Lola’s Rambings is a feature on Lola’s Review where I talk about me. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like blog tours, book blitzes, cover reveals or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are are personal discussions of a certain topic. Sometimes about book related topics and sometimes about non-book related topics. This feature was previously known as About Me. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Design.
So while I am talking about series and standalones and how books ends these week, I thought it would be interesting to addres cliffhanger today. Nowadays a lot of books in series seem to end in cliffhangers. This mostly applies to book in a series, except for the last book. I know lots of people hate cliffhangers, but I have to admit I like them when done well. So today I am going to show what I like and dislike about cliffhanger endings and why.
Why I like cliffhanger endings
- Can build excitement for next book. I think an cliffhanger can build excitement for the next book. As you want to know what’s going to happen next and sometimes with a cliffhanger ending I feel more excited for the next book and thus more likely to read or buy that book. Which is exactly what an author wants, so I think cliffhanger ending can work that way.
- Encourage to read the next book. I think that the almost natural reaction to a cliffhanger is wanting to know what happens next and starting the next book. I see this often with chapters that end in a small cliffhanger, I don’t even think of stopping and just turn the page to the next chapter and continue reading. So I think that cliffhanger endings can serve to encourage readers to read the next book as they want to know what happens next, that while if things are wrapped up nicely it’s easier to put down the series. I have to say that this doens’t always work. For example the Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver I still haven’t read the next book and I didn’t like that cliffhanger ending.
- Easy to remember. This might sound like a weird argument for cliffhanger endings, but I think it can be an important one. Sometimes when I start a new book I have a hard time remembering what happened in the last book and with a cliffhanger ending I usually remember the ending pretty well. While with other endings that might be less soo, depending on the book ofcourse. So I think cliffhanger endings are often easier to remember than other endings and make starting the next book easier. If you ask me which endings of books I remember those are mostly series endings or cliffhangers. Even though I might not remember a lot of details about a book that cliffhanger ending is still there in my memory, I find them very memorable and I think that might be a good thing. If you think back to a book and you remember nothing it’s hard to get excited for the next book, while if you do remember something it’s easier to get excited for the next book and wonder what’s happening next. I remember very little about most book endings that aren’t cliffhangers or it’s more vague, while with a cliffhanger ending the end scene is pretty clear in my head.
- Nice alternative and different to ending that wrap things up. I feel that endings usually fall into two categories: wrapping (sub)plot up while leaving room for the next book or a cliffhanger ending. I think for some books wrapping things up and finding a nice place to end that book doesn’t work, but the author still has to end the book, somewhere. Then I prefer a cliffhanger ending over an ending where the book just stops. I also think it’s nice to have books end in a different way, if every book ended in the same way it would be boring, so I think cliffhanger endings add some variation to book endings.
- Makes the series feel more like one big story. With a cliffhanger ending I feel that the whole series feels more continous, with wrapping up I often feel like each book is a seperate entity while also being part of ta larger story and while I like series like that, I also like cliffhangers for giving a different feel to series. And how it more feels like the story continues in the next book instead of starting a new subplot.
So I like cliffhanger endings, but I also have to say they have to be done well. I don’t like cliffhanger endings for the sake of having a cliffhanger or cliffhanger endings that don’t really matter. I think the cliffhanger ending has to fit the book, the cliffhanger ending has to feel natural for that book. I don’t like it when the book gets dragged out, just so it can end in a cliffhanger. The cliffhanger needs to be interesting and make me excited for the next book. I also like it when the wait for the next book isn’t too long or the next book is already out. It’s easier dealing with a cliffhanger ending when the wait isn’t too long or you can just start the next book.
Why I dislike cliffhanger endings
- Frustrating. Cliffhanger endings are frustrating, I want to know what happens next, not having to wait on the next book to find out. They frustrate me as I feel like we’re left hanging. We got part of the story, but have to buy the next book if we want to know what happens next. And sometimes that frustrates me so much that I don’t read the next book at all.
- Feels abrupt. I often feel that cliffhanger ending feel a bit like an abrupt ending to a book, I like it when the reader is more eased into the ending and you can feel the ending coming instead of just knowing the book has to end soon because you see you’re almost at the end of the amount of pages. Often cliffhangers make for a sudden ending, sometimes seemingly in the middle of a story.
- Negative emotions. I think because of the frustrating you can come to associate those negative emotions with that book or series and that isn’t good.
- Can make me less likely to read the next book. Sometimes cliffhanger endings bother me so much I am less likely to read the next book compared to when things would’ve wrapped up more nicely.
- Hard to wait for the next book. Cliffhanger ending make me impatient for the next book and that makes it hard to wait for the next book in the series and the wait can feel very long.
- Feels like a way of authors to ensure readers buy the next book. Sometimes it feels like authors use cliffhangers just so reader will buy or read the next book and I dislike that. I want to pick up the next book because I like the series, not because I feel forced to because I have to know what happens after the cliffhanger.
- Sometimes they feel fake or unrealistic/ unnatural. I often feel like a cliffhanger ending isn’t the most natural way to end a book. it’s like stopping a story in the middle of a scene or dragging the plot on so it can end in a cliffhanger. And I dislike it when an ending feels fake or unnatural. This certainly isn’t the case with all cliffhanger endings, but quite often it does. I often feel like ending the book before the cliffhanger scene or a bit later would make for a more natural ending.
So I also think cliffhangers endings can be frustrating and while I might not dislike them as much as some other readers out there, I certainly think that there are better ways to end a book in some cases. A cliffhanger ending can work well, but it can also ruin the ending.
Which do I prefer cliffhanger or no cliffhanger?
So while I like and dislike cliffhanger endings at the same time, I general I prefer non-ciffhanger endings to cliffhanger endings. I don’t like it when the story ends abrubtly and being left hanging waiting for the next book. An ending that wraps thing up and still leaves things openmakes the wait for the next book easier. Having said that I think cliffhanger endings really work for some books, for example I really liked the cliffhanger endings in the True Calling series by Siobhan Davis and those cliffhanger endings made me more excited for the next book and luckily the wait wasn’t too long to have that excitement diminished again. Then again I also like it when each book in a series wraps up the subplot and leaves still enough room for the next book in the series, like Jennifer Estep her Mythos Academy series or Emmma L. Adams her Adamant series for example. Each of the books in those series wraps up the sub plot for that book, while there is also an overarching plot line for the whole series. So I generally prefer non cliffhanger ending, but I also think a cliffhanger ending can be done well.