Let’s Discuss: Spoilers in Reviews

Nobody likes a spoiler. Who wants to know The Big Twist before it happens? Who wants to know how a book is going to end before finishing it? I mean, I guess some of you might read the last few pages of a book before reading it. But I think most of us can agree: I don’t want a book to be spoiled.

So why do people include spoilers in their book reviews? What’s the point?

Yes, I’ve been guilty of this. And yes, I try to warn people before because you know, common courtesy. But at the same time, why would we include spoilers in a book review? After all, people are usually reading reviews to figure out if they want to read the book.

But then I think about what reviews I choose to read. I choose to read the ones for the books I’m interested in reading, but I also read reviews for the books I have read. Why? I like knowing what people think. And honestly, when I come across a spoiler warning for a book I’ve already read, I don’t mind it so much.

But does that have a place in a review? Or should we create separate spoiler-heavy posts?

I’m not entirely sure. Yes, I don’t like spoilers in reviews of books I haven’t read, and most of the time, reviewers give you a fair warning. I’m also more likely to stop reading a review with a spoiler warning, just because I like reading a review in its entirety rather than just parts of it. But I also understand the difficulty in truly reviewing book without the occasional spoiler. After all, if the ending really pissed you off because it didn’t make sense, isn’t that something another potential reader might want to know?

But mostly, I’m curious about what others think of this. Do you include spoilers in your reviews? Does it annoy the hell out of you? Do you not mind it?

Let me know in the comments below!

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16 thoughts on “Let’s Discuss: Spoilers in Reviews

  1. aubreyleaman says:

    Really great points. I don’t tend to like spoilers in reviews, too, although I actually don’t read a lot of reviews for books I haven’t read yet because I don’t like having other people’s opinions shape how I experience the story!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brianna @ Brianna the Bookworm says:

    This is an interesting topic! I always try to write my reviews spoiler free, or at least only with very minor spoilers. I think what’s difficult is that everyone’s definition of a “spoiler” is different. Some don’t mind knowing a few details going in to a book, but others would consider them to be spoilers, if that makes sense.

    I’ve seen other bloggers have a “spoiler free” part of their review and then a section that includes spoilers (with a warning beforehand). I haven’t written a review like that, but I think that it’s a good idea and it’s generally a good balance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Megan says:

      Definitely. For me, a spoiler depends on when it happens in the book. I don’t want the big twists revealed, you know?

      I like that idea. That way the reader can choose what they want to read, and the writer can talk about all the things they wanted to talk about.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. FairytaleFeminista says:

    I don’t give spoilers in my reviews because I don’t read reviews with spoilers either. There are some stories (Shakespearean tragedies, historical fiction based on fact, etc.) where it’s more about the journey than really giving away the ending, but those are few and far between. The first time you read a really good book (especially those you can go back to again and again) is special and no one should ruin the experience.

    Unless you just want to make conversation at a party about a popular book or movie you have no intention of reading or seeing–then own it and read a spoiler review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Megan says:

      I definitely don’t think the no spoilers rule applies to historical fiction or classic lit (at least, the ones that are well-known). But yeah, part of the fun in reading is not knowing what’s going to happen next.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. bookbeachbunny says:

    Spoilers are such a hard one. I don’t like them myself and try to put in warnings because there have been occasions where I felt like I couldn’t give a fair review of a book or film without absolutely including that. But if there’s a book that I’m really excited about I have started skipping the reviews just on the off chance I get spoiled.
    I also struggle with time limits on spoilers. Like part of me thinks at this point most people know who dies in Harry Potter and what the Red Wedding is for instance but you never know!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Megan says:

      Fair enough! I definitely get that it’s hard to give a fair review without including some information.

      I struggle with that too, mostly with Harry Potter. It’s odd because now that the books aren’t coming out and the movies aren’t coming out, there are people (mostly kids I’d guess) who might not actually know what happens.

      Like

  5. I Read, Therefore I Blog says:

    I think there’s a difference between giving away a massive plot spoiler (e.g. I couldn’t believe that the killer was Harold all along but he was posing as his twin sister, Harriet!) and posting minor plot or character details. The thing is, the moment you start writing a review you risk including spoilers of some description – e.g. I usually give a brief summary of the set up to the plot, which means I’m setting out characters and their relationship to each other which might not be obvious from the start or I might say that character x wants to do y because that’s tied into the premise.

    I put my reviews behind cutaway tags with a spoiler warning and if people want to click through then they can because although I would never reveal a major spoiler or twist, I will probably need to identify that there is a twist or event or whatever in order to set out what my reaction would be. e.g. I reviewed a book last month where there was, for me, one twist too many in the final chapter and while I didn’t say what that was, I did need to explain why it didn’t work, although I did so in general terms.

    The other thing I’ve learnt is that if you’re talking about a classic book you might assume that everyone knows x, only to discover that people jump on you for posting a spoiler – I did a review for I Am Legend that assumed everyone knew a basic element of the plot and boy, did I get *that* wrong. (No details here for obvious reasons!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Megan says:

      Right, there’s TOTALLY a difference between that. You can’t really write a review without discussing some specifics, it’s just really about not discussing the big ones I guess.

      Oops! I haven’t actually read I Am Legend and I know very little about it. I guess the only “safe” bet is something like Romeo and Juliet, ’cause we all know how that one ends.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Kristina says:

    I, for one, aren’t minding spoilers. Though, I try my best not to include them in my review for the respect of other readers.

    Now, I kind of struggles to identify what is and what isn’t xD I spend probly more time than needed try to figure out if I can write “x” or not x)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Megan says:

      I get that.

      It’s definitely difficult because you never know what someone considers a spoiler. For me, I don’t want to the major twists, so anything that’s intended to be shocking. Pretty much, if it happens in the middle and onward, I don’t want to know. But some people want to know as little as possible I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kristina says:

        yeah .. though I wouldnt consider it a spoiler if it’s kind of, “secondary” to the original plot? I do love to includes my own thought as I go .. and some little minor stuff have me considering xD

        Like

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