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):
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!
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.