Saturday, 15 January 2011

negative reviews - discussion follow up


Last week I posted about not writing negative reviews. I loved that I got loads of comments but I just wanted to clarify a few things about my position as I think a few people misunderstood what I was saying. (Thank you to those who did comment you really made me think)

I see a negative review as one that has nothing, however small, to say about the book which is positive. I often find what I’ve seen of those types of review that they are often quite nasty or personal or just unreasonable as well.

If I have nothing good to say about a book and I’m half way through I simply don’t finish it. I don’t see that it is worth my time finishing something I am not enjoying and then wasting even more time reviewing it. That said out of the 168 books I read last year there were only 7 I did this with. In which case I put a note on goodreads explaining why I didn’t finish it and include them in a round up post of books I didn’t finish periodically.

What I think some people thought I meant by my post is that I would only post 5 star reviews on my blog – that certainly isn’t the case. Out of everything I read about 10% get a 5 star rating from me and a vast amount get 3 stars. To my mind if I’ve finished a book I’ve liked it enough for at least 2 stars and will review it. I am happy to outline a balanced review in which I outline both what I liked and didn’t like about a book. I think 95% of my reviews are like that. 

I certainly don't believe in giving a book a 5 star rating just because everyone else has - Mockingjay being a prime example of that - people raved about it but I was actually left disappointed and I said so in my review. Another one that springs to mind is Emma Michaels The Thirteenth Chime. People (I suspect in a bid to suck up to her for free swag - which that really didn't need to do as she is lovely) wrote rave reviews, all five stars about her book the instant it came out. I certainly didn't think it was worth that (nothing against Emma's work - I don't think many books are worth 5 stars). I wrote an honest review outlining what I liked and didn't like about it and was pleasantly surprised to see Emma had clicked on my goodreads account to say she liked my review. (If you are interested my review is here)

so to sum up ... 
  • If you see a review on here I have liked that book enough to see it through to the end. 
  • Not everything I review is five stars and sometimes I can't even say why I gave something a lower star rating than another book - a lot of it goes down to how I feel after I finish a book. 
  • If I do post a 5 star review the book has to have been very special and one I would reread time and time again.
  • I will not write negative reviews of books (by negative I mean I have nothing good to say about a title) but ..
  • I will write balanced / neutral reviews saying what was good and bad about a given title.

4 comments:

basma aal said...

I totally agree with you. I dont give 5 stars that often unless I think I could read the book over and over. Giving 3 stars is not bad at all either.

Braiden said...

The most important thing is just to be honest and give your opinion no matter what anyone else says. I don't think I've ever given a 1 star rating because I'm just simply too nice to not tell someone that a certain book is terrible or not worth reading/your time. And when I do give 2 star ratings which are still what I wouldn't call a book for you to read, I shed some positives about it. For example, I recently did a review on Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer which I read last year. I gave that a two, but did it in the way of "this book fell flat for me. It was slow paced and sped up in the end, making it rushed. However Vlad Tod is a character we all would like....yadda yadda yadda" I don't see the point in putting an author down or saying they wasted their time writing this for any reason.

I could go on and on and on....stop me! lol

Aylee said...

Agreed. I wouldn't post a review for a book that I had nothing good to say about either.

Vivienne said...

What an interesting post. I totally agree with you. I believe in constructive criticism. I will always be honest if I don't like a book, but I always point out first what I actually liked. The author wants honesty and so do the public. You are not doing yourself any good by writing a review that isn't true to the book. In the end, other people will stop valuing your reviews, once they read the book and realise it isn't as good as you have said.

There are some books such as Hush Hush and Fallen, which I haven't enjoyed and I have said that in my reviews. I wouldn't want to write a biased review just for free swagger. What is the point.
Sorry I am babbling on, but your blog post, really hit a core.