Writing Negative Book Reviews

22 Sep

I write book reviews for a magazine, and of the twenty-five or so novels I have reviewed in the past year, most have been well-crafted, with appealing characters and story lines that kept me turning the pages until the end. Even if the book was not one I would have picked up by my own choice, if I was drawn into the story and could see where the author was taking me, I enjoyed the book. Reviewing gives me an opportunity to expand my own reading horizons and try a new sub-genre. (Most of the books I review are in the mystery or suspense category.) However, the novel I most recently reviewed, I found to be flawed in several areas. Although the story line had possibilities, and most of the characters were well-developed, the story lacked fluidity and some of the elements of the plot were too far-fetched to be believable. I felt bad when I wrote the review. I like to say positive things about fellow authors, but I felt that honesty was important. Of course this is my opinion. That is what a book reviewer does — reads a book and then writes her opinion. But when the negative outweighs the positive, it is difficult to anticipate seeing the review in print, and wonder how the author will feel.I don’t know how other reviewers feel, but this was a difficult task for me.

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