Alas, no review this week — I’m at a work conference. So in lieu of writing about a book, I have a question for the Internet: what do you think about plot spoilers in reviews?
I’ve been very spoiler-phobic in the short life of this blog. I tend to enjoy books the most when I know little to nothing going in — I like being surprised as the book unfolds. My approach for my own reviews has therefore been to sketch some broad outlines of the story, explain what I liked and didn’t like about the book, and avoid describing any plot point that happens more than about a fifth of the way in.
But I’ve found that some books are really difficult for me to review unless I can talk spoilers. My reaction to Those Who Save Us, for example, was largely shaped by the Obersturmführer, a character we don’t meet until well into the novel. For that one I bit the bullet and warned that the review would contain spoilers.
Similarly, I just finished and loved NK Jemisin’s The Shadowed Sun but there were a couple of developments late in the book that I didn’t quite buy. Should I describe what those were in my review in order to explain my criticism more fully? Or is it better to be vague and avoid ruining semi-major plot developments?