Let's Talk: Cliffhangers

Friday, March 23, 2012

Let's Talk is a new weekly feature here at i swim for oceans. I think it's important that we all have our say, and there's something to be said for raising our voices. Simply put, here on the little old blog, I like to host some of my very own discussion posts because, well, I like to converse with you all.

And so, Let's Talk will feature questions or prompts, which I will answer, too. Love it or hate it, weigh in or don't, it's my hope that Let's Talk will at least get you thinking...and maybe even get you discussing with the rest of us!
Question: Cliffhangers - love them or hate them?

I'm often on the fence about this one, kiddos. On some blogs, you'll probably find me saying I simply loathe them. That's true. Then, on other blogs, you might find me saying I just love them. I'm ashamed to say that's also true. I have my reasons though, and I certainly think they're justified because, hey, when a cliffhanger is done right, it leaves me loving a book even more and, heck! It probably has me completely invested in the series, too!

I think there's a divide between good and bad cliffhangers though, and I reserve the right to judge them on a case by case basis. A good cliffhanger has me thinking about the book long after I close the last page. I'll probably scour that ending for some hidden direction multiple times, too, just hinting at what's next. That, in a nutshell, is what a good cliffhanger should make me do. Bad cliffhangers, on the other hand, leave me wondering if I actually liked the story in the first place. They can leave a sour taste in my mouth and, frankly, often have me thinking it's a cop-out. So, naturally, I'm going to break it down for you guys. Here are my top three favourite and least favourite cliffhangers:

1. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin - The Cliffhanger of Doom. Need I really say more? ADORE.

2. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake - This eerie cliffhanger still has me eerily fascinated. In a good way.

3. Delirium by Lauren Oliver - Beautiful. Poetic. Tragic. I'm still breathless after book two!

An honourable mention MUST go to Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles. I prayed for a sequel for years because of that one. Unfortunately, I now wished it had simply stayed with the cliffhanger - hence why it's not top-three.

1. Night Runner by Max Turner - I'm not even really sure how it boiled down to that...or why.

2. Witch & Wizard by James Patterson - Arguably a foul book with an even worse cliffhanger...can it get better?

3. The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong - It just felt like a pitch to the next book to me. Boring.

So, the bottom line is that when cliffhangers are used correctly, I'm invested in the series. You've officially got me hooked. When done wrong, however, I will most likely not even get near book two.


  1. I agree completely. I love and hate them. It really just depends on how they are done. I sadly have not read any of these that you have listed so I cannot judge the endings. Lol. 

    Great topic today!

  2. Haha it's a love/hate relationship all the time ;)

  3. Mostly, I dislike them. Especially if the book's short and it feels like the only reason the author stopped there was because he/she wanted a sequel. That being said, if the story being told is "complete" but there are lead-ins to the next story, I'm fine with that (Delirium is a good example).

    But mostly, cliffhangers just piss me off. It almost seems like a cop-out, trying to force the reader to pick up the next book.

  4. I despise them.  It doesn't see fair, when you vicariously racing towards the end, to find out what happens, then when you reach the last page your left hanging.  I feel cheated and a bit angry, especially when the next book won't be out for over a year! 

    The worst example of a cliffhanger I totally detested was the one in Demonglass!  Unbelievable!  I actually thought my book reader hadn't downloaded all the book.

  5. Ashely, you speak the truth, it really does "just depend(s) on how they are done."

  6. Anna Dressed in Blood and Delirium did have great ending bits. Haven't read Mara Dyer yet *_* (ashamed). Love this feature!

  7. I have a love/hate relationship with cliffhangers. On one hand they drive me crazy (evil Lauren Oliver and Cassandra Clare. Delirium's ending was so perfect and so sad, and don't even get me started on Clockwork Prince), but on the other they make me hyper and give me something fun to complain about. My sister and I are practically competing to see who can find the most evil cliffhangers to torture the other with. :)

  8. I think it all depends on how the author handles things. If it's leading to the next book but it wraps up enough story, then I'm fine. 

    If they just to it to keep people hanging and it's a cheap shot to get me to buy the next book, then we got a problem

  9. Right there with you. It's when it just pitches book two that I'm like hmmmm you just want me to spend more, eh? Great thoughts!

  10. hahaha evil cliffhanger numero uno for me is MARA. Have you read it?

  11. I'm glad you like it! And trust me...MARA feels like it's complete and then it's just like BOOM!!! It's intense. You MUST read it!

  12. HA! ME TOO! Demonglass left me feeling empty haha I don't know that I even got anything out of it lol

  13. That it does. A good cliffhanger keeps me waiting with baited breath :)

  14. I hear you. I think the sequel thing is my main issue. If the whole purpose of book one was to leave me hanging and waiting for book two...then I'm a bit displeased lol

  15.  Oh, yes. That was another really good one. :)

  16. They are EVIL and good. The good ones make me want more, but I can survive waiting. The evil ones makes me want to rip out all of my hair and scream. i can't wait and cos of that I wait longer since I forget about it

  17. I only would like cliffhangers obviously if it serves a purpose, and also if they give you enough information to actually want to pick up the second book. There are some books that don't do that - they just give you a cliffhanger just to give you one, without any sort of basis.

  18. I usually like cliffhangers if there is a sequel to the book, but Pandemonium (Delirium #2) made me so angry I wanted to throw the book lol.  

  19. You already know that I don't love cliffhangers. I'm still scared to pieces over Delirium and Pandemonium. You said yourself Pandemonium was deadly. But I am having such a fit to KNOW what everyone else does. But I don't want to end up hating the books. AAAUUUGHHGAHdflaksdjfl;kjasdf;lkjsad!!!!! 

    I just needed to come back here and get that off my chest. I know Friday is OVER. But still...   ;) 


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! I always do my very best to return the favour :)

Please note that this blog is an award-free zone!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It button on image hover