I’ve been reading long enough to know that there are a lot of bad summaries out there: be they in the form of an incorrect literary reference (“It’s just like the Hunger Games except it’s not!”) or by adding in a romantic triangle that doesn’t exist (“Dru can’t choose between the boys… because she doesn’t care!”).
But last week I have had the displeasure of reading a book whose summary has committed the worst of sins: spoilers.
The offending summary can be found on the back of the UK edition of Patricia Briggs’ Hunting Ground – an absolutely amazing book, but one in which the action on the back cover did not take place until 2/3rds the way through the book. To make matters even worse, the summary spoils a major character death from the book*. WTF?
Here’s the offending summary (hidden to protect those of you who wish to remain pure):
With all the advances that have been made in forensics, the werewolves will not be able to hide their existence from humans much longer – and Bran wants their coming out party to be on his terms. But his European counterparts don’t see things the same way. Anna and Charles are chosen to represent Bran at a key meeting. But when a French werewolf, one of Bran’s most vocal opponents, is found murdered, Charles’s reputation shoots him to the top of the suspect list. And among the wolves, there is one penalty for breaking the law: death. The killer must be found, or Charles will take the fall.
« Hide Spoiler
Of course summaries are, by their very nature, bound to give away a certain amount of the plot. I understand that. I mean, even saying “Harry Potter is a wizard” is technically a spoiler for the first 4 chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. But that is to be expected. Saying “Harry meets Voldemort in this first book!”, however, is a spoiler I do not expect to find in my summary. And that’s what happens in Hunting Ground.
Spotting this offender made me look back at the summaries for some other books I’ve read recently… and I found another sinner in the pack. This summary for Scarlet by Marissa Meyer not only manages to spoil the ending of Scarlet, it also sets up the plot of the third book, Cress!
Meanwhile, in New Beijing, Cinder will become the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive – when she breaks out of prison to stay one step ahead of vicious Queen Levana.
As Scarlet and Wolf expose one mystery, they encounter Cinder and a new one unravels. Together they must challenge the evil queen, who will stop at nothing to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner . . . « Hide Spoiler
Exactly what drugs were these publishers on when they thought these summaries were a good idea… and how can we get them to rehab?
* It is worth noting that although this summary was on my edition, the US edition seems to have a much better one.