Who Likes Cliffhangers? (Hint: I do)

April 23, 2015 Discussion 60

Hello my name is Bec and I have an unfortunate love of cliffhangers. L O V E. I like them so much that it is actually concerning for my mental wellbeing. And I have a feeling I might be somewhat alone in this.

Normally when you mention the word cliffhanger in a review there is a collective groan among readers. I get the distinct feeling that many many bookworms don’t like them, and  I can certainly understand why. They often end and mid scene and leave you desperate for more. Particularly when they end after a really shocking plot twist.

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Typically there’s also a year long (minimum) wait involved. That’s a long time to wait for answers, yet something I’ve grown used to with the number of series I read. It’s the wait for more that’s the hardest part. (This made me think about the whole instantaneous gratification aspect of our society but I’m not smart enough to fully write about that)

Sometimes cliffhangers can be extra frustrating when they’re completely unnecessary and the book could easily have wrapped up and the cliffhanger was added in an attempt to build suspense. It’s  also annoying if I’m not enjoying the book at all, or when it ends in a really strange, non logical moment or in the middle of nowhere.

These are all things I can understand when it comes to cliffhangers. There’s certainly been a few that I’ve read that frustrated me. Yet all those bad cliffhangers have not turned me off them. Still 90% of cliffhangers leave me screaming in awe.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

What do I like about the good cliffhangers? Mostly it’s the feeling it give me. That suspenseful build up, the feels, the shock. The moment when I read the last sentence and go “OH MY GOD” and go to scream on the interenet. Those feels, the need to scream, the excitement, the disbelief. I love the fact that I connected with the story and the characters enough that such an ending could drag out all those emotions. I like being shocked, I like having my feelings manipulated. It’s what the best books do. And series that have twists that surprise me and leave me screaming are THE BEST.

Some of my favourite, and most frustrating (but so good), cliffhangers include:

– CROWN OF MIDNIGHT by Sarah J Maas. Even though I predicted that final twist in book one, the build up to its reveal was amazing. That book ended in the perfect place and psyched me up so much for HEIR OF FIRE (which ended in a similarly epic way).

– THE IRON TRAITER by Julie Kagawa. This ending was just cruelCruel. And the title and summary of the third book was finally announced on the 24th of Feb (there was nothing when I first wrote this post)! THE IRON TRAITOR was released October 2013 and we’ll finally get more in October 2015. This wait has been torturous.

– THE ETERNITY CURE by Julie Kagawa. I’m pretty much ready to dub Kagawa the queen of cliffhangers. The feels I experienced with this one! I really should read THE FOREVER SONG so my heart stops hurting.

– THE FALCONER by Elizabeth May literally ended mid battle scene. It was such an epic build up that stopped right at the climax.

– The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater. She likes to give you last lines that make you go WTF WHAT DOES THIS MEAN.

– The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski likes to rip your heart out and make you cry before ending in a really painful way that has you terrified for THE WINNER’S KISS. THE WINNER’S CURSE ended in a similarly painful way, but wasn’t as much of a cliffhanger.

Basically,  I love it when I enjoy books so much that they cause me actual pain and end in shocking ways. That is the moral of this post.

Do you love or hate cliffhangers?

What are some of the best/most frustrating cliffhangers you’ve ever read?

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60 Responses to “Who Likes Cliffhangers? (Hint: I do)”

  1. Lucia @Reading Is My Breathing

    I cannot say that I LOVE cliffhangers, but when done right I definitely do not mind them. I hate wait between series in general, but I do not hate cliffhanger itself (I hope I am making sense lol).

    The “worst” cliffhanger ever was definitely in Golden Son by Pierce Brown. It left me speechless. I am actully still shocked when I think about it. But I kind of loved it. The only cure is to get next book in Red Rising in my hands as soon as possible :)
    Lucia @Reading Is My Breathing recently posted…REVIEW+GIVEAWAY: Broken Juliet by Leisa Rayven

    • Bec

      I completely get what you’re saying :)

      I haven’t read that series yet, but I’ve heard so many good things about it. Books that leave you speechless are the best!

  2. Anne @ Lovely Literature

    I hated The Falconer ending. Ugh. I felt so cheated! But, I’m over it now (I swear) and am looking forward to the next book. I just needed time with that one. But The Winner’s Curse was a good cliffy ending. It was wrapped enough but still didn’t answer everything. I liked that it solved the big chaotic world problem, but not the interpersonal one. That’s what I like in a cliffhanger.
    Anne @ Lovely Literature recently posted…Review: Never Marry a Viscount

    • Bec

      I was so caught up in the suspense! The second book comes out so soon and I NEED IT.

