Waiting on Wednesday--Sacred Scars, by Kathleen Duey and thoughts on cliffhanging

Reaching the end of Kathleen Duey's great book, Skin Hunger, is tantamount to galloping along with the rest of your buffalo herd and then, whoops! You've just been driven over a cliff, and suddenly you are falling....This is perhaps a bad metaphor, but "cliffhanger" doesn't do this ending justice.

Anyway. The sequel to Skin Hunger, Sacred Scars (A Resurrection of Magic, Book 2) will be out August 4, 2009, and can be pre-ordered now! I am glad to know in advance what I will be re-reading on August 2nd.

Another cliffhanger that I read this past year was The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness. But that was more of the author yanking the reader's chain by introducing the cliffhanger in the last few paragraphs. In the more nuanced version, it is clear that the writer has to end somewhere because there are limits (Skin Hunger and The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss, being examples of this. Waxing metaphorical again, I found reaching the ending of later more like giving in and going to bed at three in the morning, leaving half of the book unread. Perhaps this more gentle reaction on my part stems from knowing where the main character is going to end up, although not knowing how or why).

Ideally, of course, every book should give closure. Megan Whalen Turner, for instance, manages to make every book of her Queen's Thief series End, while making each one a continuation of what came before. Another book I read recently, Laini Taylor's Blackbringer, Ends, while making it clear that there is room for more (Silksinger, coming soon).
But I am sure that Kathleen Duey and Patrick Rothfuss both felt rather cliffhung themselves, and will be very glad themselves when the books are finished. I am not angry, nor do I cast blame. I just want the next books....(I do not claim to know what Patrick Ness thinks. I am still sore).


  1. Kathleen Duey really did almost kill me there. I was dying to know what happened. Oy.

    I'm scared to start The Knife of Never Letting Go; I have heard the howls from all ends of the earth...!

  2. I do like cliffhangers, i think they are fun and thrilling as long as I can get a hold of the next book.

  3. Oh, I'm so glad to know this, as Skin Hunger is sitting on my night stand. Now I will wait till late summer to read it. Nevermind that it's likely I'll be in labor on its release date :-)

    I only like cliffhangers if the entire series is complete. Knife was a killer, but I was already pretty destroyed by that book by the ending.

    Name of the Wind and say, Lamplighter, aren't so much cliffhangers as "to be continued" -- they don't leave you totally dangling.

    The book I'm writing now kind of wants to be long, and I've debated a LOT about whether I should set out to make it a trilogy, but it would be the kind of trilogy a la LOTR, where it's really one book split in 3, and I'd much rather have it be one satisfying book. I don't know what will happen with it -- ultimately, I suppose, the length will be a major factor, and whatever the [eventual publisher] has to say about it. For now I'll just try to write the story.

  4. I'm generally unhappy with a cliffhanger ending--but I've put Skin Hunger on my list regardless. Have you read of Duey's unicorn books (for younger readers), though? I have a small Unicorn Team member in my family who's in need of something suitable to read (or be read to).

  5. Well, Skin Hunger is really really good, so it's well worth reading even without the next book.

    It is very good, Laini, to have a stack of very engrossing books on hand to read while feeding a new baby. That way you can read for pleasure, while still doing something productive...

    I've never read Duey's Unicorn books, but if you do, let me know how they are!

  6. I have The Knife of Never Letting Go on my TBR pile. I just haven't read it yet. Skin Hunger looks good, but I will probably wait until closer to the next book coming out to get a copy!

  7. That's why I'm not starting Skin Hunger until Sacred Scars is in my hands.


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