The Blog Squad: A Blogger Collaboration Part VIII

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?

Uma says...

I mostly write spoiler free reviews but I think it’s totally fine to have the occasional spoiler BUT please do give readers a spoiler alert! No one likes being spoiled for a book they’re yet to read. Sometimes I NEED to talk about something in a book because it was so freaking awesome/ horrible/ appalling. At times like those I use this - *SPOILERS AHEAD* to warn my readers. IF i’m adding a spoiler, I make sure to add it at the end of the ‘Plot’ section in my reviews with proper spoiler alerts.

Amy says...

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?

Uma says...

That depends! If the ride was wonderful, a little jerky end isn’t too bad and I don’t think it would affect my ratings but I ABSOLUTELY HATE it when there is no closure to mysteries. Like I’ve read a couple of books where the author builds up this huge suspense but never gives the answers! Sometimes it’s worse when the author does provide an answer but a really unrealistic ones.

I never lower my ratings because of cliffhangers in series. It’s a series! Authors have cliffhangers so we’ll pick up the next book. BUT I don’t like it when authors force in a cliffhanger. That might affect my rating as forcing in an event in a rough manner translates into bad plotting. Also if there is this super huge series with so much going on and even at the end of the series there are no explanations <ANNOYING and DISAPPOINTING>

But even in the cases where I do lower my ratings due to the ending it’s not much. At the most I might lower it on star/heart; not more than that! But I certainly do mention my disappointment in the review.

Amy says...

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?

Uma says...

TRICKY TRICKY QUESTION! I don’t think there’s a specific length? But I sure as hell wouldn’t be able to read a review that goes on and on like Jack’s beanstalk! BUT that doesn’t mean I’ll be satisfied with a two line review either. I think the trick is to find the perfect line in between (I know that’s not helpful!)

I have a particular format for writing reviews that works well for me and keeps my reviews a somewhat similar length. I split my review up into 6 parts - CHARACTERS, PLOT, WRITING, WHAT I LIKED, WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE, CONCLUSION. The last three are there to give readers a quick overview of important points and my overall feelings towards the book. I know people might be busy and they just want to know how I liked the book and these three totally help!

Amy says...

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.  

To see my answers make sure to visit the other collab posts!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 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!


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