You’re reading a good book; you care about the characters, you feel with them, and you are completely immersed in their world, empathetic to their problems. Great. But then you are beginning to run out of pages and the climax is yet to happen, or worse, there’s a major plot twist after the climax and then BAM, see you later. Except with novels, see you later is a long while. It’s not like you can mutter something under your breath and continu the next day. You’re launched out of the story and it will be a while before you can return. Unless the books have already been written, of course.
I believe that’s a shame. There’s a difference between giving hints (or even creating new problems that have to be dealt with in a later novel) and leaving the reader hanging. If a reader has invested in the story, then the reader wants something back, some sort of satisfactory conclusion to reward the emotional investment.
This is why I hate cliffhangers. Unless done extremely well (I have yet to encounter someone who does that), it leaves you feeling betrayed. And a betrayed reader is an unhappy reader. What do you think? Do you hate cliffhangers? Have you encountered someone who does it in such a way that you don’t care, of perhaps even prefer it? Please share.