How not to write a review

Whether for a film, a book or anything else, a review should give some idea of WHAT is wrong with the book and WHY you didn’t like it.  Characters?  Storyline?  Writing style?  Morals espoused?

By the same token, you should also indicate what you LIKED, if anything.  Reviews are both to advise other readers and to give the author an honest critique.  Authors can’t improve based on “I hated this book.  It was awful.”

This was someone’s 1-star review of a book on Amazon.  Note one of the comments on the review that I especially liked!

Review:  Ok this is soo not a good book it’s horrible it does not describe the book at all and it does not even pull you in talks about a bad book this was the worst it really does not um should not get anything.higher then a one or two stars a t first I was like ok Maybe I’ll give it a try then when I did give it a try it was horrible it did not give any what so ever detail not a good book don’t waste your time on reading it or buying it don’t Not worth it plz don’t buy it it’s not with it it is ok I’d say but I literally had to drag myself through out the whole book so it’s not worth it but its your opinion so try it if you want but I am just saying my opinion NOT A GOOD BOOK at All

 

Comment:  Perhaps it was the book’s heavy reliance on punctuation she took offence to?

Willing Suspension of Disbelief

There seems to be an awful lot of romance books out there with essentially the same plot:  a woman marries some random guy to avoid an arranged marriage.  Does the random guy being younger/handsomer/richer/more titled somehow make that any less of an arranged marriage?  They always seem to fall in love with each other after entering into such marriages, but who’s to say that wouldn’t/couldn’t have happened with the original arranged marital prospect as well, if given the chance.  Yes, romance readers must have a GREAT willingness to suspend their disbelief if they accept this premise as reasonable.

Book Review: The Cursed Child

(some possible mild spoilers)

Moments of it are good, but overall it was disappointing.

It is a pointless sequel/continuation (like so many movies/books, trying to keep the money train running).

Perhaps due to the script form, it is too cursory to really develop the characters and situations. Often I got lost trying to figure out why something was happening/done/said or even what was going on.

There is a glaring error in the fight with “what’s her name” (I forget and I’m too lazy to go look it up – the villainess).  She disarms Harry and he’s hiding.  Albus manages to pop up and distract her, and Harry attacks.  But there is never any indication of how or even that he got his or any other wand back.  Did he dive for it while she was distracted?  Did Albus send one flying into his hand?

After the great build-up of the series of Harry Potter books, this story/conflict resolution was too easy and simplistic.

At times, Harry seemed totally out of character.  Most of the others seemed reasonable, but particularly when he is giving McGonagall orders – not buying it.  Granted this is an older, stressed Harry, possibly even a bit jaded, but that sort of thing was just never in his character.  I didn’t believe it, even acting as a “concerned father”.

I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it.  Just “meh”.  Shrug it off as read, set it aside and likely never read it again.  (Whereas I’ve reread the original HP books several times.)

That’s not to say that I’m totally down on all additional things Harry Potter.  Fantastic Beasts looks like it is interesting, and could be very good.  If that proves true, the fresh take on this world will prove preferable than trying to re-energize a finished story in the original books with additional “sequels”.  The “snapshots” on Pottermore of various aspects of the wizarding world can be interesting and entertaining, but The Cursed Child just fell flat, in my opinion.  Still, others love it, so I guess it depends on individual taste.

Why is it called common sense when there is nothing common about it?

The gods of writing can be cruel. Best ideas always seem to come when you are struggling with one story – though the ideas aren’t for THAT story. Or they come just as you are settled into bed for the night. I’ve tried ignoring them, thinking I’ll remember and write them down the next day. That doesn’t work. IF I remember at all, the wonderful perfect phrasing of the previous night is gone and the beauty is lost.

I have put pen and paper in the bathroom next to the nightlight. I can usually manage to scribble enough to capture it for later, though it still necessitates getting out of bed.