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Spoilers in Reviews: Yea or Nay

[poll id="189"]

Robin, who cheats on Dear Author by blogging at Access Romance and Romancing the Blog, posted her thoughts about spoilers in reviews.   Robin is for it (and I am too) but we both work hard to have spoiler free reviews. It’s often quite hard, particularly when an element of the story affects how you view the book’s plot or character development.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

58 Comments

  1. KMont
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 11:29:54

    If they’re labeled properly, they’re not hurting anyone. Gives us that adult freedom to look away if necessary. Sometimes I can’t review a book the way I feel it needs to be reviewed (based on how much something in it moves me) without some spoilers.

    ARCs, however, I won’t do spoilers for most of the time. If the book’s not out yet, I usually don’t go there.

    Another thing about spoilers, they allow me to get deeper into the review than no spoilers does, and hopefully that sparks some conversation.

  2. Sandy James
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 11:34:27

    I voted “no.” However — as long as you give a reader a chance to bail before the spoiler — I can see why a reviewer might need to reveal a story’s secrets to get her point across.

  3. Maya Banks
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 11:36:51

    Yes, God yes. Love spoilers. It’s the ONLY time a review has the power to sell me on a book. It’s knowing story components and plot points that’ll get me to either buy or not buy a book. An opinion pretty much means squat to me.

    I should also qualify this by saying I’m an unapologetic ending peeker…

    I’ve emailed Jane more than once asking for “spoilers” to a book she’s posted a review of lol

  4. AmyW
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 11:38:12

    I voted “no” because generally I don’t like to be spoiled for things I’m interested in. Tagging spoilers is a must. I like having the choice — if the book sounds good enough for me to check out, I won’t read the spoiler, but I’ll take the plunge if I’m on the fence or it’s unlikely I’ll read the book.

    Sometimes giving away the plot is essential to give an honest review — especially if it’s something the reviewer thinks will ruin the book for people. That being said, I don’t think I’ve ever read a great review where the reviewer gave away a major plot twist…after all, why ruin a book they’re recommending?
    ~Amy

  5. Rebyj
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 11:40:45

    I don’t mind as long as there is a warning. If I don’t want to read spoiler before I read a book, I usually want to talk freely about it after I read it.

  6. Maili
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 11:45:37

    Voted no. I don’t even read back blurbs of books I already plan to buy/read. Anticipation is part of the fun. I didn’t even read the back blurb of Kim Lenox’s Night Falls Darkly. I was sold on its title and opening page.

  7. Courtney Milan
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 11:49:36

    I think my first answer is “yes, if properly marked and discretion is used.”

    But I think my second answer is, “yes, if properly marked, but only as criticism.”

    As an example, take Joanna Bourne’s The Spymaster’s Lady. Anyone who’s read it knows that there’s something very spoilery you can say about the beginning. It shocked me when I read it, but in an absolutely good way. I literally looked up from the book when I got to that point and said to my husband, “This book just went from really good to holy crap awesome.” Likewise, in Sarah Rees Brennan’s The Demon’s Lexicon, there’s a reveal at one point that many people do not see coming.

    These are the kinds of spoilers that make you read books twice, starting the second read immediately after you hit the end. You read once to see it, and once again to see it coming. And that sort of thing should not ever, EVER be spoiled, because I think it would ruin the experience for the reader.

    On the other hand, there’s the kind of spoiler that makes you wish you hadn’t read the book at all in the first place. For those–with appropriate markings–in my opinion, you can spoil those away.

    Exception: This shirt is always appropriate. http://www.threadless.com/product/844/Spoilt

  8. Maili
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 11:52:34

    @Courtney Milan
    I think I’m depressed because I could identify all films and one TV series listed on that. And in spite of what I said earlier, I’m buying that t-shirt.

  9. ASable
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 11:58:46

    I’m a huge “YES” and I’m also an unabashed last-page-reader, much to my husband’s chagrin since it’s his biggest pet peeve. Knowing the ending doesn’t bother me one bit and sometimes makes the whole experience even better. That said, I do appreciate spoiler warnings and that spoiler black bar thingy you guys use to hide the good stuff. It gives others a choice and even makes me feel a little naughty for peeking.

