I’m near the end of a new book, and I sincerely hope it ends when it ends. Cliffhangers can be good, but right now I can do without them.
Patrick Ness wrote one with his The Knife of Never Letting Go. There was a blog in the Guardian about his book and cliffhangers in general, a couple of weeks ago. It seems that his cliffhanger is followed by a new book out now, that is also a cliffhanger. Aargh…
If Patrick’s second book had been to hand at the end of book one, I would have reached for it. His cliffhanger is very cliffhangery. But now, I’m not sure. It’s not that I don’t want to, but my urge has subsided. And I seem to have had a narrow escape by not reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, which was very, very highly praised my my young reviewers last year. Their wait is not over yet.
It must be tempting to end a book, leaving the reader hanging on for dear life, and they’ll come back and buy the next book, too. But will they?
I know we all waited for Harry Potter. But he wasn’t about cliffhangers. And the waiting worked best for adults and those children who began at the right age. Twelve to eighteen months is a lifetime for the really young. For the older ones, they may well have moved on to other reading by the time the sequel turns up.
The reason I’m concerned about my current read, is that among the comments from young readers printed in my proof copy, there is a wish for more. To my thinking, this story has to end here. In the ‘disaster’ genre, you don’t want a new disaster next year for any surviving characters.
Or do you?