I always hate it when the blurb on the back of a book, or the cover image gives away the BIG SECRET in a book. Like for example, HUSH, HUSH:
The plot is based around the slow reveal that there's something strange about Patch. What could it be? Why is he always there to save Nora, even when it's impossible? What's up with those weird scars on his back?
HUSH, HUSH is almost 400 pages long and around page 250, Nora is just starting to put the clues about Patch together, and yet, thanks to the cover, I'm screaming at Nora from practically page one HE'S A FALLEN ANGEL!!! WATCH YOUR BACK!!! (Um, yeah, sorry if I spoiled that for you. But, seriously, the UK cover even features the tag line "A fallen angel... A forbidden love.") And I couldn't help but feel a little bad for Becca Fitzpatrick because all the masterful plotting and suspense she created lost some of it's edge because the biggest secret was right there on the cover. There was still plenty of tension, and lots to keep you hooked though. HUSH, HUSH is a great book that I highly recommend if you haven't read it yet!
This also happens with blurbs, like with TWILIGHT, whose back cover blurb starts out with this quote from the book:
About three things I was absolutely positive:
First, Edward was a vampire.
Second, there was a part of him–and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be–that thirsted for my blood.
And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.
Now I don't know if the original blurb from when the book was first released in 2006 is the same, but again, it gives away a huge chunk of the mystery. TWILIGHT is over 500 pages long, and much of the opening is devoted to Why is Edward and his family so strange? It's over 100 pages before it's revealed that Edward is a vampire. 100 pages that I wanted to flip through just to get to the part where he admitted it because I already knew it was coming. Again, I thought it was a shame because the buildup to that moment is done really well. I imagine that if I hadn't known, I would've found those opening pages, page-turners.
Even worse is when the blurb gives away the answer to a cliffhanger ending of a previous book. You know, Book 1 ends with the love-interest missing and presumed dead, and the blurb for Book 2 - or the cover image, even - starts off with something that makes it clear that the love-interest is alive and well. I'm trying to come up with a series that's done this, but I'm drawing a blank at the moment.
It's a trade-off I suppose. HUSH, HUSH could've gone with a more ambiguous cover. Maybe something with a mysterious cute guy with a hat pulled down low over his eyes and a sexy grin, but it wouldn't have been as eye-catching. And even though we don't learn what Patch is right off, the cover does highlight the overall subject of the story. It doesn't bother me as much as say, if the entire book had been about finding out what Patch was, and it ended with the reveal that he was an angel.
With TWILIGHT, between the totally vague and unrelated cover image and the long buildup of an even longer book, I can see why it would be important to state the hook up front, otherwise, people might not keep reading.
What are your thoughts on this? How do you feel about covers and blurbs that give too much away? Does it ruin the story for you if you've figured out the mystery the main character is still trying to put together?
Also, if you're actually still reading, what do you think of my blog's new look?