Do you Prefer Shorter or Longer Book Summaries?

Hey there everyone! Welcome to my first discussion post! I’m hoping this is the first of many ones to come. Today I want to be discussing whether we like shorter or longer descriptions to books. Do you like a lot of detail and plot explanation? Or do you like something short, sweet and mysterious?

Personally, I like shorter summaries! With shorter summaries, the reader is left to interpret where the story can go and doesn’t give too much information about the book! I’ve noticed that most fantasy books have lengthier summaries compared to contemporary books (Which makes sense) but I like short summaries that are concise and aren’t too broad or cliche. Something that separates the novel among others in the genre.

Although I’m still very new to the fantasy genre, there IS one summary (or rather, PART of a summary that’s short) of a contemporary book that got my attention:

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.”

The excerpt of the summary is from Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover, and while I have mixed feelings about the book now, over 5 months after reading it, I think the summary is AMAZING. Short. Interesting. And  promising.

Some other great summaries include Vicious by V.E. Schwab, Red Rising by Pierce Brown and Court of Fives by Kate Elliott all listed in the following respectively:

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

The Earth is dying.
Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it.
The Reds are humanity’s last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie.

That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds.
A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought. Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside.

But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.

Break the chains.

Live for more.

On the Fives court, everyone is equal.

And everyone is dangerous.

Jessamy’s life is a balance between acting like an upper-class Patron and dreaming of the freedom of the Commoners. But away from her family, she can be whomever she wants when she sneaks out to train for the Fives, an intricate, multilevel athletic competition that offers a chance for glory to the kingdom’s best competitors.

Then Jes meets Kalliarkos, and an improbable friendship between the two Fives competitors—one of mixed race and the other a Patron boy—causes heads to turn. When Kal’s powerful, scheming uncle tears Jes’s family apart, she’ll have to test her new friend’s loyalty and risk the vengeance of a royal clan to save her mother and sisters from certain death.

Now you’re wondering what makes a bad/long summary in my eyes, right? Usually one that gives an over-detailed plot explanation. For some strange reason, I can’t think of any, but I’ve noticed that fantasy books tend to go into A LOT of detail and sometimes it just gives too much detail.

So which do you prefer? Do you like to be left guessing or do you need an idea of what you’re reading before you start a book? Let me know! 🙂

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19 thoughts on “Do you Prefer Shorter or Longer Book Summaries?

  1. dawnabron says:

    When I’m searching for book reviews, I already know what the book is about so I don’t read summaries on blogs. When I write a summary, I do an annotated summary which is about 2-3 sentences.
    This is an interesting topic; I’m curious to see what others say.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lila says:

    I prefer to have about a standard paragraph (5 sentences) of intriguingly vague/mysterious info. The summary of Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover was the perfect example–concise, draws you in, leaves a bit of mystery, hints at what’s to come–perfection!

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  3. Jess I. says:

    I like short and sweet summaries as well. I don’t want to spend 5 minutes reading the synopsis when I could spend one minute and the remaining four actually reading the book. Shorter summaries tend to, like you said, be open ended. The whole point of a synopsis is to draw you in and I find that shorter summary = more mystery = more intrigue = more likely that I’ll pick it up.

    However, I think for fantasies I don’t mind how long those are, especially for the first book of a series. There’s a lot of world building and new concepts going on so it’s definitely good to know what you are getting into before picking up the book so you aren’t left confused.

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  4. Iridescence says:

    I would like the main plotline, the climax, to be in the summary. I want the names, situation and problems. Reading those in the blurb, I decide whether to read it or not.

    I prefer short summaries too. But, I don’t mind long summaries as long as the main point is highlighted or is in bold. That way, I can just read and pass or if I want to I can read the whole paragraph in detail.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide says:

    I prefer somewhere in the middle! Short summaries don’t usually tell me enough of what the plot is. They introduce a hook but that hook may not give off the proper vibe of the book. Long summaries might as well be their own books and tend to give TOO much plot away. It’s hard because I’m a MAJOR spoiler-avoider so while I do prefer less in the synopsis, I don’t want it to be so short that I don’t really understand what’s happening! 😀

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  6. The Writing Duo says:

    I think I tend to dislike short summaries if they’re TOO vague. But I can see how the Ugly Love summary is to the point and intriguing. I tend to need a full length summary–two or three paragraphs–to get a sense of the space in the text and whether i’m interested; what’s worse is reading a vague summary saying one thing, but the book ends up being completely different! So I suppose somewhere in the middle, or a little lengthier! (Sorry for the long comment lol) 😀 Great post!

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  7. Cyra @ Rattle the Pages says:

    This is an interesting discussion! I never really thought about it before, but I guess if I had to decide right now I’d say shorter is probably better. It seems like some longer ones just give too much away. I don’t even remember most summaries that I read. I think I read it and it just goes in and comes right back out. I know I read them, but I never remember them that well! But definitely ones like Ugly Love are perfect! They just need to hook you on what happens and leave you needing to read it! Great post!

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  8. Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads says:

    I don’t necessarily think that I prefer one over the other. I guess I kind of prefer something in the middle? I’m not sure, I haven’t thought about it that much haha I definitely agree with you that I dislike when the summaries give away plot details, but I also like enough detail to get me to be interested in the book and to have enough of an idea on the plot so I know it’s something I’ll enjoy.

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