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Monday, July 18, 2011

Book Chatter (2): Cliffhanger Endings

Pull up a chair, relax, and let’s discuss the wonderful world of books.

Do you enjoy discussing anything and everything pertaining to books? YES!

Well, you’ve come to the right place. Every week, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on various book topics and offering prizes that pertain to the topic at hand. That’s not all – You will get to choose the weekly topic by voting on which topic to discuss for the following week. You will also be able to suggest topics by clicking on this FORM.

Cliffhanger Endings...

Cliffhanger – well there’s a word I love to hate.  So let’s just define the bane of my existence in book series:  An ending to an episode of a serial drama that leaves the audience in suspense.

Well, for starters, if I could redefine this word and put an action to it, I would say: Readers be forewarned – due to the necessary evil of this tool, you may end up pulling out your hair or throwing your book across the room. Oh, and let’s not forget that you'll more than likely have to wait a whole year to see what happens next.

OK. So, a lot of writers use this plot device in their series. WHY? Will readers who enjoyed the book be scrambling around pre-ordering the next installment to boost revenue? Is it just part of the necessary progression of the series? Who knows and I guess with that the plot thickens.

I for one love book series. I become emotionally involved in the characters lives and it’s hard to say goodbye to these characters at the end of the book. If it's a series, I have more books with my favorite characters. Whoot! BUT, and that’s a big one – I also have to deal with the waiting and YES the suspense of what’s going to happen next, especially if a major character gets killed in the final few pages of the book. What is a girl to do?

One series comes to mind when I think of cliffhanger endings. Yes, there are a lot of series with them but this one in particular takes the cake. I’m positively sure that readers of this series will agree with me. Drum Roll Please…THE FEVER SERIES by Karen Marie Moning.

Let me break it down for you:
  • There are 5 books in this series
  • Every last book has a cliffhanger (except the last but that’s debatable)
  • I have never been more frustrated or obsessed by a book series in my life
  • These cliffhangers give you no choice – Do not past go, Do not collect $200 (unless your spending it on these books and merchandise related to the series) Yep – Guilty as charged.
  • You can scream, shout, or throw the book but you will be starving for that next glimpse
Here’s a list of cliffhanger books that I’ve recently read (Although some may not end on a shocking note, but they leave you with a taste or yearning of things to come):

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4) by Cassandra Clare
The Lost Saint (The Dark Divine, #2) by Bree Despain
Delirium (Delirium, #1) by Lauren Oliver
Crescendo (Hush, Hush, #2) by Becca Fitzpatrick)
Hard Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires, #4) by Chloe Neill

I’m sure there are plenty of more…

Well that’s it in a nutshell. Whether you love it or hate it, this plot device definitely makes you want more. Soooo….

How do you feel about cliffhanger endings?  What are some of your favorite books/series that have cliffhanger endings?


Winner will receive his/her choice of book in any of the series mentioned (this includes a pre-order book). If I did not name one, you can pick. Believe me, I know there are tons not listed.

Rules: 1 Winner! Must comment to be eligible.

Please fill out this FORM!

Contest ends @ 11:59pm (CST) August 1, 2011. US & Canadian Residents only.


  1. I luv this series! The best cliffhangers, ever!

  2. I have a love/hate relationship with cliffhangers. I know why they exist, being a writer myself, but when you first get to them they are rather annoying. Not that I've gotten so far as to pull my hair out. But on the other side they spur discussion. You can fill several conversations with thinking up potential next installments and guessing about how this element will connect to that one and who will do what when. It's suspense, because nothing's happening, but that's always when my imagination goes wild and allows me to participate in a series instead of just reading it.

  3. If I had my drothers I'd force every author writing a series to have each book be a stand alone novel with hints of what's to come next.

    I hate cliffhangers. I am under the firm assumption when I'm finished with a book I should have some closeur on the story.

    Now, I could make an exception and say if the author plans to release the next book in 6 months or less, I would be more tolerable. But seriously, how are we as readers supposed to keep track of all these different series, with cliffhanger endings for an entire year.

    If anyone as tips or tricks let me know!

  4. RE: Tina - I agree, I've not read any series as much as I've reread these books.

    RE: Jenny - Yep that word Suspense = Obsession to me and sometimes that's a good thing if it's done right.

    RE: Gina - I wish I knew. I just start a new series. LOL. That's my problem now. There are so many series and sometimes I have to go back and recap. BUT if it is an exceptional series, I'm obsessed about it and reread the book before it comes out again or end up joining groups to discuss and rant.

  5. I also have a love/hate relationship. I understand why the need for a cliffhanger, they just aren't always necessary. The reason I love HP so much is because each book is it's own story. Yes, there are still questions, but the ending doesn't make you want to rip your hair out. I did read the Fever series after they were all released, and boy am I glad I did. I probably would have resented the author eventually. I just didn't feel like that series needed the hardcore cliffhangers that were provided. If I have a feeling that there will be one, in a series that I know I will love, I'll hold back until they're all released. I did it with the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. I'll do it again.