  10. Kate Pearce
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 11:58:54

    Well, as a writer when I’ve spent quite a while writing the book and setting up some hopefully interesting plot turns and dark moments and then someone gives them all away in the review I get a bit fed up, because it might put some people off trying the book.
    BUT-as a reader if someone gives me a ‘spoiler alert’ I’m okay because I can choose to read it or not.

  11. Maria Zannini
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 12:14:09

    Absolutely YES! It will often be the deciding factor on whether I buy or not.

    At bookstores, I often read the endings just to make sure it will be worth my time.

    I know–I’m a heathen.

  12. CupK8
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 12:20:02

    I am the kind of reader that can have a story ruined if I know what the ending is going to be before I find out how we get there. I’ve made the mistake of peeking only recently, and it made the rest of the book less enjoyable – still enjoyable, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t peeked!

    That being said, if a spoiler is clearly marked so I can avoid it, I will and I won’t mind that it’s there for those who want it.

    I also tend to avoid reading reviews in their entirety if I am planning on reading a novel. I check out the grade and the general comments and move on. :)

  13. MaryK
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 12:34:30

    @Courtney Milan: This, absolutely:

    “yes, if properly marked, but only as criticism.” …

    These are the kinds of spoilers that make you read books twice, starting the second read immediately after you hit the end. You read once to see it, and once again to see it coming. And that sort of thing should not ever, EVER be spoiled, because I think it would ruin the experience for the reader.

    On the other hand, there's the kind of spoiler that makes you wish you hadn't read the book at all in the first place. For those-with appropriate markings-in my opinion, you can spoil those away.

    BTW, this is a great articulation of why some of us reread – “to see it coming.”

  14. dancechica
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 12:47:52

    I voted “yes”. I think spoilers are fine as long as there’s a warning. I particularly like spoilers if I’m on the fence about buying a book. The spoilers will help me decide if the story would interest me or not. If I’m already interested in a book then I generally won’t read spoilers, especially if the book is by a favorite, because I want to be surprised. Other than that, I think spoilers can be really helpful.

  15. joanne
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 13:05:01

    I absolutely don’t want to know who the murderer/stalker/bomber/whatever is.

    I absolutely want to know if there is a HEA or a HFN.

    I want to know if the story is erotica or erotic romance or not enough romance to be labeled that way and is just flying on the coat tails of the Romance label.

    I do want the reviewer to have some discretion in what is revealed. I seldom get that from Amazon reviews which is why I seldom read them.

    I love the hidden spoilers that DA and some other sites use for those of us who want the answers NOW.*grin*

    There are books that I am going to read no matter what anyone says so I avoid the reviews but I like to go back and look at them afterward to see if others felt the way I did about the plot and/or characters. I can’t imagine what a reviewer could say about a book without some details being revealed.

  16. MelissaG
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 13:10:16

    Yes. I absolutely love spoilers. I find them especially useful for books that would not usually get my attention (such as contemporaries) but which sound interesting. For example, knowing exactly what the disease is in Red’s Hot Honky-Tonk Bar by Pamela Morsi would go along way to helping me make a decision. Ultimately, I think if they are clearly labeled so that people who hate them can look away I do not see the harm.

  17. Randi
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 13:31:28

    I didn’t vote because I don’t “like” or “dislike” spoilers. Rather, like most, just let me know if there are spoilers so I can read or avoid. But it’s not a like/dislike situation for me.

  18. Louisa Edwards
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 13:38:09

    I’m really surprised and interested by the response up to this point. I would’ve totally predicted the opposite, that most readers hate spoilers in reviews! Fascinating…

  19. may
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 13:39:21

    I voted NO because I don’t like to be reading a book and already know something key that happens late in the book. Often that knowledge can taint my reading experience. However – when a reviewer does their **spoiler alert** thing then it’s totally fine with me.

    I also don’t like when a reviewer spends too much time on details of plot and not enough on like/dislike and WHY.

    The ‘spoilers’ I do like is when there’s a key detail that happens in first third or so of book that isn’t general knowledge. Like that awful time-travel surprise in Lori Foster’s book earlier this year. If not for readers yelling “look out – she’s doing time travel” I’d never have known to avoid it.