      Those are nice tiny little cliffhangers haha. It was nice that we got so many answers but the world/plot/characters had still been turned on its head almost. Enough to keep you desperate for the sequel anyway

  3. Ally R.

    You’ve summed up my thoughts exactly! I LOVE cliffhangers, but only in books that I liked. Otherwise they’re so frustrating because you don’t want to continue the series and yet you STILL want to know what happens next.

    Ah, I just finished Throne of Glass. Good to know the series just gets more epic!

    Anyway, first time visitor. I love the blog!
    Ally R. recently posted…Quotables: Roald Dahl

    • Bec

      If you’re not caught up in the emotion of the book the cliffhanger is going to be frustrating. Although honestly there’s been times where the final twist and cliffhanger has made the book for me!

      Oh man ToG! That series just gets better and better.

  4. A Canadian Girl

    I don’t like cliffhangers because they’re either unnecessary or cause the book to end in the middle of something really dramatic, which I then can’t remember when I start the next book after a year. I don’t mind minor cliffhangers though where the author ends the book in almost a standalone way but leaves a little bit of suspense for the next book.
    A Canadian Girl recently posted…Review: We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen

    • Bec

      I tend to have a good memory with books so it doesn’t normally bother me, plus if they’re big enough cliffhangers they impact my reading experience.

      I feel like that type of ending is what most people enjoy, and I do agree it is nice. But I just love the whole feeling of being surprised and frustrated by the final twist!

  5. Julie S.

    OKay they infuriate me – but I can definitely see your point that they do have such a strong impact on the reader and I can see where you find that exciting :)

  6. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    I can’t really say that I LOVE cliffhangers, but I do appreciate them for what they are. In a beloved book/series, they kill you with feels and guarantees that I’ll be climbing the walls to get my hands on the sequel. CoM & the Raven Cycle are perfect examples of cliffhangers done right in my mind. They’re the perfect amount of cruelty and anticipation and they leave you desperate for more BUT at the same time, feeling a sense of resolution and satisfaction about the events that preceded it. My issue with cliffhangers is when they are SO sudden that it feels like the story truly isn’t finished. As in little to NO resolution. I NEED at least SOME closure LOL. But yeah, the feels can only be brought on THAT strongly^^ when a book is EPIC and I do love my feels, so in some case, I like my cliffhangers too XD
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Let’s Discuss…(1)

    • Bec

      And with those two, because you know they’re longer series when you go in, not getting all the answers isn’t such a frustration.

      It really depends on the story and the series I guess. There are some where a stop mid scene is just so INFURIATING but other series where it just fits the story perfectly and I can’t imagine it ending any other way.

  7. Cait @ Paper Fury

    Oh I totally nearly picked up a Julie Kagawa book yesterday at the library but I GOT DISTRACTED AND FORGOT. Gah. I loved Talon and I want to read moooore from her. XD OMIGOSH I LOVE CLIFFHANGERS. I love Sarah J Maas’ particularly. ;-) I just love anything that makes me freak out and squeal and go fangirl all over twitter with illogical squawks. I like it when books make me feel, you know?! CLIFFHANGERS FTW.
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…10 Authors I’ve Discovered in 2015 Whose Wickedly Marvellous Talent I Quite Admire

    • Bec

      Yesss pick up the Kagawa books. The Immortal Rules is particularly awesome. I still have to read Talon (one day I’ll get there)

      Maas’s are just ashdlhkfsadfjkaf!!! The freaking out and squealing is THE BEST PART.

  8. Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity

    ASDFGHJKL cliffhangers. Sometimes I love them – THE FALCONER. Seriously this book. That ending. WHERE IS THE SEQUEL, DAMMIT. Sometimes I’m not a huge fan – THE WINNER’S CURSE. Just. Why.

    And to be honest, like with most things bookish related, I have no concrete or definite reasons WHY I will like/not mind one cliffhanger and be completely annoyed by another.

    One thing that probably influences it is how much I enjoyed the book. Like THE FALCONER is one of my favourites. I loved every darn thing about it. Whereas THE WINNER’S CURSE … I was annoyed a lot by this book. The back and forth and the lies and the mistrust – I was over it to say the least when that cliffhanger came around. My “feels” had been played with too much and had definitely decreased over the time it took for me to read the book.

