and are several books in, then guess what?! I like/love the series and have an interest in following through. I don’t need a “make me want to throw the book” ending just so I’ll read the next one. It actually makes me want to give up on the series, especially if we’re only on book #4. Will the rest end in the same manner? If so, then I’m not reading until she is completely done. I can’t stand being left in the lurch.

    For me, it’s almost like the author is saying, “I’m not confident enough in my work that people will read all the books. So, I need to pull out all the stops to make sure they read it.” Either that or, as you said, her publisher lacks the confidence. IDK but either way, count me out!

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