Take Jodi Picoult. She's an excellent and a talented writer; but she changes the story in the last chapter of every one of her books, turning each story on its head with a surprise "twist" at the end. To me, that feels like she betrayed my trust in her: I stopped reading her books, because what's the point in getting emotionally invested in a story that you know will all change in the last chapter? You can't go the whole way through a book claiming that X is true, and in the last chapter find out that X is all lies (unless it's a mystery/detective/thriller).
I think cliffhangers betray a reader's trust as well. I like books to be standalone books, regardless of whether they're part of a series. I like to be able to read a book in a series, and not need to get the next one to find out how the hero/heroine gets themselves out of the predicament that arose at the end of the book.
Take Juliet Marillier. She's my favourite author, and combines well-researched historical settings with great fantasy details, stirring romances and characters that pull at my heart-strings. I buy every book she's released — I even pre-ordered her most recent release, a first for me.
Juliet Marillier writes a lot of series.
But her books are complete in and of themselves.
When an author ends on a cliffhanger, to me it feels like they're trying to blackmail me into reading the next book. You care about this character now, don't you? Well, look what's happened! Mwaahahahahaa! Now you must read the next book, or you'll never know!
I buy Juliet Marillier's books, not because she blackmails me into feeling I "need" to find out what happens next, but because I love the richness of her writing, her characters, her worlds.
If a book ends on a cliffhanger, I might buy the next one in the series. I might read until the series ends. But I'll have a grudge against that author, and it's less likely I'll buy anything else they've written, because I don't want to be blackmailed again.
Does anyone else ever feel like this?