    So yeah. That one thing is probably the MAIN thing that influences me + my like or dislike of cliffhangers!
    Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity recently posted…First Cut is the Deepest

    • Bec

      The Falconer sequel needs to be in my hands RIGHT NOW. This is one of the books I’m really cursing my ban for.

      Yes! It can be so hard to put into words some of the strange things I like about books. Unfortunately “I just do” doesn’t always make for a great blog post :P

      Your feelings leading up to the end definitely influence what you think of the cliffhanger. If you’re not liking the book you are probably going to roll your eyes or groan at the ending. Although sometimes a cliffhanger has caused me to change my mind about a book because it was just so epic!

  9. Liza Barrett

    I couldn’t agree with you more. The cliffhangers really are what make me fall in love with a book. If it’s a great book and all holds together well, unless there’s been some emotional roller coastering going on, I like it to end held in suspense — it’s rush, and it’s one of the main reasons I read the genre I do (fantasy). That said, there are TIMES, as you mentioned, where cliff hangers annoy me. They have to SENSIBLE cliff hangers.

    Great post!
    Liza Barrett recently posted…Blog Tour & Giveaway: Wind Catcher (The Chosen #1) by Jeff & Erynn Altabef

    • Bec

      I never connected the shear number of cliffhangers I read to my love of fantasy but you are so right!

      Thanks :)

  10. Pamela

    OH MY GOD THE IRON TRAITOR ARE YOU KIDDING ME? That ending was EVIL! EVIL I SAY. I totally see where you’re coming from. Like you, unnecessary and pure shock-value cliffhangers suck, but those that you know are perfect and hint at something greater, I love.

    *sigh* Cliffhangers would be my besties if I read books only when all the sequel is out.
    Pamela recently posted…I Attended a Book Signing -Accidentally!

    • Bec

      I think I had a feeling it would end there when I read the prophecy somewhere, but some part of me still went “Julie wouldn’t do this to us”. I should have known better!

      You could always wait until all books are released before starting a series, but what’s patience?

    • Bec

      THIS ROLLERCOASTER OF “NO WAY WHERE’S BOOK TWO” are what I love about them. The wait is long but omg the feels! It helps having a good book memory haha. Plus I always reread my favourite series from the beginning before starting the newest release, which is handy for refreshing memories.

  11. Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

    Ah, I’m a fan of cliffhangers, too! Authors put them there for a reason, and it’s an effective way to keep us reading their books. And the “holy crap!” moment is one I always look for in books.

    OH MY GOD YES, THE ETERNITY CURE! That cliffhanger was freaking insane. ;) And The Winner’s Curse was a much better cliffhanger than Crime, in my opinion. Either way, still totally stoked for The Winner’s Kiss!
    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings recently posted…Review: In a World Just Right by Jen Brooks / “Fantasy Lite”

    • Bec

      Used correctly they can really add suspense to the story! I love being surprised and left speechless.

      I need to read/get my hands on the final books for both those series ASAP. I wish I could say more about what I loved with the Crime ending but spoilers! (let’s just say I was going “oh shit” because of things Kestrel’s father said/did I DID NOT EXPECT)

  12. Nara

    THE IRON TRAITOR MY GOD. Definitely one of the worst ones out there. The Immortal Crown (book two of Age of X) also has one of the worst I can remember. And Mark of Athena!! LITERAL cliffhanger, what with the characters hanging onto the edge of a hole.

    I have a bit of a love hate relationship with cliffhangers. They’re good, but if you have to wait for the next book it’s like ahksldfjasef!
    Nara recently posted…Review: Death Marked by Leah Cypess

    • Bec

      Oh man The Mark of Athena cliffhanger! I’m so glad I didn’t have to wait too long for House of Hades (and I’d heard all about the ending before reading so had time to brace myself)

      I don’t even mind waiting sometimes, honestly. It’s more time to fangirl and speculate.

  13. Lisa @ Lost in Literature

    Nope, not me. Cliffhangers kill me!! I think because in general I’m not a huge fan of series. I forget what happened by the time the next book comes out, so I get frustrated. I also read pretty slowly, so rereads aren’t really an option. I need answers IMMEDIATELY!! lol I can see why you like them though. I just sadly don’t. :(
    Lisa @ Lost in Literature recently posted…Let’s Chat: Paradise City by C.J. Duggan

    • Bec

      Meanwhile 90% of the books I read are actually series! I also make time for rereads when new books come out in my favourite series. It usually ends up being a reward for getting through the semester XD

    • Bec

      Oh I can’t do spoilers. I want to be surprised!