  20. Kalen Hughes
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 13:55:42

    I think it can be impossible to write a well thought-out, articulate review without spoilers, especially if the spoiler is necessary to explain why the book didn’t work for you. So as long as they're clearly labeled and set off in some way (I love the hidden ones you have to highlight), I'm pro.

  21. vanessa jaye
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 14:06:31

    I voted no, but on second thought, I think if you warn the reader that what follows is going into spoiler territory, that’s fine. Plus, there have been a couple of incidences where I wish a reviewer had let drop a pertinent piece of info re the plot/characters because I wouldn’t have bought the book. ugh.

  22. Chris
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 14:10:21

    I generally don’t bother to read reviews because of the chance of spoilers or the possibility thereof. On my own blog, I write 2-3 sentence reviewettes so as to avoid the whole spoiler issue.

  23. Tee
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 14:22:30

    I don’t like them and I know that reviews can be written without including them. Let spoilers be on message boards (CLEARLY LABELED AND FOREWARNED), but not in professional reviews. I read a lot of suspense and think that would totally ruin the story for me. One time someone nonchalantly spoke of the blindness of a character in a book I was reading and it spoiled that particular effect royally, when I should have been just as surprised as she was when she discovered it for the first time.

    The authors go thru a lot creating their stories; and for those who include twists and turns, it has to be horrible to have those surprises revealed prematurely. Oh, well, that’s just me.

  24. Jennifer
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 14:24:07

    Spoilers, please. “Spoiler-free” reviews that really take 300 words to say “I liked it” are useless to me because I’d like to know WHY and what the plot’s about before I decide whether or not to buy it.

    And if a crappy plot twist ruins the book, or if I’m expecting HEA and this isn’t that sort of book, I’d like a heads-up before I buy.

  25. hapax
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 14:57:57

    When I review professionally, for publication, I try very hard to avoid specific plot-detail spoilers. But I think it can be essential to a good review to reveal the *tone* of the book — “heartbreaking”, “upbeat”, “deflating”, etc. — and the pace — “leisurely and meandering,” “building frenetically to a overwhelming climax”, “abrupt cliffhanger”, etc. — that can allow an astute reader to figure things out.

    And when the book copy is misleading (marketing a horror title as a romance, e.g.) or if there is a specific detail that might cause problems (e.g. graphic sex or violence in a YA title), I’ll make a point of noting that, too.

    Private reviews on my own site, I spoil things merrily, since I’m usually snarking there, instead of presenting objective reviews.

    And being a shameless end-peeker, I don’t mind spoilers in the reviews I read, although I prefer that they are marked.

  26. Rowan McBride
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 15:17:02

    I agree with the posters above who said that spoilers work if there’s a warning beforehand, because personally I can’t do spoilers but I have friends who thrive on them.

    A couple weeks ago a friend who *knows* I don’t like spoilers sent me a youtube clip featuring one of the final lines in a Doctor Who movie I didn’t get to watch until yesterday. Without telling me what I was clicking on. When I got angry, his reasoning was that it didn’t have any bearing on the story in THAT movie and was the only part of the movie worth watching anyway.

    When I finally got to watch the movie, as soon as the person who said that line showed up, I was anticipating it for the rest of the film. When it was finally said, it didn’t have nearly the “WTF?” impact it should have, and that depressed me. Especially considering that the person who spoiled it for me GOT the impact and was so excited that he just had to “share” it with me. lol.

    Anyway, that’s me rambling about why I can’t read spoilers. But I’ve been on plenty of sites that have good spoiler alerts and I just skip over them. Easy peasy.

  27. Hydecat
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 15:17:06

    It depends on how you define spoilers, really. If there is some huge plot point that is clearly supposed to be a surprise to the reader, I don’t think it should appear in a review unless it is clearly marked. Minor things, I care less about. I am a fan of how the reviewers here use various technological ways to make spoilers optional viewing – in my opinion, that way you have the best of both worlds.

  28. Marianne McA
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 15:31:01

    No, to the extent that if I know I’m going to buy the book, I won’t read excerpts, reviews or blurb.
    I do reread, all the time, so it’s not that I can’t enjoy a story once I know what happens, but you’ve only the once to read it without foreknowledge, and often what makes a reading experience great is that the book surprises you.

