So, now that SPELLCASTER has been out in the world for a couple of weeks, I’ve heard feedback from readers — most of it happy, thank goodness! — but there’s one thing that keeps coming up that I have to admit I don’t see at all. Several reviewers have said that SPELLCASTER ends on a cliffhanger. To which I have to ask — really? Does that count as a cliffhanger?
** POTENTIAL SPOILERS AFTER THIS POINT OBVIOUSLY**
I am an author who has written cliffhangers before, as those of you who have read HOURGLASS know. I live on your tears. I am without mercy and possibly without common humanity. (At least, when it comes to ending books. Day to day I am perfectly fine, at least if you are not between me and coffee, which frankly is a risk you took on yourself and for which I think I can’t be blamed.) Will I go there? Yes, I will.
And the thing is, I love cliffhangers, not just as an author but as a reader and viewer, too. The first cliffhanger that stole a shred of my soul was the third-season finale of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” which was back in the days before shows that weren’t soaps even did cliffhangers. We weren’t expecting it. At all. It just came along, and the ride we thought we were on was a roller coaster, and my friends and I actually sat there screaming at the TV for something like 5 minutes after it ended. Horrifying! And I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world. Some of my favorite endings for books and TV seasons since have been cliffhangers of the most daring variety: CATCHING FIRE, or the third season of “Lost”, or pretty much every single episode of the first season of “Alias.”
So as both a creator and fan of cliffhangers, I feel like, well, I know one when I see one. And I don’t think the ending of SPELLCASTER qualifies. No, not everything is completely resolved at the end, and you should have a very good idea of exactly what kind of mayhem is going to break out next. However, the core elements of the story are resolved. Nobody’s life hangs in the balance. We know where things stand romantically. Etc. The loose strings are just there to signal that, yes, STEADFAST is coming (March 2014!)
But I don’t know – maybe I’m too close to it. What do you guys think? If you’ve read SPELLCASTER, would you say it ends on a cliffhanger or not? And what cliffhangers have you loved (or not loved) over the years?