The difficult thing with a series of novels is that a cliffhanger at the end of the early books can be a bit old hat. It stands to reason that whatever perilous situation the central character faces will be escapable, otherwise book numbers two and three would be very disappointing. Obviously, this is not exhaustive, as we have learned from Ned Stark.
What often entices the reader back for more is the need for answers and expansion. The first book in Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen trilogy offered cliffhangers of vengeance, which aside from anything else sounds like a great name for a thrash-metal band.
We have already been through so much with Mare, the ordinary girl from the slums who finds herself with the superpowers of the silver-blooded nobility. Glass Sword catches up with her a few hours after the treacherous events of Red Queen, an outlaw and top of Norta’s most-wanted list.
The poor girl must be cream crackered after all the fighting and flinging of her special electrical powers, but like a trooper she presses on. Mare learns through the Scarlet Guard rebellion that she is not the only blood mutation, and decides to set up her own Twilight-esque army of newbloods. She just has to find them before the new Silver King (who is also incidentally, her ex-boyfriend) does, and he is mightily put out that she has a) escaped alive, and b) has done so with his brother.
It is high-adrenaline stuff, and the action is exciting in a merry-go-round kind of way, but the double crossing and duplicity is the real loop-the-loop, awesome roller-coaster star attraction.
It’s the perfect way to induct young adult readers into treacherous and bloodthirsty fantasy fiction.