SERIESous Discussion: Is “Predictable” a Spoiler?

SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!

I have to give a shout out to meena @ Tattooed Pages for inspiring me to write this post after I read her post on What’s a Spoiler? earlier this year. It really got me thinking and made me ask the question:

Is saying a book is “predictable” a spoiler?

I know I’ve been guilty of saying a book is predictable in my reviews in the past. It’s been the reason I’ve down-rated quite a few books in the past as well.

So let’s play out both sides of the argument.

Why I think it is a spoiler:

If I read a review of a book and note that the reviewer says it is predictable, that may or may not stay in my mind while I read. I like to think I’m pretty sharp and can figure out what is going to happen early on. So, once that starts to happen and I remember that the book is “predictable”, the momentum of suspense is going to die down a bit because I probably have figured out what is going to happen. There goes the fun in trying to find out how everything is going to work out in the end.

Why I think it isn’t a spoiler:

Reading is such a subjective thing and one that is influenced by your personal experiences and past reads. If this is your first time reading a dystopian novel, you are probably unfamiliar with the common tropes. Compared to someone who has read multiple dystopian novels, you might have a harder time predicting what will happen. You might not be able to see what will happen or maybe you will guess wrong. So knowing that a book is “predictable” beforehand might not influence your reading experience too much.

What about noting that there are “lots of plot twists”?

Again, this is a hard one to have a definitive answer for. If you know ahead of time, you might start anticipating plot twists when there aren’t any. Or, it may not bother you at all.

So in short: I don’t have a definitive answer!

However, I know that I am going to be more aware of saying those very things in my reviews. I strive to be “spoiler free” in my reviews but, as you can see, it’s challenging sometimes!

What’s your stance?

Is saying a book is “predictable” or has lots of “plot twists” spoilers?

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Comments 9

  • I agree with your answer. It totally depends on the book and sometimes I do like a book even if it’s a bit predictable but it depends on the way it is executed. Great post!

  • I think practically anything could be a spoiler in the right context,so anyone who is particularly invested in not knowing anything about a book should avoid reviews.

    However, I think “predictable” is only a spoiler if you say, for instance,”The end is predictable.” Particularly if you’re talking about a specific genre or plot. If someone says the end of middle grade book about a girl with cancer is predictable, I hear “Happy ending; she’s cured.” Saying a book as a whole is predictable is not a spoiler to me and is, in fact, something I want to know before picking up a book.

    • While I write a lot of reviews, I rarely read them for books I know I want to read simply for the fact that I’m terrified of reading a spoiler. I like going in without knowing anything.

      But you know, that’s a good point about “what” you say is predictable. For me, spoiling the ending is the absolute worst thing you can do–why bother reading if you already know how it goes down? But the journey there can offer lots of possibilities. I know for me, there are certain types of genres I want to be surprised with while a read. I don’t want to read a “predictable” dystopian novel anymore because I want something refreshing in that genre. So knowing beforehand would be helpful.

  • hey thanks for the shout out! Gah, I’ve thought these things too! and like you, I’m kinda on both sides. I definitely see how “predictable” can stick with someone through a book. It’s even worse when someone mentions the ending, specifically, is predictable. I think that’s when it crosses the line. I’d still mention if I thought a book was predictable in my review, though. I mean I’m supposed to give my thoughts on it right? I’d just not specify what it is that made me think that.

    • For sure, I think the more specific you get with what is “predictable” the more it can become a spoiler for the reader. I’m starting to get pickier about what I read and I don’t want to necessarily spend it on a novel that I can figure out early on so I do appreciate when it is noted in reviews.

  • Traditionally I’ve never shied away from noting if a book is predictable or not in my reviews, because I never really saw it as a spoiler. I can definitely see how it may be taken as a spoiler now, however at the end of the day I think there’s a bit of personal accountability on the reader to understand that some things may influence their reading of a novel if they choose to read reviews beforehand.

    • For sure, everyone interprets things differently.

      As I revisit this post since I wrote it, I think I lean more towards the camp that wants to know if it’s “predictable”. I read so many books nowadays that I don’t want a book that I can predict as soon as I read the synopsis. So I look for that predictable comment in reviews to make sure I’ll enjoy the novel.

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