Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Contrast of Reviews

"What book were you reading?"

Raise your hand if you've thought that when reading a review that you disagreed with. That sense of confusion is the subject of this week's post. I've wondered how two people can read the same book and have opposite opinions of the same thing. Not subjective things like 'thrilling' or 'well written' but factual details as well. I have experience with this on both ends.
1. Reading
The first book I read as a book reviewer was called 'Talented'.  The author marketed it as a sci-fi thriller staring a teenage psychic that works for what is, more or less, the CIA. What I read was a teen romance drama with the above as a veneer. (You can read the rest of the review here). This was part of a Goodreads group so I expected the others to concur but they didn't. Most of them said they liked the action and conspiracy plot. If they mentioned the romance it was only in positive terms. This baffled me so much I wrote a second blog post which I will not link to because it is bitter and angry. (If you want to look for it, go ahead. Maybe you can confirm or deny my theories.)
Then there was one review where I agreed with everything the reviewer said but I didn't like the book as a whole.  They read my review and acknowledged that the romance bogged down the plot. It came down to 'agree to disagree'.
2. Writing
As of this writing A Mage's Power has 38 reviews ranging from one star to five star. The one thing they agree on is that it needs professional editing. (Which has been taken care of!) I will focus on two reviewers that took contrasting views on the protagonist's development.  One says it follows the cliche of 'instant hero' and another says did not follow the 'normal weakling to massive power within a few chapters' progession.  As the author I can safely say that Eric does not kill a monster on his own until chapter nine and his teammates kill the same breed of monster at the same time and also on their own.
I would like to discuss the first review with its writer but a blog post from Jean Gill advised me against interacting with readers who give negative reviews. (You can read it here.)  So I am left to ponder alone and in silence, unless you have any ideas.

Do you?


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  2. Really enjoyed this!

    It got me thinking how I always hate it when people trash a well-written book just because it's "not their thing." Certainly, you're entitled not to like the book. And to say you didn't like it. And to rate it poorly on that account. But I wish more people would stop to ask themselves, "Why didn't I like this?" and "Do those reasons constitute true flaws with the book or is it just that I don't like this genre?" for instance. (I'm not saying you do this in your reviews, btw. I've read your reviews and I don't feel you do. It's just an general observation)