Posted on March 26, 2013

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?


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?

6 Responses to “Cliffhanger?”

  1. Tenisha

    First of all my gosh I love spellcaster it was so amazing! I’ve added Mateo to my list of fictional boyfriends. I love Nadia and Verlaine(especially her name it’s beautiful and suits her personality perfectly). I don’t think spellcaster ended on a cliffhanger I think it was a perfect ending because no it wasn’t quite finished as you left some loose strings but that’s the point. If it was a perfect ending would you be as eager to read the next book? I am in love with this new series and can not wait for steadfast! Thank you for being so fantastically AWESOME Claudia!

    • claudia

      Though of course I’m happy you agree it wasn’t a cliffhanger, mostly I am thrilled you enjoyed SPELLCASTER, and that you can’t wait to see more for Nadia, Mateo and Verlaine. Thanks so much for letting me know!

  2. Nancy Kelley

    Nope, not a cliffhanger. Nadia’s not in a grave with a ticking nuclear bomb, Verlaine didn’t just find a hatch on an island, and Mateo didn’t jump off a building to fake his death.

    Spellcaster (which was amazing!!!!) ended exactly the way a first book should: with the hero thinking she’s achieved her goal, and the villain knowing she has. It leaves the reader NEEDING to know the rest of the story, because we can tell there’s so much more than Nadia, Mateo, and Verlaine know, but it didn’t leave us in the middle of a scene.

    • claudia

      You know the way to my heart is through JJ Abrams references. 😀

      So thrilled you enjoyed SPELLCASTER, ending and all!

  3. Sheree Gibson

    I absolutely loved this book!! I literally couldn’t put it down, i stayed up until horrible hours of the morning to finish it and then instantly had to find out if you were writing a sequel. And im so glad you are! 😀 I must say its a slight cliffhanger. Not enough of one to leave me horrified and anxious to know what happens next but enough to make me want more ;).
    I love your work, keep doing it 🙂

    • claudia

      OK, one vote for cliffhanger (though slight.) So delighted that you enjoyed it so much! 🙂