      Cliffhangers really suit some stories but don’t work with others!

      Thanks for coming back to comment :)

  14. Terri M., the Director

    I have a love/hate relationship with cliffhangers. If I get wrapped up in a book and invested, I find I can enjoy a cliffhanger. If the book was poorly written and I didn’t get invested and there is a cliffhanger, I get angry and want to throw things.

    Terri M., the Director
    Second Run Reviews
    Terri M., the Director recently posted…Comment on In the Spotlight: Erik Therme, author of Mortom by In The Spotlight: Interview with Erik Therme | Erik Therme

    • Bec

      If I’m hating the book, a cliffhanger will piss me off. You need to be caught up in the characters and plot and emotion to truly appreciate it.

  15. Eugenia @ Genie In A Book

    Cliffhangers, if there *is* another book to come, are bearable since there is a possibility of some answers finally coming to light. Otherwise, you get the ‘open ending’ cliffhanger in standalones which can be really frustrating in itself. The Winner’s Crime I can totally relate to – OH MY GOSH IT KILLLED ME! There was so much tension in the story itself and that ending just pushed it to the extreme. *sigh* why does there have to be such a long wait until the next book?
    Anyway, fantastic discussion Bec, thanks for sharing :)
    Eugenia @ Genie In A Book recently posted…Genie’s Weekly News (30)

    • Bec

      Cliffhangers are things I only appreciate in series. They do not belong in standalones ever. I can deal with vague, bittersweet endings if the main plot and stuff is wrapped up, but if there’s a twist and sudden ending I can’t deal.

      Thanks :)

  16. Faye M.

    Whether I will love or hate a cliffhanger depends on the kind of cliffhangers. There are cliffhangers that leave you wanting for the next book and leaves some suspense and mystery in the air while still finishing a certain “story arc” in the whole overall story. And there are cliffhangers like the one in The Jewel that will leave you screaming in frustration because it literally cuts in the middle of the scene. LIKE IT DOESN’T EVEN RESOLVE A SINGLE THING, IT JUST CUTS LIKE YOU’RE WATCHING AN INTENSE SCENE IN AN EPISODE AND THEN THE ELECTRICITY CUTS OUT LEAVING YOU NOT WITNESSING THE REST. Sorry for the caps. I got intense for a bit there ;)
    Faye M. recently posted…ARC Review: Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn

    • Bec

      Oh man mid scene cliffhangers can piss me off. But there are some, a very rare few, that are just done SO WELL. They’re designed to be frustrating and to make you feel ALL THE THINGS and usually happen right after something catastrophic!

      Intense words are needed to express intense feelings XD

  17. Lola

    I can’t say I love cliffhangers as much as you do, but I feel like I like them mroe than most readers. I like how cliffhangers can make me eager for the next book. I think that if done well a cliffhanger helps builds excitement for the next book. But in some cases like when I am not enjoying the book or the ending get’s dragged out just so it can end in a cliffhanger, that’s annoying. So yeah I think it really depends on how they are written, but in general I don’t mind cliffhanger endings. I think I prefer non-cligghanger endings, but I also like cliffhangers. It is nice though if the wait for the enxt book isn’t too long. Great post!
    Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #123

    • Bec

      That is another reason I love them! They build the suspense and excitement which can make the wait both more bearable and more agonising haha

      Thanks :)

  18. Sarah J.

    I’m totally with you! I really enjoy cliffhangers. I sometimes think that if the cliffhanger at the end is amazing chances are my love of the book are higher. I love books that make me want to continue on with the story. The Winner’s Curse slayed my heart. I haven’t picked up The Winner’s Crime yet, but I will as soon as I get my own copy!
    Sarah J. recently posted…The Best Bookish Surprise

    • Bec

      I will rate books higher if the cliffhanger is great too!

      Oh man The Winner’s Crime. Brace yourself, your feels are about to be destroyed.

  19. Romi

    Oh yeah, Heir of Fire ended in such a marvellous-but-painful way, didn’t it? I mean, that was one of the best but most actually painful endings I have ever experienced. I don’t think I quite appreciate cliffhangers as much as I should, because I do rather enjoy them but don’t always take a lot of note of that fact, but I think Sarah J. Maas is going to make me discover how brilliant they can be. I remember with the Inkworld series, I think that was my first ever cliffhanger, and it was so incredible and shocking. You’re right about how it shows how much you’ve been able to connect with a book, care about all that is inside it, but sometimes I could quite gladly wait less than a year to know if a character is actually dead or not really. Sometimes they are just TOO CRUEL!
    You got me thinking about this, Bec, so thank you! I’ll join you in your crusade of appreciation for cliffhangers. Xx

    • Bec

      It’s painful but there’s also hope and SO MANY OTHER AMAZING FEELINGS IT’S BEAUTIFUL.

