Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Spoilers in Reviews

I'm wondering...what is your opinion about spoilers in reviews, especially those reviews that don't indicate a spoiler alert?

I'm asking because I've read a few reader reviews (and a couple of professional reviews) lately for my books and books & DVDs I'm interested in that have spoilers. I don't mind at all as long as there is a spoiler alert. Honestly? When it comes to a movie that is supposed to be a romance, I want to know if there is an HEA, or at least a HFN (not my favorite ending, but I'll talk about that another day). Too many movies and books anymore are being marketed as romances when they are in fact love stories. The difference of course being whether or not the main romantic leads end up together in a satisfying (for the reader/viewer) relationship at the end.

I don't mind other types of spoilers either (as long as there is a spoiler warning). One of my hot buttons in romance is infidelity. I'm glad to avoid a book that incorporates that element into the plot and will do so when I see a reader review mentioning it. Or when the reviewer warns the ending is bittersweet. Bittersweet does not work for me in romance. ;-)

But it bothers the bejeebes out of me when a reader/viewer (and especially a professional reviewer) includes spoiler material in their review and doesn't bother to put a warning to that effect in the title or beginning of the review. It bugs me even more when the spoiler is information given out of context and interpreted one way by the reviewer and differently by me, either as the author or reader/viewer of the book or movie. It seems to happen a lot on Amazon.com and they don't have a process for alerting TPTB to the spoiler. A spoiler is not inappropriate content...it just needs to be labeled as a spoiler. You see what I mean?

I don't think I'm the only reader and/or author annoyed by this practice, am I?

The vast majority of professional reviews I've read are great about not putting in spoilers, or including content out of context with implications that don't match the actual content of the story. In truth, most reader reviews are too. For which I'm more than grateful, both as a book/movie buyer and author. But the ones that do it (at least it seems to me), are also usually the reviewers who have an attitude that their opinion is more valid than anyone else's. So, maybe the arrogance I find so charming in my alpha heroes isn't as fun to run into in other settings? LOL

Just my thoughts for today. :)


Stacy~ said...

I totally agree Lucy. It's okay if someone gives a spoiler alert, then I can choose whether or not to read it. But I've seen some people give away HUGE spoilers w/o warning anyone. Hate that with a passion.

When I review, I really try not to give spoilers because I know how I feel to have the surprise ruined for me.

gigi said...

I vote for a 'Big' spoiler alert to be posted. For the most point I hope that the end of a book will be a surprise. As for infidelity in books and movies, I hate it. I don't believe in it and I don't approve of it.

Judy said...

My best friend tends to give a summary of the book in her reviews. She doesn't care about spoilers at all. Knowing what's coming doesn't ruin a book for her, in fact, she prefers it because she feels like she can relax and enjoy it more. Sort of a something to look forward to attitude.

For me, spoilers are something I only want from my friends. They know what concerns me, ie, does it have a happy ending? Are there personality types I find repulsive, ie, the manipulative heroine or the overly aggressive male?

I try not to put in spoilers in my reviews, and I think I'm usually pretty successful, though I freely admit I'm not perfect.

Meandi's corner said...

oh I hate when they out a spoiler in and don't tell me til I figure it out for myself. There needs to be an alert so I can avert my eyes

Lucy Monroe said...

Stacy~...Exactly, I think there's a place for spoilers, they just need to be labeled. :)

Gigi...Yeah...I like it when they put SPOILER in caps at the beginning of the review or the spot where teh spoiler is coming. And our hot buttons are just that...hot. I have only a few, but the ones I do have can make or break a book for me.

Judy...I used to read the end of a book before I tried a new author. It didn't ruin the book for me, but I wanted to know it would be an ending I could live with. LOL That said, *I* chose to pick up the book and read the end. That choice was never taken from me by someone putting the information (and maybe portrayed inaccurately) in a review. It's totally different for me.

I *do* want full deets from friends I trust to know what I like, but even they aren't always right. LOL I hated "My Best Friend's Wedding" when my sisters all insisted I would love it and loved "The Proposal" when my DQ (who is usuall right) thought I would hate it. LOL

Meandi...I think that's really the issue for a lot of us. We just want a warning, so we can choose to read details about a book undisclosed in back cover copy. :)

This all brings up another question for me...Posting spoilers, etc. to our own blogs when our blog pals know we do so is one thing - but isn't it different to take that review and post it to Amazon or a heavily trafficked review site?

Vicky said...

I absolutely hate it when people do this! Sometimes I just want to read a review to see whether or not I want to read the book and then BAM! They give away the ending! Sometimes, I go looking for spoilers and this is a good thing, so if they want to do that, fine, but please PLEASE say spoiler alert!