  6. I actually don't mind cliffhangers in series books. The reason for this is that I never read a series back to back. There is usually a good amount of time between my reading of the next book so I really don't mind the wait. For example, my favorite author is Anne Rice, but I still have not read all of her Vampire Chronicles (last one I read was Memnoch the Devil). Granted, I have read Queen of the Damned 4 times (my favorite) and I did reread books 1-4 again a couple of years ago, but it still might be awhile before I pick up The Vampire Armand. Don't know if I can reread Memnoch because it was my least favorite of the series so far. I still have not read Breaking Dawn either! I'll read it before the movie comes out in November. ;O) So, cliffhangers in books...not so bad for me. Now in television, on the other hand, I HATE cliffhangers! I'm weird, I know!

    I LOVE your book chatter button. I'm a cat fanatic and it is just so purrfect! Great feature you have here. =O)

  7. Re: Vivien - I definitely agree. Just give me some wrap up...I don't mind there being unanswered questions. One series in particular that I like that has this is The Morganville Vampire Series by Rachel Caine. But then again, I can't really say that it bothers me with some series. It just makes me anticipate the next book even more.

    Re: Michelle - Thanks! If only I knew these things before I started a book with cliffhangers. But I have a problem with patience. I can't wait on a whole series to come out. I would just die waiting.

  8. Ohh, cliffhangers. There are so many of them nowadays -- I see them everywhere! Not only a whole bunch of books, but in TV shows too! Like the season finale of The Vampire Diaries, which was absolutely brutal!

    But to be honest, once I get past the wanting-to-rip-out-my-hair part, I guess I understand why so many writers put cliffhangers at the end of their novels. They want to make the reader automatically add the next book to their wishlist to find out what happens -- it keeps readers interested. And I guess that it also drags along the conflict so it can carry on through the series instead of there being a new one every book. That saves a novel from having a too-clean resolution. :)

    Still, I think that I'd personally have at least a little bit of closure, because waiting for the next installment really eats at my patience! x)

    This is such an awesome discussion topic! Very current! :)

  9. Re: Mimi - You betcha! As soon as I finish the book, I go straight to goodreads to add the next book to my TBR pile. Whatever reason the author has for leaving their readers hanging, it definitely works where I'm concerned. I may gripe about it but the suspense of what happens next will always be in the back of my mind.

  10. I'm like Jenny. It's a love hate relationship. I actually admied Andrea Cremer for doing it in her first book.

  11. Re: Natalie - I agree. That was a great cliffhanger and I'm looking forward to the next book.

  12. As I writer, I love them. As a reader, well, it's complicated.

    I don't mind cliffhangers if it feels like that's the only way for the book to end. However, I do prefer my cliffhangers with a bit of a closure -- I want the main conflict in the novel to be satisfactorily resolved.

  13. I don't like Cliffhanger endings, because even though they add some... Bam? yes, Bam to the ending, by the time the next book comes out in a year or more I already forgot or lost interest in the book :/

    I don't mind them much if the next book is already in store and you just have to wait a week to get it, that's why I usually buy the whole series ^^

    Cliffhangers I loved: The Darkest Powers Series, The Need Series and The Hollow Series

    Cliffhangers I hate: Mortal Instruments, The Hunger Games and The Forest of Hands and Teeth The Forest of Hands and Teeth.

    I haven not finished those 3 series..... don't kill me! o.o

    Love the new feature ;)

  14. I'm not a very big cliffhanger fan, but they definitely do their job! They always...and I mean ALWAYS, make me want to read the next book. Even if I didn't even like the book all that much, a cliffhanger is a sure way to get me to read the next one. I'm just one of those people who needs to know how something ends, or at least feel slightly satisfied by an ending!

    Some cliffhangers I don't mind, but some are like being kicked and then kicked again...those ones almost physically hurt, especially when you have to wait for the next book! *cough*City of Fallen Angels*cough* :P

    I love these "Book Chatter" posts, Tina! They're fantastic! :D

  15. @Ambur - I agree with you on City of Fallen Angels. LOL. That was a tough one. I'm still reeling!

    @Jude & Emy - I love to hate them. LOL

  16. Love, Love, LOVE The Fever Series! Love to hate those damn endings though!

    I recently re-read the series to get ready for Shadowfever, which was amazing. That is one series I know I can re-read many times and won't loss my love of both Mac and JZB!

  17. Re: Jess - I'm right there with you! Best Series ever. I can't even fault the cliffhangers. LOL.

  18. Cliffhangers suck, but they are also awesome. I honestly never know how to feel. When I finish a book with big cliffhanger I hate it, but when I start the next one I always relent and think what a great ending. I have to say that the book series that has the biggest cliffhangers is the Fever Series. All I could think was, thank goodness the next one is already out!

  19. I think the most annoying cliffharger endings are the ones that are resolved within the first few chapters of the next book. You wait going crazy dying to know what happens but only to have it easily resolved within the first few pages of the next book is very anticlimactic. However one series that I absolutely love and the books always seem to end on a cliffhanger are the Morganville Vampire series by Rachel Caine.

  20. I have never read the Fever Series but always wanted to sounds so good! I like cliffharger endings thats what makes a great book. Hard bitten was a great one I love Ethan and Merrit it is very hard to what on The next. I love your picks all of my favorites. thanks for sharing!

  21. I love cliffhangers that leave me wanting more (as long as it isn't the last book in the series).

    but i love them to.
    They make me go mad, but i kinda like it when i go mad (but i hate it too.)

  23. Cliffhangers kill me, especially if I read a book where the next one isn't out yet. If it's out, I'm okay, if not.. I go on a little rampage! :)

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