Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Caution **spoilers ahead**

I'm a book review reader. Not just reviews of my own book, but in general. Reviewers are, of course, a generally intelligent bunch of individuals, no matter whether they write for a published journal, a blog, or simply post on a retail site or on Goodreads. I usually find reading their thoughts stimulating and enjoyable.

Here's one thing that I've always appreciated and respected in book reviews: the convention of marking spoilers as such, and even hiding them from view unless someone chooses to click on the jump/link/hidden text and read.

Because if reviews really are for readers, as they're supposed to be, it's a bit rude to just come out and say [spoiler ahead! highlight to read!] BRUCE WILLIS WAS DEAD THE WHOLE TIME, right?

Regarding SANCTUM, like many books, it has an ending that's unexpected. Many readers have commented about it in very general terms, and I love that. And I'm grateful that they let other readers experience that same thing for themselves.

What I don't love: A review that flat-out says (without the spoiler warning) something like: "At the end of the book, Malachi and Lela [highlight to read] come on now, people. You didn't really think I'd tell you that, did you?!? And that's how it goes."

(To be clear: I'm not talking about one review of SANCTUM in particular, and not even only about reviews of SANCTUM, just using it as an example)

But anyway, to all reviewers out there: I adore you. And I respect your right to do what you do. If you feel like your critique of a book would simply not be complete or coherent without revealing specific details of plot twists, etc., go ahead--just mark them clearly! [If revealing the details isn't necessary for the review, may I suggest you leave them out or speak of them only in the most general of terms?] It gives your fellow readers the choice--whether they want to be spoiled or not. It's the polite thing to do.

</rant>

 What do you guys think of spoilers? How do you define "spoiler," and what kinds of things should be marked as spoilers? What can be included without that kind of warning? Laying out the ending is obvious (or should be?), but what about all that stuff in between? And--do you read spoilers? Do they enhance your enjoyment or ... spoil it?

12 comments:

  1. I don't get it either -- why any reviewer would spoil the ending of a book in a review or give away a major secret. But I've seen it done lots of times. There are one or two spoiler reviews of my book on Goodreads, and a friend of mine had a spoiler review (which was also negative) written by a major review service and plastered across the top of her Amazon page. I can't recall if it was Booklist or Kirkus, but any reviewer for those entities ought to have known better!

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  2. I think it's common courtesy to give a spoiler alert. Why would anyone want to ruin someone else's reading pleasure? I've often had to tell my friends to 'shush' when they're telling me about a movie they've seen and almost giving the ending away. They look like scolded puppies when I do this because they're so excited to blurt their review of the movie, but I have to remind them that I'd like the same viewing pleasure too.

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  3. *snort* You cracked me up with your secret 'non-spoilers' spoilers.

    Part of the reason I don't read reviews is that I'm afraid someone will give something away that I don't want to know before reading the book. Sometimes the info isn't a big deal, but I still feel cheated if I read it before reading the story. And why bother with spoilers to begin with. I don't want to read them before I've read the book. And I'm not getting into a discussion online about what happened after I read it. I save that for my friends who have also read the book. And we chat in private, so not to ruin things for anyone else.

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  4. I'm such a spoilerphobe that I don't even read the back blurbs on the books themselves! Normally, I only seek reviews AFTER finishes a book. It's totally like a one-sided conversation with a ton of people about their thoughts on the book. I wouldn't dare read a review beforehand. Ever. (If someone whose taste in literature appeals to me writes one, then I'll simply check out the title based on the fact that the person took the time to do the review in the first place. And then, I'll go and read the review afterward. ...Maybe I'm just weird.)

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  5. Spoilers are no fun. I avoid reading reviews that use them.

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  6. I'm with you. I don't like spoilers. I mean, it doesn't always ruin the story for me, but when someone tells me what's going to happen ahead of time it robs me of that discovery for myself. Not cool.

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  7. I agree; folks shouldn't spoil the book for other people.

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  8. I tend to avoid book blurbs because (while I want to know what the book is about) I want to be surprised. I'll often read the first chapter. If I'm not pulled in by that, then I put the book down. Therefore, spoilers SUCK. ;)

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  9. I read reviews written by bloggers that I trust, but otherwise I steer clear. I'd rather decide for myself.

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  10. I love you, Sarah! <3 I DESPISE spoilers and try to avoid them in a review. The only reviews I tend to somewhat spoil are negative ones to explain why I had a negative reaction to the book. And I always give warnings if they're coming up out of obligation because I HATE it when a book that I'm thinking about reading has an ending that I now know and shouldn't even bother with reading anymore.

    Great post <3

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  11. I'm a book review reader too. I like to know what other people are thinking both before and after I read a book, especially if they make observations I missed. But I HATE it when I accidentally stumble on a spoiler that ruins the entire book. WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS? Of course, some people are just jerks who think if they hate a book, EVERYONE SHOULD HATE IT TOO so they toss out spoilers without regard to those readers who might *shock* disagree with them.

    But some people just like spoiling others b/c they think it's funny. I call them asshats.

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  12. I'm really, really anti-spoiler. I love how some places like Goodreads can hide the spoiler so you have to actively click on something to make it show up. Otherwise, I think it's poor form from a reviewer perspective to give away plot twists like that.

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