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Sunday, April 26, 2015

3 things that should never be part of a book review



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Yes, I'm a huge
Dr. Who fan.
This list is in order of how often I see such things. I'm only including three things, though this list could be a lot longer. What would you add to this list?

1. Spoilers

I don't completely understand the need of a reviewer to retell a book's entire plot in the review. It isn't the place for such things. Say why you liked it or didn't. Mention what was done well and what wasn't. But don't spoil it for the reader.

Besides, I would guess in most cases a potential reader has already read the author's synopsis of the book. So in a perfect world, someone is already familiar with what the book is about.

Now, I take an extreme view. My reviews hardly ever contain plot descriptions, though if I do, it's one sentence. That's it. I set up what I need to say in the review and move on. If you do include a plot description, please don't say too much.

2. Bad Grammar

Run on sentences seem to be a prerequisite for writing reviews on Amazon. I see them all over the place. Has anyone ever heard of a period?

Now, this becomes down right intolerable if the reviewer is saying that the book has bad grammar. Let me let you in on a little secret.

We don't believe you!

Grammar and punctuation isn't as important if you are talking about other things, such as plot and characterization, though you still lose points in my book if you can't express your opinion with at least a basic understanding of decent sentence structure.

And because of doing book promos with review quotes from Amazon, I read a lot of reviews. Exhausting!

3. Author or Book Bashing

Thankfully I don't see too much of this. When I was thinking about doing this post, I really had the grammar thing in mind. Spoilers quickly came to mind as well. Author bashing fits with this list as it does with any similar list.

Mean and hateful language has no place in a proper book review. Obviously, bashing the author by saying, "This author can't write to save her life," is bad form. Authors, even the ones who can't really write well, work hard to put their work out there. Show some respect, ingrate! You know who you are.

But I think bashing can also be directed at the story itself. I see lots of low star reviews for very stupid reasons, in my opinion. It would be like you go to a restaurant, everything is fine until you are walking out, and something minor happens. Based upon a 2 second event, you rate your experience low. Now, there could be legit reasons for doing so, but I think you get my drift.

Whenever you are writing a book review, it should be tactful yet honest, written well, and not saying too much to ruin the book for the next person.

What would you add to this list?

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