I thought I’d share a few reviews today. As a writer, I of course love to read, and usually wish I had time to read more. I’ve written a few reviews of novels I’ve read in the past six months that have made an impression on me one way or the other.
Like any writing I do, I look to improve my skill. I’m curious what you look for in a review specifically? For me, I find two things most useful:
- A reviewer who tries to differentiate between subjective and objective factors. For example, if a main character behaves inconsistently, or if a conflict is solved in an arbitrary or unsatisfactory way, versus a style choice, such as one of the main characters who is constantly betraying allies. Some readers like certain styles, and some do not. But regardless of if you like a particular style choice, I feel it unfair to rate the work as good or bad in a review just because it doesn’t coincide with your personal preferences.
- Can the reviewer give enough of a flavor of the style and tone of the story that I am able to decide if it would be interesting to me, yet without too many spoilers. I like surprises. The good kind of surprises, not the my car won’t start in the morning kind of surprises.
As a reviewer the thing I most loath is assigning a star rating. Despite many platforms having a key as to what ratings are suppose to mean, I feel that there tends to be quite a bit of inflation. And it bothers me when I give a rating according to the key, let’s say three stars = it was a good book, I read it all the way through, and might look at the sequel when I have time, yet having the feeling that many readers might associate this with average or perhaps not worth bothering. Rant mode disengage.
And now on to the reviews:
His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
Any comments or suggestions as to either how you like to review novels, or what I could do to improve my reviews would be most welcome.
Have a great weekend!
Harpyness is Only Skin Deep blends outlandish fantasy, the most unlikely of friendships, and endearing characters in a uniquely witty, charming style.
A fantasy novel for adult readers
Harpyness is Only Skin Deep is live! Available in eBook, paperback and hardcover.
Ebook (Kindle ASIN: B082Z44YDG)
Paperback (ISBN: 9781678882334)
Hardcover (ISBN: 9781078763516)
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3 thoughts on “I Love Fantasy! Let’s Do Some Reviews.”
I haven’t actually analyzed myself in what I do or don’t like in book reviews, though I wholeheartedly agree that it stinks on how arbitrary the popular point system to rate everything is. But what’s a good alternative?
I have just read through your reviews on Goodreads and liked what I read. It gave me a pretty good idea if I might like the writing, the style, the flavor of the book. What I am missing in all of them, is a little bit of the story, ‘this book is about xyz’ – no spoilers, of course, or hidden like you did. Hah – I did like the spoilers 🙂 Happy reading!
The star rating can be problematic because I have seen fans of a writer who give 5 stars for every work they write. Um, not to be rude but most high profile writers do not consistently write 5 star review novels, so it throws the rating off a bit I’d say. I’d look for if the story was engaging and well-told; meaning does it follow it’s own conclusions, pay-offs, etc. and does the narrative flow. I also like to know about any so called “triggers” as some stories can turn quickly from you were expecting. There’s shock value that can be appropriately applied, and then there’s just clubbing your reader unaware. I’ll check out your reviews
Reviewing, especially the star rating is a problematic matter in almost all kind of art. Books and novels are no exception. The rating is often based on pure subjective tastes and does not necessarily reflect the actual quality of art.
You can either like or dislike how the story is proceeding but one objective criteria to pay attention to is whether the story is consistant and logical, concerning plot-twists, character-development and the flow of the story in general.
That is one example what a rating should be based on but even at this point, subjective interferences will alter the result. At certain points, it might be left to the opinion of the respective audience how “good” the story is following its own sets and opinions may differ. Also I guess readers often tend to compare one piece of art to others they consumed before and base their evaluation and critic on this comparison although two pieces of art are possibly not as “comparable” as it may seem at first glance.
That been said, I can completely agree with your opinion on what a review should be base on and I think you followed this ideas in your own reviews.