    My first category romance keeper was a book where the hero was giving the heroine sensible advice, and she threw a bucket at him. After years of doormat heroines trailing meekly after humourless tycoons, that unexpected twist made the book for me. Now, wouldn’t have been a spoiler for a reviewer to mention the pail-chucking incident, but the author couldn’t have confounded my expectations if the reviewer had done so first.

    With the book Courtney mentions, I avoided all excerpts & reviews, but just knowing there was an unexpected twist made me read carefully enough that I could see what must be coming. (Though I still reread it straight away to see all the foreshadowing that I’d missed. Good book.)

    So the less I know the better. My favourite type of review is someone whose taste I tend to share saying ‘Read this, it’s great.’ That’s all I want to know.

  29. Angie
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 15:51:26

    I voted “yes” but I have to add a couple of caveats to that.

    I personally would rather not be spoiled, most of the time, so only thinking of myself, I probably should’ve voted “no.” The more I care about a book (movie, TV show, whatever) the less I want to be spoiled. But there are other people who like reading spoilers just because they like it, so there should be some percentage of reviews catering to them.

    Also, there are those who are sensitive to certain types of material and would rather not read stories containing this or that sort of scene. I’d much rather have these people be able to visit a review site and get those kinds of spoilers, than have the spoilers plastered all over the book or its buy-page where everyone will see them whether they want to or not. Fanfic fandom is ridiculously oppressive about pressuring writers to post spoilery “warnings” on their stories, and I see the concept creeping over onto the commercial side with great dismay. I think it’d be better for everyone if there were review sites which discussed the whole story, including spoilers, so sensitive or triggery people could go get their spoilers there and people who don’t want to be spoiled can avoid them, rather than forcing everyone to be spoiled.

    This is one of those cases where more is better. Lots of review sites with many reviewers means a great variety, giving readers the best chance of finding a reviewer or a set of reviewers whose taste matches theirs and whose review style they like.

    Angie

  30. Sarah Frantz
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 16:00:35

    I’m an absolutely spoiler whore and I’m having the bugger of a time right now writing a review, trying desperately to avoid spoilers about who the romantic interest is. I’m doing it because I know other readers hate hate HATE spoilers, but it’s making my life so much more difficult!

  31. Elaine
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 16:19:24

    Spoilers in reviews infuriate me. A reviewer will not get a second chance to spoil a book for me.

  32. Elle
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 16:28:26

    Here’s another “No” vote.

    I really dislike unmarked spoilers in reviews, to the extent that (like Marianne McA) I tend to avoid reading reviews and discussions until *after* I have read the book. There are some great books with wonderful plot twists that I am so glad that I did not know about before I read the story (to name a few: The Spymaster’s Lady, The Lymond Chronicles, Megan Whalen Turner’s Thief series, The Time Traveler’s Wife.)

  33. Jessica Kennedy
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 16:40:04

    No, no, and no. I HATE spoilers in reviews. I refuse to read any review of a book I even “think” I might read.

    I also do NOT reveal any spoilers in my own reviews. I can’t stand it! If I wanted a summary of the freakin’ book I’d read the summary on Amazon.com or the author’s website.

    If the reviewer wants to mark each and every spoiler that’s cool but NO. I do not like them.

  34. pilgrim soul
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 17:04:51

    I like reading reviews of books I have read already so I actually like “spoilers” in that case as it is interesting to see other readers take on themes or episodes.

  35. reader
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 17:14:07

    Hate spoilers. I most typically DO NOT read a complete review because rarely do I find a review that is spoiler-free. I’ll read the intro and then the end to get the final assessment. So all that spoilery stuff you spend so much time on probably does not get read by half the people who look at it.

    Then, once I’ve read a book, I will go back to reviews sometimes to see if I agree with it.

  36. Courtney Milan
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 17:16:48

    I actually can’t take credit for the “once to see it, once to see it coming” line. I can’t remember who said it–maybe it was just some friend of mine when we were talking about great books–but it has stuck in my head for years and years now.