Leni said...

I agree that there should be a spoiler alert. There have been quite a few times I've found out details about a book before I've even picked it up that would've made the read better had I not known.

Lucy Monroe said...

Vicky...LOL I see I'm not the only one with a strong reaction. :)

Leni...it's not just about the ending, is it? It's about tension and plot that gets lost when we get too much information without warning.

Jane said...

I think spoilers should be noted ahead of time so that people who don't want to know will avoid reading the rest of the review. I'm one of those that likes spoilers, but I still like knowing that I'm reading a spoiler.

Lucy Monroe said...

Jane...as a regular visitor to Movie Pooper, I so get you...I just don't want to be blindsided by spoilers and I really don't like it when they mis-lead about a book by taking an author/movie maker's surprise element(s) and revealing them out of context.

Lisa F. said...

I definitely want a warning if there are spoilers in the review. I don't want to know what happens ahead of time - I want to enjoy the journey to the HEA.

I try not to give away spoilers in my reviews. I hope I catch them all but you never know.

Estella said...

I definitely want a spoiler alert posted!

Lucy Monroe said...

LisaF...I'm sure you've done way better than me, but the effort is what counts. I think most of us have given away stuff we didn't mean to, like the time I basically told my daughter the surprise my other daughter was planning by *not* telling her. Yeah, I am *that* talented. :)

Estella...that seems to be the concensus, which makes me feel less like a crabby pants, though I can be one on pure principle, you know? ;-)

Melissa said...

I HATE for a reviewer to post a spoiler ~~ I just want a brief run down, and her opinion of the book, and why it did/didn't work for her. That's it ~~ and usually it won't sway me, just give me a some info on what the book is about. I HATE when I'm trying to find out what a book is REALLY about, and find out the WHOLE plot.

If you're going to post spoilers...post a WARNING, and give us a little space before posting.

Judy F said...

Hey Lucy. I agree with you on spoilers. I think if you are going to give one away you should warn people. I try not to do that when I review books.

I was at a lunch with friends/authors sat and several were talking about movies. Granted I haven't seen movies in ages but now I don't have to she told just about everything in every movie that was talked about. grrr.

lidia said...


I detest "infidelity" in romance reading and therefore don't mind if a review clues me in -- I save money and don't get frustrated.

However, I do prefer to know in advance that a review will contain a "spoiler." Professional reviews should be properly labelled.

There are some sites where people blog about books, topics, etc... I know that there may be spoilers there without being "labelled" as such.

I may be in the minority but I actually enjoy a book more when I know that it won't push any of my hot buttons.

Lucy Monroe said...

Melissa...aha, so spoilers is one of your hot buttons. LOL Seriously, I'm with you - just let me know the spoiler is going to be there and I'll make my choice about reading it, or not.

JudyF...oh, man...that sounds like my son! LOL He's so bad about telling movie plots while we're watching together we have to warn him not to say a word while we're watching.

Lidia...I have been pleasantly surprised a couple of times (as opposed to the dozens where I was furious) when an author actually managed to include one of my hot buttons and still make the story work for me. But, yes, there *are* some things I want to know in advance, I just want the courtesy extended not to find those things out in a way that's going to ruin the book/movie for other people. Did that sentence make sense? :)

And yeah, the more we talk, the more I truly feel there's a big difference between posting a spoiler (or saying one out loud - poor JudyF) in a place one might expect to find it, rather than places like Amazon or those purporting to be semi or fully professional review sites.

Amy said...

I agree with you Lucy, I feel that if a spoiler is included in a review etc... then there needs to be a spoiler alert so everyone can choose if they want to read the spoilers or not. I have had friends tell me they don't like to read spoilers because it ruins the book for them, As for myself I like spoilers as long as they don't give anything major away, I like to read hints but don't give the story away in a spoiler

Dannyfiredragon said...

There really should be a spoiler alert in reviews. When I write my reviews for our website I never write about something that would give away the ending of the book or important facts.

Lucy Monroe said...

Thanks, Danny!

You know what I'm hearing over and over again (and I believe, 'cuz I've read lots of all your reviews)? My favorite readers and reviewers care, they care about spoiling a book or movie for others, they care about sharing their views, they care about the things they choose to read and watch. I like that...it makes me feel good. :)

robynl said...

I'm sure most don't spoil with intention; I don't want a spoiler and if there is one definitely a big warning is nice.

Lucy Monroe said...

I agree, RobynL...most people don't spoil movies or books intending to do so, but there are a few who truly seem to think their opinion is so golden, that everyone can do nothing but appreciate the erudite way they give plot elements away and snarkily interpret things. :)