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How to write a review without spoilers

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Have you read reviews that describes the whole story of a book (movie, show etc.) and found yourself disappointed? Or read a review which lead to reading a book and discovered that the most interesting plot had been given away in the review? Maybe you have to write an review and have no clue how to do that?

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You are in the right place! In this post, I will explain how to write a killer review without spoilers. If you are new to my blog and not sure do my advice is worth reading (and following) then you can check out my ARC review.

Spoilers spoil it

I hate when a review turns out to be a retelling of a story. Retelling and summarizes have their purposes and are needed, but they should be labeled correctly. I was in an in-depth study of literature and was required to read a lot of books. So I was thankful for finding someone’s retellings on the books I didn’t have time to fully read.

Review – to think or talk about something again, in order to make changes to it or to make a decision about it:

Cambridge dictionary

I don’t like when I am looking for new book or a movie and find myself ripped of a change to explore the story myself. Specially when they give a way the plot. Why would I spend my time to follow a story I already know?

But how can you review without a story?

This actually is easier than it seems. In this post, I will focus on books so it would be easier to write (and read), but this can be applied to anything – books, movies, tv-shows, blogs etc. The form of a creation doesn’t matter. The goal is to let the reader know did you liked it or not and why. Not to explain what is happening in the story.

The main secret ingredient of a good review is former familiarity with books. It will be hard to write a good review on the first book you read. So you have anything to compare it to. The more you have read the better and it helps if you have read a different type of book.

What did you read?

Firstly in the introduction you can talk about what did you read and why. The good way to introduce the book is name, author and recap author has chosen. First two are needed so reader knows, what to look for (or avoid). The recap is public anyway so you can’t spoil anything with this. I used them a lot in school since we needed to hit certain length.

With the why – you can explain how you found the book and what made you read it in the first place. You probably had heard something about it or someone recommended it. This is also a good place to add some of your expectations to the book you had before reading. Apparently in school mandatory reviews “the teacher told me” doesn’t get positive feedback from a teacher – so for school purposes figure out some better reason or skip this part.

Compare it with other books

This part needs that you have read at least few books before. Good way is to review writing style of current book and compare the writing with other books, authors or other books from same author.

Some authors have vivid description skills, some create explosive dialogue, some have excellent and twisting backstory. Most of the authors try to balance these and here you can judge with your own words how did it work. Are there more descriptions than other similar books or less. Did the storyline followed same path as other similar books or not?

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For example, romance books tend to follow a path where the main character meets the One, there will be some obstacles and in the end – they get together and live happily ever after. So if you read romance book that went off the path you can point out there was unexpected twist. But don’t tell what. Let the next reader have the same suprise element that you had.

How did you felt?

There is no better way to give review a personal touch than to tell how did you felt while reading. Were you caught in the story, exited, sad, anxious, irritated, surprised – any feeling you had while reading is worth mentioning and the good book will give you several of them. Use them and bind different feelings together to describe the book.

Ending the review

But don’t spill all your feelings and thought in one breath. Leave some, and maybe the best ones to the end. Sum up your experience with the book and reveal your recommendation in clear way: would you suggest current book to others and why – or why not?

If not – don’t forget that people are different and someone else might like it. So in here you have a change to say who might enjoy it. Bring out that if a reader likes some dominant characteristic of the book then this book might be right for a reader.

I hope this post has given you ideas how to write a review or give some extra layer to any other writinh

17 thoughts on “How to write a review without spoilers

  1. It’s fun to share reviews on sites like Goodreads. It gives me a chance to organize my thoughts about the story and highlight it in a way that might make other people want to read it, too. Book reviews are a great resource for finding new books to read, too. I’ve especially appreciated reviews about books that focus on personal finances and even wrote my own review of the top FIRE (financial independence / retire early) books on my site.

    1. I recently discovered Goodreads and this is a great place. I really appreciate the option to mark if review has spoilers and then review isn’t immediately displayed and you need to click to see it. Makes a lot easier not to accidently ruin my reading experience.

  2. Thank you for sharing how to write spoiler free reviews. Using an excerpt or recap that the author has chosen is a great way to introduce others to the book. This ensures that we’re not giving too much away or retelling the entire story. It also gives the reader a chance to either decide whether it sounds like something they’d enjoy or skip. Great tips here!

  3. Writing reviews without giving anything away is one of the hardest things to do, isn’t it? Like you say, you have to remember that not everyone will have read the book/seen the film and you need to be mindful not to spoil it for them. Good tips, thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

    1. It is. I often reread my reviews after few days to be sure and sometimes remove some parts. But a good review is good to read and can attract more readers/viewers, because it will make people curios.

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