Shannon Thompson explores the relationship between in-depth discussions and spoiler-free reviews over at her site. My take appears in her comments section, but I’ll re-post it here:
A good review has spoilers. At a base level, a reviewer could supply a “I liked it” or I didn’t like it” and if you generally agree with that reviewer’s likes and dislikes, that would be all you need. But let’s face it, we want a wordy, explanatory review rather than a thumbs up or thumbs down because we *love* to read, and that reading includes reviews, especially lengthy ones that the reviewer puts a lot of thought and effort into. A review that doesn’t include at least a few spoilers is a waste of time, because expressing vague generalities buys you no credibility as a reviewer.
As an example, I recently read reviews for a book on Amazon, trying to determine if I should spend my hard-earned money on it. A couple of spoiler-free reviews almost had me convinced I should buy it, but two reviews that contained spoilers gave me information that I knew would make me regret my purchase. The reviews don’t have to be negative – they just need to provide you with a little more information. And to be honest, with the growing pile of books I have to read, by the time I get around to the book in question and get absorbed in the story, those spoilers have been relegated to the far recesses of my mind and are no threat to ruin a story.
With that said, I do try to give a warning if I feel I’m about to reveal a major plot point that would remove surprise and/or tension from the story.
A great topic to consider from Shannon that helped me to explain why my reviews are not spoiler-free…