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Should your books come with a warning label? Should the publisher or author post it right on the front cover that you are heading for dangerous waters and need a puffy orange life jacket to navigate the rapids ahead? I think so. Definitely in the case of New York Times bestselling author Karen Marie Moning‘s urban fantasy Fever series.
I started off the series innocently enough. I’ve been putting off reading them as I am writing a fae fantasy romance series, Tales of the Black Court, and I haven’t wanted to mix up my world building. But my fae romance world is holding steady, I have The Dark Huntsman finished and Prince By Blood and Bone in a complete rough draft, so I decided to treat myself. Thank romance that I waited until her entire series was finished because even though I loved every page there are some major cliffhangers!
Book one, Dark Fever, was complete in itself. I enjoyed it. Dark and with some nice twists on the fae that I appreciated it made me anxious to read the next book, but I didn’t feel like I was left suspended. Not so with book two, Blood Fever. Blood Fever left me hanging by my fingers, heading for a drop. But, once again, I could handle it. Luckily I had book three, Fae Fever ready to go, so I didn’t feel too cheated.
But then I read Fae Fever and was left not just heading towards the rapids, but swimming without a life vest in the dark waters with the sound of the rapids dead ahead.
I’m lucky. This series is complete and I’m able to read the books one after another, but I can imagine how upset readers were with having to wait for the next book, and the next one, because I am assured that Dream Fever also has an ending that makes you want to turn the page… but there is no page to turn.
I asked this question on an author’s loop that I am a member of: do you leave cliff hangers at the end of a book that is part of a series? Does this upset your readers?
The answer yes- readers get upset. Don’t to it. Unless…
Unless you have the next book ready to go and can get it to your readers hot, anxious, sweaty hands in record time. And don’t do it in romance. I have to agree. If your book is a romance, like my books, the relationship should not end on a cliffhanger. Once you do that you are out of the romance category and into something else. Urban fantasy, mystery series, maybe even serial women’s fiction…if there is such a thing. HEAs (Happily Ever Afters) are essential for romance. Or at least HFNs (Happy For Now).
But what about series threads? Can you have a cliffhanger in a romance series thread?
The consensus was not a cliffhanger, per se, but definitely leave some dangling threads.
In the Tales from the Black Court, that’s what I’ve done. I’ve kept some suspense throughout the series, but no romance cliffhangers. All my couples get there HEA or at least an HFN. What about you?
Do you love cliffhangers? Karen Marie Moning has made it work for her. Her Fever series is very popular and fans raced out to buy Shadow Fever and find out what happens in the end of the series. And I have to admit, I loved her writing. I can’t wait to find out what happens and it woldn’t deter me from reading more of her books. But I might delay. Just in case.
Would you keep reading a series that left you scrabbling by your fingertips? Or would you get mad and give up? Have you ever been stuck waiting a year for a book that left you hanging?
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