Spoilers. One of the most controversial topics for readers. We’ve all had experiences with spoilers, and most of them haven’t ended well. They can make or break a book, before you’ve even flipped open the front cover.
So what exactly is a spoiler? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a spoiler is classified as:
1. information about the plot of a motion picture or TV program that can spoil a viewer’s sense of surprise or suspense;
2. a person who discloses such information
Spoilers often take away a sense of suspense that is commonly experienced when reading a novel for the first time. They tend to be received…quite poorly, to put it nicely. I’ve witnessed several major blow-ups that were prompted by a spoiler, both on individual blogs and on Goodreads. Personally, I’ve always found spoilers aggravating – I like to be surprised while reading, and I have a greater tendency to mark a book DNF if I already know the ending or future plot points.
In recent years, many readers have been implementing spoiler warnings or alerts before divulging major plot points of a book that would not be evident from the summary on the back cover. While these are often effective, not everyone chooses to utilize such warnings, allowing the unsuspecting viewer to stumble across a mind-shattering component of a book that he/she has yet to read. Understandably, some of these instances may simply be an oversight of the original poster who was not intending to ruin a book for others, and a few comments to that effect should result in some sort of alterations. However, there are a few occasions when readers intentionally spoil books for others. Yes, intentionally. And if you have yet to come across this, consider yourself fortunate.
I had a lovely encounter with a Goodreads user who sent me a PM about the ending of Allegiant, fully aware that I had yet to read it. They just blatantly explained the ending in its entirety, ruining any of my previous excitement regarding the book. No warning, no heads up, it just jumped straight into a description. Ever since, I’ve found myself being a bit more cautious about opening/reading PMs from people I don’t know particularly well, as well as while reading reviews, because I’ve stumbled across multiple accidental spoilers in reviews.
I apologize for my mini-rant, I got a bit carried away. As you can tell, this is a bit of a touchy subject for me. But now, I want to hear what you think: What have your experiences been with spoilers? Do you think there should be a more concerted effort to denote spoilers to limit the number of times that a book is ruined for someone?