We are a group of three book bloggers situated on different continents but brought together by our love for books and a penchant for talking about them. We’ve joined our forces to create a collaborative series of posts about book blogging and we hope you’ll enjoy the discussions.
Should reviews have spoiler alerts? Or be spoiler free?
For the most part I think reviews should be as spoiler free as possible however I do understand that there are times when there just HAS to be a spoiler as we can’t help talking about something! In this case I personally prefer the spoiler to be hidden when possible and definitely tagged!
If the spoiler would totally ruin the book if someone accidently saw it I would say just don’t include it.
There’s nothing wrong with having spoilers in your review (unless they’re like every second line), but I do think there must always be a spoiler alert. It’s basic consideration, really; I personally wouldn’t want to read a review that spoils the ending of the book for me and have not been warned earlier in the review that it was coming. It’s tactless and inconsiderate.
For my reviews, I try to do them as spoiler free as possible, just to avoid the risk of spoiling anything for anyone. But if on the off-chance I do write a spoiler (and like Uma says, sometimes you just NEED to because it made such an impact), I’ll definitely warn the reader a sentence or two above in capitals like so: “SPOILER ALERT!” And after the spoiler write the same thing to close it off.
To summarise, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the occasional spoiler in your review, but please warn people beforehand! It’s horrible to have a book spoiled for you before you’ve read it.
Do the endings of books affect your rating or overall opinion?
In short - YES! Definitely.
If something happens at the end of a book that I really can’t stomach then I do try to step away and rate the book overall - however often this will still bring the book down a half star or more. The same way that a good ending can possibly increase the stars I rate a book.
Because I don’t give a ‘technical rating’ but rather rate on a gut feel and the overall enjoyment of a book, a bad ending has a really negative impact on my rating and I can recall a couple of times when I’ve really had to NOT rate a book immediately but rather try to step back to digest it a little more and see how the flavour matures in my brain. ;)
I do have to qualify though that if the plot is headed in a direction I didn’t think it would or if characters I shipped don’t work out - THIS doesn’t normally change my rating. But bad endings are bad endings!
There are exceptions to every rule, but overall I’ll say no: generally, the endings don’t affect my overall opinion or rating. If the ending was horrible or disappointing or was a cop-out, I’ll definitely mention it in my review but I won’t necessarily drop my rating because of it.
But there are exceptions. If the book’s a thriller or mystery novel - or with a mystery at its core - then if the ending totally flunks out and fails to deliver a crucial revelation or cops-out with an excuse, then that’ll affect my rating and overall opinion. When the whole plot hinges on a revelation or crucial confrontation, then if the ending fails to meet that, it basically makes the rest of the book pointless.
So to summarise, it really depends on the type of book.
How long should a review be?
I’m really starting to see that I’m more of a ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants’ blogger and reviewer. I’m not very formulaic with ANYTHING! I don’t have a set system of ratings, nor do I have a set layout for my reviews! This means that a review might be anywhere from a couple of paragraphs long up to - well, whenever I decide I should really be more concise because it’s getting ridiculous!
Unless I’m really interested in a book and or really want to see what other people have said about it (confession time!!!) I kind of scan the review to look for the important parts. Just to clarify - if I come to your blog and comment on a review - I’ve read the whole thing, but when I’m browsing on Goodreads to check out books I want to add to my TBR or something I'm not going to sit and read hundreds of pages of reviews!
The easy answer: as long as it takes for you to make your point. But then again, if your point takes 12,000 words, I’d say cut it down to a more concise point ;)
As a reader of reviews, I prefer ones that are shorter, more concise, and with the important points in bold print. Most people don’t have the time or patience to read through a review longer than about 800 words, no matter how beautifully it’s written. I’m generalising, but it’s mostly true. Personally, I often skim long reviews - unless it’s a book I’m desperately eager to know about or if I have buckets of time on my hands. Unfortunately, those things usually aren’t applicable, and I’ll skim the review or read the bold points to get the gist of it. #bloggerconfessions
When I write reviews, I try to keep them under the criteria I’ve mentioned above. Sometimes I worry that my reviews are too short at times, which is probably the case. But I’m becoming more and more aware of my inability to be concise, and I suppose writing reviews allows me to practice turning that around. It’s a personal issue with my writing, and I’m very aware of that as I write my reviews.
So I try to keep my reviews short and to the point - and if they’re quite long, I’ll break them into paragraphs (like I’d do anyway) and maybe add a few images in too, just to make the read easier.
If you'd like to read my responses, hop on over to their collab posts!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our fifth discussion post! Please talk to us and let us know YOUR answers below. What do you think of our responses? If you have any specific questions you’d like us to address in the future, please let us know in the comments section below.
Stay tuned for next week’s questions!