Hello, people of the internet!
Whenever I look up reviews about books I am interested in, I tend to find two types of reviews: ones that talk about spoilers and ones that dare not even mention them. They are both equally good reviews, but it does leave me wondering this:
Should book reviews talk about spoilers?
Here is what I think!
There are pros and cons for both parties as talking about spoilers – such as plot twists – can alter, and even ruin, reading experiences for those who don’t want any spoilers (for example, I would have enjoyed Gone Girl more if it wasn’t spoilt for me), but there are cases where discussing spoilers is an essential part of a review, especially if it is a bad plot twist.
Whenever I write reviews for my blog, I decide whether or not it is important for me to talk about any spoilers in my review, especially if a spoiler actually spoilt (ha) the book in any way. I have read books in the past where I had spent so many hours getting to know the characters, following the plot and getting emotionally invested when something, like a plot twist, ruins the whole reading experience and even makes the whole experience turn sour. So when I review them, I warn of spoilers before I begin, and then discuss why that plot twist didn’t work – either because it came out of nowhere, it didn’t fit with the atmosphere of the book, etc. The last thing I would want to do is to potentially give other readers the chance to be as disappointed as I was just because I didn’t talk about spoilers.
However, if a spoiler is at least good, I don’t talk about them in such detail. I say that any twists and turns in the plot are well-written, for example. That way, the book isn’t spoilt, but the reader can be assured that the plot twist works.
Then again, plot twists themselves can be subjective. Take, for example, Daughter by Jane Shemilt. I was very angry at the plot twist and, since I personally wasn’t really into the story to begin with, felt the whole book was a waste of my time. Yet when I looked up other reviews of Daughter, there were readers that absolutely loved the book and loved the twist just as much!
So, I would in fact be risking ruining a book for someone else who would have liked the book just because I didn’t like it.
I don’t know if I’m over-thinking this, but reading is a very personal experience. The last thing I want to do is spoil a book for others who will enjoy a book, even though I personally disliked it.
Hence why we have spoiler warnings.
I do have spoiler warnings and I now aim to put them at the beginning of the review, so from there it is up to the reader to decide whether or not to continue. Also, what I aim to do with my reviews from now on is to start my reviews with how I feel about this book, then go on to explain why. It gives the reader an impression on what the whole atmosphere of the review is.
I hope that any of my readers would, along the lines anyway, think either this: “Oh, this book looks like something I would just love! Heck, this reviewer said she liked it! Imma go and read the review!” or this: “This book looks like something I would enjoy, but this reviewer didn’t like it. Hmm. I wonder why?” I am also happy with: “Oh, this review has spoilers. I’m not interested.”
I am still learning about how to review books, but this is what I personally think about including spoilers. Of course, other reviewers can review books however they want – this is just what I aim to do with my spoiler-filled book reviews:
- If any spoilers are bad and affect your reading experience for the worst, feel free to explain why they were bad.
- If any spoilers are good, feel free to not mention them and perhaps discuss why they work.
- Spoiler warnings are very important, regardless if these spoilers are good or bad.
- Start off your review with how you feel about the book, whether it be you liked it, loved it, hated it, etc., just so readers can start reading your review knowing what they’re getting themselves into – a bit like an essay if you will.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with me?
Thank you for reading!