One of the things I find the most frustrating about being a wide reader as well as a writer is the reading community’s hate/hate relationship with spoilers. You don’t want to ruin the story, sure. But we have these things called spoiler tags. No one can force you to read something explicitly identified as a spoiler. And yet it’s impossible to find full summaries of books anywhere short of a sporking.
Why would I want to read summaries? Because many of the people who write reviews are really bad at it. Especially for the negative reviews. Part of it is bad because of a desire to avoid spoilers, but just in general, it’s really hard to write a good review, especially for your average reader. That said, it’s really frustrating to have a review discuss how bad the romantic relationships and world-building are, and how predictable the plot is, but not know why they think that. Everyone has different opinions, and tastes vary widely, so reviews like that can be completely worthless.
And now I’m going to be a little bit controversial here. I don’t think spoilers are really that big of a deal. For the big reveal, maybe. However, if a writer is really any good, you can know many of the major plot points and still love the book. It’s one thing to know that the MC ends up with the bad boy, and quite another to see how she gets there. Especially for trainwreck scenes. Many major twists involve attributes of the trainwreck, and the whole point of a trainwreck is that it’s better if you know what’s coming. This is especially true of romantic subplots. And let’s be honest, a lot of “big twists” are fairly predictable anyway. In fact, that seems to be a major complaint in those vague reviews I mentioned earlier.
And then consider how often people re-read books. It might not be as common now as it was in the past, but it still happens quite a bit.
So what, really, is everyone so afraid of?