    Still, it’s not my line. It’s someone else’s. It’s probably my best friend’s line–he’s smart like that. ;)

  37. azteclady
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 17:59:05

    Not only “no” but “holy hell, NO!” here. :grin: ’cause I’m emphatic like that–and because I’m highly spoilerphobic.

  38. DS
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 18:21:33

    Spoilers don’t bother me in the least– and it’s not because I have a tendency to freak out over certain scenes or conclusions. It’s just that I enjoy the journey more than the *surprise* ending. I do admire a clever twist and I don’t look at the end of a mystery to see whodunnit unless I am planning to toss the book behind the couch in disgust. But if it is well done then I can enjoy it over and over. For instance everyone should know how The Gift of the Magi (O. Henry) ends, but it’s never stopped me from reading it more than once.

    And where was it that someone got a bit bent out of shape because Jane Eyre (or was it Wuthering Heights?) was being discussed and there were spoilers!!!? If there were a spoiler statute of limitations, anything Victorian or earlier should have hit it.

  39. SonomaLass
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 18:22:27

    Yes please, but hidden or with plenty of warning. Like many others, I don’t read reviews closely if I’m already planning to read the book. But with books I’m not sure about, spoilers often help me decide. Also, I love to go back and read spoiler-filled reviews once I have finished the book, especially on a site like DA or SBTB when I can count on a spirited discussion in the comments!

    I have a hard time writing reviews without spoilers myself, perhaps because I’m trained as an academic and must always support my claims with examples. I can write a brief reaction in general terms, but nothing in depth without lots of specifics; avoiding spoilers often means avoiding the things most worthy of discussion. I’m skeptical of reviews that don’t give me examples of what is being praised or criticized.

  40. Elle
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 19:01:07

    Spoilers don't bother me in the least- and it's not because I have a tendency to freak out over certain scenes or conclusions. It's just that I enjoy the journey more than the *surprise* ending.

    Interesting. Others have said this type of thing as well in support of their pro-spoiler stand (i.e. that they are more interested in the “journey” than the destination,) but (for me) spoilers can ruin the journey that the author intended the reader to take. I suppose that for a lot of books that really does not matter too much since what is going to happen is pretty obvious, but it seems a shame to “blurt out the punchline” of a more intricately constructed plot.

  41. medumb
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 20:49:23

    I voted yes, but I really like to choose whether or not to see a spoiler or not.
    As some others have said, if it was a book I was lusting after I probably wouldn’t view the spoilers unless someone has completely panned it and I want to know why, but if it is a book that I am on the fence about, then I want all the information that I can get to see if it is worth me spending my hard earned dollars.

  42. Angie
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 22:15:18

    I tend to read books more than once too, but I prefer to be unspoiled the first time through. I agree that if it’s a really good book, then the journey is worth multiple trips even if I become familiar with the path. Heck, I even read my favorite mysteries multiple times. But that first time, I want to be able to try to work it out for myself.

    Angie

  43. Wendy C.
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 01:50:36

    I’m one in the yes camp for spoilers. I happily read spoilers for tv shows, movies and books before I watch or read them and don’t find that my enjoyment is lessened in any way.

    It doesn’t bother me if I know a plot twist or what happens by the end but I do have friends that don’t like to be spoiled so I do behave and not tell around them.

    Unfortunately I have come across people who insist they don’t like to be spoiled but then pester you to tell them what happened before they read/watch something. I never know if I should or shouldn’t tell them when this happens because telling them can (and frequently does) backfire on me!

  44. Moth
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 02:27:37

    Bring on the spoilers, baby! I LOVE them. There are so many books and movies that I’ve been iffy about trying, and then I read spoilers. And there have been so many times that if I’d read the spoilers I wouldn’t have bothered with the book. (The whole Harry Potter saga comes to mind. Man, if I’d known how that shit was going to end I wouldn’t have bothered reading it. For me, Rowling dropped the ball hardcore with#7). I get mad when I can’t find certain spoilers.

    Spoilers are also a good way to get me into a series. I could read all about Miles on Wiki before I started the Vorkosigan saga so I went into it knowing not to root for Elli Quinn or get too attached to his mercenary career. (I don’t think I would have liked Quin even if I had read the books as they were published…). Same with the Jaran books by Kate Elliott. I read spoilers and knew to avoid the rest of the books like the plague.

