This Blog entry was prompted by the mistake I made this morning. Had I looked at the Amazon reviews of The Shepherd's Crown, first, I would have been prepared by this.
DO NOT READ THIS. There's a massive spoiler right from the start, shameful review, ruins the book for people who haven't read it.
The Telegraph went even one step further in its spoiler-laden, non-review, telling its readers about the ending twist Pratchett had planned but never got the time to write.
What, then makes a good review? In my opinion, and not one shared by many newspaper editors it seem, it does not include plot spoilers. It is not a summary (though a brief outline of the scope of the book (setting, characters, themes) is fine.
MWNN told me an anecdote from Have I Got News for You, where a panelist revealed who killed Dumbledore in Book 6 of the Harry Potter Series. Although many people will have read the book by now, or seen the film, Giles Brandreth feigned horror on behalf of those who hadn't.
The Shepherd's Crown hit the bookshelves yesterday. I, for one, am saving it for reading later in the year. I was, however, keen to read the reviews. To say that the newspaper spoilers have runied it for me would be overstating things, but I did want to react to the book as I read it, without any foreknowledge interfering.
The Independent published a good review without resorting to spoilers.