Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bookish Discussion: Spoiler-y Reviews

Hey there! Welcome to my first ever Bookish Discussion post here at i solemnly swear.

Today I thought I'd talk to you all about a pet peeve of mine... and probably everyone's: Reviews with spoilers. Well, not any reviews with spoilers, per se, but reviews that don't warn you of the spoilers therein contained!

Spoilery Blog Reviews
Most of us here are book bloggers, right? We read books, then we write reviews and post them on our blogs. Simple. I think I am with the majority here in saying that this is my blog, so if I want to write a review with spoilers, I'll write a review with spoilers - ya get me? But, I always give some kind of a warning. Either a **BIG** general notice at the top of each post explaining that the post may have spoilers. Or a *smaller* notice closer to a one-line spoiler to make people avoid reading that part unless they choose to.

It's kind of hard to actually read reviews lately because of certain ones that contain spoilers. I'm always afraid to do more than skim paragraph by paragraph because I'm afraid I'll come across something important to the story that I don't want to know!

I do, however, usually trust actual blog posts, more often than not, to give either a spoiler-free review or warn me of any spoilers... I think most of us do it as a courtesy to other bloggers and can trust that other bloggers will give us that courtesy too.

Spoiler-y reviews
Here's where that little bit of trust I had for blog post reviews goes out the window. I love skimming star ratings on Goodreads of a book I am excited about (or sometimes unsure about) because it opens me up to bloggers I may not follow or who may not even have a separate blog.

What I don't like is that a lot more people post spoilers on Goodreads in my opinoin, and even though Goodreads provides a simple way to show/hide your spoilers at the click of a button, many people choose not to (or don't know how to use it). For the record people, the "Formatting Tips" to your right come straight from Goodreads. It's always on your right hand side of your screen when you're writing any kind of review on the site. It's crazy easy, even for people like me who have no idea what they are doing when it comes to HTML. The second-to-last bullet on the bottom of the list clearly shows how to add the "spoiler link".

I only skim Goodreads reviews now, because I've come across some reviewers with blatant disregard for what I would consider a common courtesy. A couple of times I've accidentally looked at a review that spoils the entire series in the very first sentence of the review: "I can't believe so-and-so died!!!" or "Oh, I'm so glad Sally ends up with Johnny at the end and not Bobby!"

I mean really? The very first line? You couldn't wait to spoil it until further down, in which I can rely on Goodreads to give me the option to read "more" of your review if I actually wanted to? Geez.

Spoiler-y Book Blurbs
Okay, I know this is going to come as a surprise to some of you but, I think sometimes the biggest offenders of spoiling books are the blurbs on the backs of books (or listed as a synopsis on Goodreads/Amazon/Book Depository, etc.). I actually experienced this myself just this month in reading the Vampire Academy series. Maybe it was my own fault, but I was still pretty bummed out when I was halfway through book 2 and decided to check out the specs for book 3 and right in the first line is some pretty important information about an event that happened right at the end of book 2.

Maybe I shouldn't have looked at that blurb since I was only on book 2, true, but don't you think its a publishers responsibility not to put such specific important information right on the back of the next book!?
Yeah... then a few days later I made the mistake of looking at the blurb for the first book in the spin-off series, Bloodlines, which inadvertently spoiled the whole freaking end of the VA series for me. WTF!? Now maybe the first one was my fault, but whyyyy!!

Needless to say, after having all of the major points in this series spoiled for me (which really sucks, because I think I would've liked it even more if that hadn't happened), I refuse to read blurbs unless its a book I know zilch about, and I only skim reviews unless I can see warning signs (or even a notice that the review is spoiler-free) - and of course reviews by bloggers I trust.

So let's talk books! How do you deal with reading reviews on blogs, Goodreads, Amazon, etc. Do you even bother reading them? How about book blurbs? And do you warn people about spoilers in your reviews or do you just leave it all to chance?

Happy reading!


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