    My only thing is that they should be clearly marked and people should have ample warning, because, fervent spoiler supporter that I am, there are still some things I don’t want spoiled. Go figure.

  45. Cathy
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 09:16:35

    I prefer that spoilers be clearly marked (as they are here), but I think they can also be key in a review. My tendency is to read spoilers if I’m either not interested in the book and curious about where it’s going, or if I’m ambivalent and there’s been some indication that the spoiler could move me one way or the other. If it’s a book I’m going to buy, I either avoid the spoilers, or trust that the reviewer won’t let a significant cat out of the bag (like the Spymaster’s Lady spoiler). If a book is written well enough, even reading a significant spoiler won’t ruin my enjoyment of the journey it takes to get to that moment, but I agree with other commenters that it can diminish the shock or excitement that the reveal can bring.

  46. Stephanie
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 09:33:11

    Spoilers don’t bother me, personally. I’m an inveterate peeker at the backs of books before I buy them–if I’m going to invest my time, money, and emotions in this set of fictional characters, I need to know how things will turn out. I hate “rocks fall, everybody dies” endings, and I’m suspicious of too many gimmicks. So “spoiling” myself saves an annoying book a collision with my bedroom wall. But I think spoilers in reviews should be clearly labeled, so readers who don’t want their surprises ruined can bail before the Big Reveal.

  47. Gina
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 12:06:25

    The only type of book I wouldn’t want to be spoiled for would be a mystery or thriller novel, because the whodunit ending is the point of the novel. But for a romance novel review? I love spoilers.

    The more specific the review is about the details of the book, the more I will be able to tell if it’s worth my money or not. Specific plot twists, cliches done right (or done wrong), whether the book is more focused on external plot or internal conflict, HEA or HFN, love triangles, TSTL behavior, etc — I want to know. This helps me avoid things I dislike (convoluted external plots or love triangles — hey, I’m a simple girl) and find tropes that I love. I know generally how a romance is going to end, what I want is to find a book that pushes my happy buttons.

    I am one of those readers who will read the last chapter of a book if I’m struggling to get through the beginning because if the ending is worth it, I will trudge. (To quote one of my favorite cheesy movies, “To trudge: the slow, weary, depressing yet determined walk of a man who has nothing left in life except the impulse to simply soldier on.”) Knowing the outcome doesn’t lessen my enjoyment of the rest of the book, quite the opposite when it comes to romances, in fact.

  48. Tee
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 16:26:50

    Reading thru all these comments (and they were all very interesting), I am beginning to come to the conclusion that romance readers, as a whole, prefer spoilers. I don’t think that same summarization would necessarily hold up in other genres. I wonder why that would be so prevalent in romance fiction? I read a few different categories, but I still don’t want spoilers, even when I’m into a romance book. Many do, though, and I can’t figure out the reason why that is. Why do some of us prefer to stay away from any tension produced in romance stories? Who knows? Not making a judgement call by any means, but stating the direction the ball appears to be bouncing here.

  49. reader
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 16:55:01

    Tee, I don’t think it’s just romance readers who like ‘spoilers’ or hints about where a book might take them. Think about the top shows on tv…many of them are procedural shows that use the same formula over and over. For me, I lost interest in the many CSIs years ago and never quite got why L&O shows keep getting the same high ratings every year. Procedurals bore me to pieces b/c they are basically the same show over and over again.

    I think the majority of readers/tv watchers/movie viewers want predictability in their entertainment.

    I don’t quite get it, but I see it time and time again.

    Otherwise, shows like “Pushing Daisies” would’ve been #1. :-)

  50. Tee
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 18:27:50

    quoting reader: I think the majority of readers/tv watchers/movie viewers want predictability in their entertainment. I don't quite get it, but I see it time and time again.

    I choose to read for comfort, but also for entertainment. That’s why I don’t want to know what happens beforehand. I want to enjoy the journey and the slow unfolding of the story, so to speak, and that includes all the twists and turns that the book (or movie) contains. When all the pertinent facts are known prior to beginning the story, it’s difficult for me to understand how it can be very enjoyable. I guess that’s why re-reading is a very low priority for me; the surprises are all gone. It’s everyone’s personal choice, though, and an interesting one at that.

