Friday, April 29, 2011

How High the Cliff?


So, today Stacie and I thought we'd discuss something we've been seeing a lot of lately and get your thoughts on it: the cliffhanger ending.

Many of the books we read are actually series. And that's great! Because it means more of the characters we love! But what we love MORE is feeling the need to read the next book BECAUSE WE LOVE THE CHARACTER, not because we feel tricked into it because of the cliffhanger.

So very true. I like for things to be wrapped up, at least a little bit, while waiting for the next book. It's not like a sitcom where we only have to wait a week - we usually have to wait at least a year!

Exactly. I think the biggest problem with a cliffhanger ending isn't so much the wait as it is that I end up feeling like I paid for half of a book. The story needs to have SOME resolution.

Agreed. I'm all for a little cliffhanger action, so long as the major action in the book I've read has a resolution of some sort.

So, Acceptable Cliffhangers: Will the hot boy kiss her AGAIN? Does the big bad guy come back? Will the OTHER hot boy kiss her at all? Will her parents find out she snuck out to see hot boy? NOT ACCEPTABLE CLIFFHANGERS: MC's destiny will forever be shaped by this ONE EVENT THAT… you don't get to find out about until next book.

Timeless by Alexandra Monir actually did it well because there was resolution and I thought everything was finished, wrapped up with a pretty bow, and then WHAM. Cliffhanger. So, there was SOME resolution, but she set up the next book in a dramatic fashion.

I think Harry Potter did a great job of not leaving giant cliffhangers, and yet there was an incredible draw to always read the next book. I don't feel like the author has to beat me over the head with the drama to get me to read.

HP is an excellent example. Of course, those books followed a formula, so the reader knew there would be resolution. I think formulaic series (is that a term? it is now) are better at avoiding the cliffhanger.

And what do you think about The Hunger Games series? I remember my jaw dropping at the end of the first book - I had no idea I was reading a series. I immediately got up and checked to see when the next book would be coming out. But, I wasn't mad about the way the book was finished, just dying for more.

I actually think each book in The Hunger Games followed it's own arc and so it was okay. The main conflict was the particular set of games and those were resolved, for the most part. The cliffhangers were about the more emotional and political aspects of the books.

I agree. Leaving some things 'undone' is completely understandable and I actually like that, but when EVERYTHING is left to question - that is when I want to throw the book.

Ah, well, I guess we expect SOME cliffhangery-ness. Our beef is with the height of the cliff.

That's perfect! I'm okay with a short cliff, and even still with a medium sized cliff. But looming cliffs that have no view of the ground? That's when I want to throw the book.... off the cliff.

What about you all? How his is too high for your cliffhangery-ness? Do you love them, hate them, want to throw books too? Do tell!