  20. Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales

    Yay another one!I am not a lone ranger anymore.*fist pump*
    I adore cliffhangers.I love how they drown me in feels.I love the impact they leave in me and the intensity it gives for the story.
    I love the one in Crown of Midnight too!And I adore Richelle Mead’s cliffhangers.You can always expect one in Mead’s books,especially in her Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series.I also really liked the endings of The Goddess Interrupted,Through the Ever Night and Cinder.
    Loved the post Bec!
    Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales recently posted…Why do we need more diverse books?

    • Bec

      We should make a club. There’s quite a few of us!

      Did I forget to put Richelle Mead’s on the list omg. Those books. Everyone has that little twist at the end that makes you sit back and go “what just happened”.

      I’m glad you enjoyed it :)

  21. Benish

    I liked the cliffhanger in Crown of Midnight as well. I hate waiting for the next book to come out after one year, but I actually like cliffhangers as well because most of the time they’re pretty epic and keep you anticipating for me(sounds wrong but you understand). Great discussion post!
    Benish recently posted…Wreckage ♥ by Emily Bleeker Review

    • Bec

      I completely get what you mean :) The wait is long but honestly I don’t mind because it means the author can spend time writing the best book they possibly can without trying to rush it.

      Thanks :D

  22. Ju @ Fictional Skylines

    Ohmy gosh the Raven Boys ending KILLED ME. I just kept reading it over and over again and was so confused and even a little bit angry?? Ah, I usually hate cliffhangers but the one at the end of The Mark of Athena was a hoot! I actually laughed so hard (in denial) because Rick Riordan that schemer.
    Ju @ Fictional Skylines recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Characters Who X

    • Bec

      I promise The Dream Thieves one is even better. Then there’s the cliffhanger in Blue Lily, Lily Blue. Basically the endings of these keep getting bigger and better and more confusing haha.

      Rick Riordan likes to play with our feels a lot haha.

  23. Anya

    Haha, I think I disliked all the cliffhangers you listed that I’ve read ;-). My biggest thing is that I need a book to be a complete story on its own and a cliffhanger doesn’t give me that closure generally. I like what The Young Elites did where there was a solid ending and then a new plot was introduced briefly to get me excited about the sequel ya know?
    Anya recently posted…Updates from the Lair 5/03/15

    • Bec

      I told you my opinion is a little strange XD

      There are some books where I like it to wrap up fairly well and then introduce a nice little tidbit. But there are trilogies and series with massive overarching plot lines that I like to keep the suspense as well, which often means epic cliffhangers.

  24. Karen

    I wouldn’t say that I adore cliffhangers but when they’re done really well they can totally work in my opinion.
    The end of Golden Son by Pierce Brown was my most recent cliffhanger experience and it had me cry in the middle of the night and then me shouting ‘You don’t understaaaaaand!’ at my boyfriend. Bless him.

  25. Mel@thedailyprophecy

    I can’t say I love them or that I hate them, I’m a little in between. The examples you’ve mentioned were some cliff-hangers that also worked for me. They stopped at the PERFECT timing and that is crucial, because it makes me anxious for more and not annoyed. I’ve had books that made me want to cry out of frustration, just because it felt like I missed a couple of pages. I don’t like the sudden stop.
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…MIM #6. Three forgotten Disney movies.

    • Bec

      Yes, they have to be utilised at the exact right moment in the exact right way otherwise they’re an irritating story device. The sudden stop can be so off putting.

  1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas | Readers In Wonderland

    […] Those of you who dislike cliffhangers have nothing to fear here, ACOTAR has a well wrapped up ending, and it’s a relief not having to sell what remains of my soul for the next book (I already owe some to Bec and some for other miscellaneous bargains I’ve made). I’m still really excited for the books to come though, especially because of one part towards the end View Spoiler »WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT WITH RHYSAND I MUST KNOW, I HAVE THEORIES. « Hide Spoiler. Anyways, I’ll just be hanging out here until the next Maas book comes out and ruins my life. […]

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