  51. Angie
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 20:15:18

    Reader @49 — the reason I love CSI is that it’s not predictable. :) Different things happen in different ways, and they don’t even always catch the bad guy. Sometimes they just can’t figure out who did it, sometimes they’re pretty sure they know but can’t prove it and the episode ends with the suspect strolling away, and sometimes it turns out there wasn’t any bad guy at all, but what happened was just an accident. That’s quite a lot of variety, for any type of show.

    Angie

  52. rigmarole
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 20:16:01

    If I could have voted yes a thousand times, I would have. It is SO FRUSTRATING to not be able to find reliable spoilers. I put off buying a particular book for months because I strongly suspected that the ending would piss me off. I seriously had to beg to my friends list for someone to help me out.

    No book has ever been ruined for me because I knew too much about it going in, but PLENTY of them have left me with a bad taste in my mouth because I wasn’t prepared for something. Which has led to me buying fewer books by some authors or in certain genres.

  53. caoimhe
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 09:32:48

    I agree that there should be some mechanism for those who don’t like spoilers so they aren’t forced to read them. At the moment I’m particularly frustrated looking for spoilers on a new release, which I can’t decide to order or not until I find out what the big secret is. I can find plenty of reviews, but not a single one tells me what I need to know.

    Of course I always read the ending of any book I pick up first. I hate surprises in entertainment AND in real life. It’s the only reason getting tv shows later than the US is a good thing… because by the time they air for me I’ve read all the recaps and know where things are going!

  54. LaurieF
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 10:30:10

    I voted yes but with lots of **Spoiler** warnings.
    One time a book was hugely spoiled for me but not in a review.
    I was discussing the most current book by a major mystery author with a friend. She told me she was shocked by the death of a major character. I was shocked because that wasn’t in my book. Turns out I had read the most current paperback, she had read the most current hardcover. Needless to say when I read the subsequent book, the upcoming death of a major character was all I could think of.

  55. Caty
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 15:43:11

    Yes. I want to have some idea of what’s in there so I can make an informed decision about whether to read it. I don’t want every detail of the plot, but I do want some idea. If there’s something that’s going to hit my ‘ick, no – make it stop!‘ button, I like to know about it.

    I also think it’s practically impossible to write a review without any spoilers at all that doesn’t boil down to a mere “I liked/didn’t like it; the plot was good/bad and the characters were great/stupid.”

    What I don’t want is to have major plot elements revealed without any warning, and I don’t think the answers to mystery plots should be given away. Nor should things that are meant to have a shocking impact or a big emotional punch. Not without HUGE spoiler warnings, at least. I like to see spoiler warnings: let each review reader decide how much they want to know.

  56. MaryK
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 15:57:50

    Speaking of spoiler-free reviews, The Book Smugglers managed a glowingly persuasive, substantive, and yet completely spoiler-free review of Megan Whalen Turner’s Thief series the other day. It’s an amazing feat.

    [I voted "yes" in this poll, so I'm not advocating a particular reviewing style just admiring a well written review.]

  57. SonomaLass
    Jul 30, 2009 @ 10:04:17

    I’m not sure that liking some spoilers qualifies as either avoiding tension or wanting predictability. I can still feel tension when I know what’s coming, if the book is written well, just as I can enjoy a good production of Romeo and Juliet even though I know they both die at the end. [Oh, wait, everyone knows that -- Shakespeare has it spoken in the prologue. Does that count as a spoiler?]

    I don’t NEED spoilers, but sometimes knowing that a book contains something I particularly like or or dislike helps me spend my time and money more wisely.

  58. What Makes a Spoiler | Dear Author: Romance Novel Reviews, Industry News, and Commentary
    Mar 30, 2010 @ 04:01:48

    [...] As KMont pointed out in our poll thread, spoilers in reviews can lead to a deeper discussion. Another thing about spoilers, they allow me to get deeper into the review than no spoilers does, and hopefully that sparks some conversation. [...]

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