Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Decoding the book review

I have a question about book reviews. As a reader, I rarely choose a book without knowing something about it, at least when I'm trying a new author. Now if the author is known to me, and I enjoy their books, then I will usually buy whatever new release is out there. One of the ways that I 'filter' new authors is to read blogger book reviews. I do this because a blogger typically has genre specific knowledge- All Things Urban Fantasy focuses on urban fantasy, SciFiGuy deals with UF, paranormal romance and SF&F, VampChix is all vamps. You get what I'm saying, right? I'm trusting that their interests might be similar to mine which means that I can trust the reviews to steer me in the right direction reading-wise.

As some of you may know, I occasionally do book reviews over at VampChix. This leads me to today's question:

What sort of book review do you prefer to read? Do you enjoy it when a reviewer absolutely trashes a book? Do you want your reviews to be bluntly honest, good or bad? Or would you prefer a sugar-coated review?

I'm also curious to see what format for reviews you prefer. What is your ideal book review like?


feringhee said...

My favorite book review is not one that tells me if a book's good or bad, cause you don,t know my taste. Therefore you don't know what i like. So don't dish it. Don't sugarcoat it. But be honest. My favorite review is from other readers.

Donna [F.D. Ramblings] said...

I like short reviews on the person's thoughts and whether they liked the book or not with some the reasons for it. I can decide from that whether I will like a book or not.

I really don't care for a summary of the book unless the official book summary is misleading. I think book reviews, in my opinion should be based on a person's thoughts about a book only.

If someone doesn't like a book, I don't want them to trash it because that's someone else's hard work. I think reviews on books that didn't work for people can be done tastefully.

Jen D. said...

I'm in agreement with Donna. Tell me what you liked or disliked but, don't disect the plot and tell me everything that happened. I don't like when authors get beat up on either. Different strokes for different folks. If it wasn't your cup of tea then that's fine. You can state that without ripping the author to shreds.

Zita said...

What I like is a short (one paragraph) synopsis (NOT back copy) of the story and then a paragraph about whether the reader liked it or not and why (or why not). I tend to skip over a review if the reviewer blathers on about the book. If it's really detailed, why bother reading it myself? And I can't stand it if the reviewer blurts out an opinion and then doesn't back it up. "I hated this story and no one else in the universe should read it either." Not helpful :-). I also hate it when a reviewer reviews a suspense as if it were a mystery. "I figured out who did it by the second sentence, and so will you." Well, no kidding, when the author writes in the second sentence that Joe Blow killed on a daily basis, but the murders isn't what the story is about. Let's call a spade a spade, shall we? I bet you can tell that's a favourite rant of mine :-).

Rain Maiden said...

I too like a short but sweet review..and you have to keep it honest.

jacabur1 said...

I am in the same mind as all of the others so far, like the review short sweet and to the point. I read constantly and there are things about each book that could pick to death but on a whole they are fine and entertaining...
I like honest reviews without spoilers and have found many authors from the many blog site reviews and enjoyed their works immensely thanks to people like yourself Anna a fellow reader and yes Abigail, Doug and Michele.

jackie b central texas

Anna Dougherty said...

Thanks for all the feedback! I'm scheduled to review Burning Shadows over at VampChix and was really having trouble writing the review. I loved the book and really wanted to do it justice, ya know? So I delayed my review until I got some feedback for what other readers really look for. I was happy to see that we were all on the same page!

This post will stay up through tomorrow and then I will post the regular weekend shout out.

Thanks again!


Daelith said...

I like short, honest reviews myself. Keep it simple, but add some thoughts on some particular points you liked better or disliked. No need to trash a book if you dislike it (though I've been tempted to myself at times), but give some insight as to what you didn't like or how it annoyed you.