What's Your Idea Of A Cliffhanger?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Authors are evil. Yes, they are. Don't you dare deny it. They write about marvellous characters, and then they go on to ruthlessly torture those characters, break apart your OTP, rip your heart to pieces, and leave you with a mind-boggling CLIFFHANGER, they cackle with sadistic mirth as we poor fangirls attempt to stitch our hearts back together and are currently scheming on taking over the world.*

*The last two have not yet been confirmed, NOR DENIED.

Have I convinced you of their utter ruthlessness yet?

Anyway, the evilness of authors aside, let's talk about the cliffhangers.

Cliffhangers seem to be getting rapidly popular as a way of ending books. It's actually quite popular with the readers, too. (Come on, admit it. You LIKE that feeling of utter devastation as you close a book and you realise you have to actually WAIT for the next one. Every bookworm is masochist at heart.)

But here's my theory (and our discussion topic for today): I think that different people perceive endings in different ways. What I might think as a cliffhanger, you might actually find to be a nice, safe ending.

Example: take Red Rising. I actually thought that ending wasn't all too bad. No one was on the verge of death, my OTP wasn't being ripped apart, the planet didn't have an imminent threat of destruction, and NO ONE WAS LITERALLY HANGING OFF A CLIFF ON THE VERGE OF FALLING INTO HELL. (You know which author I'm talking about.)

But some people classified the ending as a cliffhanger.

So I think that the way everyone perceives a "cliffhanger" is different.

Of course, you have the obvious cliffhangers, like in most Rick Riordan books, The Winner's Crime, and The Wrath And The Dawn (though I'm not sure about the last one because I haven't read it!). But sometimes, I think that how "bad" a cliffhanger is changes from person to person.

For me, it's a cliffhanger ending when I get a certain feeling from the book. It's that feeling that makes your heartbeat speed up, makes your muscles tighten with expectation and and your heart just goes BAM! because NOOO, IT CAN'T STOP THERE!! I think a you could get a similar feeling if you were thrown off a roller coaster going at maximum speed. (No, do NOT try this at home, folks).

It really doesn't matter to me if there are any loose ends, any questions unanswered, or even if any plot twist is suddenly exposed, right at the end (although the last one is annoying). As long as all my characters are safe for the time being, physically AND emotionally, I'm fine with that ending. It's not a cliffhanger for me.

But how another person might define a cliffhanger might be different, and I really want to know if my theory's right, or I'm just jaded with the hundreds of cliffhangers I've been exposed to!

I asked around, here are some books that had cliffhangers for some people:

Catching Fire
The Darkest Minds
Red Rising
The Wrath and The Dawn
Prodigy (Legend Book #2)
Mark of Athena

do you agree with them? do you agree with ME?? do you really think that cliffhangers are different to different people, or am i just a deluded sadist? what books do YOU think have the worst cliffhangers? what does a cliffhanger mean to you? i really wanna know!

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