Not him, please not him, is the mantra that plays over and over in my head.
|Harry Potter fangirl here, expect more of these|
That's not the ending to any real book, just something generic I wrote to prove a point, but if you're a fan of modern-day YA, especially fantasy/dystopian, you know exactly what point I'm trying to prove with this. If you're as big of a book addict as me, your heart has been cut from your chest, stomped on, thrown back in, then left in a gaping hole for a year before the sequel that sows you back up and makes you whole again.
Well, you know. Unless that one ends on a cliffhanger, too. *cough* Days Of Blood And Starlight, Everbound, Catching Fire *cough* (I love those books, but they wreaked havoc on my innards.)
Have you noticed the differences between today's Young Adult books and those of ten years ago? YA is dominating the book world, it seems, reeling in more and more reluctant readers with fantastical worlds, swoony romance, and accessibility. Trends are being capitalized on and overdone (hence this weekly feature), and in doing so, they're changing the very face of YA. One of the most annoying, sometimes agonizing trends is the dreaded cliffhanger ending.
Remember the days of Hogwarts? Magic wands, Voldemort, Quidditch and gentle half-giants? Those books ended nicely and satisfyingly - for the most part - yet had teens and adults alike raiding stores on every release day since The Chamber Of Secrets. So why do writers today seem to think they need to torture their readers with incomplete endings to get them to come back for more? Shouldn't quality of the writing and story be enough? I can't tell you how many times I've read a book that came to a very satisfying conclusion while still leaving me wanting more, only to continue on with one extra chapter or epilogue that shatters any sense of resolution and leaves me in a state of shock and impatient waiting for months, if not longer.
To those authors, I have one simple, burning question; Why?
It's not like I won't continue with the series if my heart hasn't been indefinitely lodged in my throat with the ending, not if I love the books. And I also won't continue a series I don't love just because of a cliffhanger ending. I haven't met a single person who does base their series continuance on a cliffhanger, and several who are just so sick of it by now they refuse to read the next book after a bad enough hanger just for principle's sake, so what's the point?
But that's not even what has me so aggravated with this trend that I'm calling it an epidemic. It's not the regular cliffhangers that have me stomping around like an angry ogre. It's the extra-strength, screw-you cliffies that have that result. The books that don't simply leave something big open; the books that leave everything open. The ones that, whatever they like to tell themselves and their readers, do not end.
I won't name-drop any series' (serieses? Seri? O.o), but I have been plagued with these books lately! It's gotten to the point where I'm afraid to start a new series before all the books have been released, because I'm just too sick of getting invested in a story that ends mid-scene and makes me wait a whole year to find out if one of my favorite characters really did die, or if the hot guy really is in cahoots with the man bad dude. I don't even understand how that's good marketing, to be honest, because instead of drawing in new readers, they're pushing us away.
I could rant about this for pages, but no one wants to read all that, so I'll end this with a simple reminder of what a book is; A book is a complete story arc, which means it has a beginning, middle, and end. There can be a larger issue left unresolved for later books in the series, but not the whole damn story.
Are you as fed up with the new screw-you brand of cliffhanger as I am? What are some recent reads that kept you riveted, but left you hanging mercilessly at the end? Let me know in the comments! <3