Hi guys! I have another discussion — I’ve been coming up with a lot of ideas lately. I think they might be my new go-to between reviews. 🙂
Today’s topic: bashing books
As readers and bloggers, we write reviews to share our honest opinions about books we’ve read. Sometimes we read fabulous 5-star books and can write raving reviews that gush over our love for the book. Those are, in my opinion, the best kind of reviews to write. Other times we read great books but we find issues within them and can only give them 3-4 stars. That’s fine. Not all books are perfect to everyone. But then there are times where we just didn’t like a book, or our problems overpowered our likes. We review those too, and give them 1-2 stars (although I’ve only given 1 star to 1 book and that was a DNF). Those are, in my opinion, the hardest kind of reviews to write. I want to get my opinion out there, but I don’t want to be rude/offensive to people who did like it or the author themselves. But sometimes I’ll be reading reviews on Goodreads or here on WordPress and I’ll see that some people have strong dislikes for a book. That’s fine. I can respect their opinions. But I’ll read the review nonetheless because I’m curious, and a few times I’ve seen reviews that seem just plain rude. So that leads me to the main point of today’s discussion: where should the line be drawn between honest criticism and flat-out bashing?
I’m all for sharing your opinion, but I’m against being unnecessarily rude about it. For example:
The Iron Trial was a decent book with an intriguing premise, but I have to admit it wasn’t executed well and I had a lot of issues with it.
– from my own review on this blog
I’m not using my own work because I think I know better than other people or anything like that. I’m using it because I feel it gets my point across the best and because other people who have read my reviews have told me it’s balanced (meaning my dislike was clear but I wasn’t hateful). I also couldn’t find of the examples I’d wanted to use on Goodreads. Just to clear that up. 😉
I made sure in my summarized thoughts and throughout the review to express that the book wasn’t entirely bad and I did like a few aspects. I’ve read other reviews, though not for the same book, doing the same thing: they state their dislikes but also emphasize what they did like and encourage readers to check it out anyway. I personally think that negative reviews should do something along that line.
I made a “h*ll no” shelf just for this book.
How was this book even allowed to be published?
–two comments from Goodreads users on Jennifer Niven’s new book set to release later this year
The summary for Holding Up The Universe (the name of Jennifer’s book) offended a lot of people and the reaction blew out of proportion. I stayed out of the drama because I disagreed and didn’t want to start anything, but it’s a good example for this. This book isn’t even out yet and many people are doing and saying things like that. It likely has happened to other books too, including published ones.
My question is: how is this okay?
I feel like everyone should at least wait until they’ve read a book to be critical, and if they find something wrong with it prior to purchasing/reading the book, then just forget about it. I’ve said that I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I think this is kind of overdoing it.
I’m not going to touch any more on this specific book, but I do have two more examples (purely made up by me).
This is the worst YA book I’ve read in a long time! Jasmine is so shallow and needs to stop worrying about boys. She’s the lost princess! She should be trying to reclaim her kingdom! And the world-building was terrible. I’m definitely not continuing this series! 1 star.
This definitely isn’t the fantasy I hoped it would be. I feel like Jasmine was a bit too preoccupied thinking about boys when she should’ve been planning to reclaim her kingdom. Travis was a pretty cool character though. He was amusing and I think he was my favorite in the book. Also, the world-building could’ve used some work, but I think after some more in-depth explanations, it could be great. I might give the second book a try. 2 stars.
The second review is better, in my opinion, because it’s at least highlighting one small thing (well, character) that was enjoyable. Like I’ve said, I think doing something like that, even if it’s a minute detail, should be included in negative reviews. Or, if there isn’t anything positive you have to say, try to be more gentle and general. Or just don’t write a review. (I won’t be writing a review for To Kill a Mockingbird because I have nothing positive to say about it.)
Okay, so I’ll stop here. I didn’t mean to go on quite as long, but this is something I’m just passionate about I guess. 😛
This was not meant to offend or indirectly criticize anyone, or suggest you need to change your style of review. This was simply meant to give my opinion and see if we agree. 🙂
So that’s my piece. How do you go about writing negative reviews? Do you agree or disagree with me? Why? I’d love to know. 🙂
I’m off to reorganize my bookshelf for no reason and read more of Days of Blood and Starlight and Stars Above. 😛 I hope you enjoyed this discussion!