Bookish Frustrations: Cliffhangers

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While I’ve loved reading for my entire life, this doesn’t stop me from becoming frustrated with books, for different reasons. Today, I am going to explore (or rant about, that might a more appropriate definition) cliffhangers.

Cliffhangers have become nearly mandatory, the way I see it. There are so many books ending in cliffhangers, that it’s become annoying. On the one hand, I understand that it is a mechanism to make the reader come back for the next book. On the other hand, if I read a given book that ends in a cliffhanger and the sequel comes out only a year later, I will not be able to remember what the cliffhanger was about nor why was it so critical.

I might be wrong, but I somehow feel that cliffhangers are not exactly necessary. If the characters are interesting, and the world building and plot are well developed, I am going to read the sequel, cliffhanger or no cliffhanger. In fact, I much prefer it when a book has a relatively conclusive ending and then starts with some sort of recap, than when it ends in a cliffhanger and the sequel picks right up. It makes for a confused me at the start of a sequel.

This has happened several times, and I was forced, at least once, to resort to Wikipedia for a recap of the previous book. I know that some people have great memories and can remember book details long after they’ve read them, but that’s not me. I can remember whether or not I liked it and the general plot. I hardly ever can remember why I thought that cliffhanger was so momentous (sometimes, I even forget that there was a cliffhanger, to be honest).

Case in point? Evertrue, by Brody Ashton. Everbound seems to have finished with a momentous revelation. And I’ve started the final book in this series some days ago, without a clue as to what was going on. In this case, it was easy to infer what was happening, but that’s not always the case. I knew I was going to read the book because I liked the characters, the world building and the plot. The cliffhanger made no difference in that. The opposite is also true: if I don’t like the book, the cliffhanger alone will not be a strong enough reason for me to keep reading that series.

So, in my opinion, if an author wants to end with a cliffhanger, that’s her choice and I have nothing to do with it. But then, could she pretty please do some sort of recap for her forgetful readers?

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