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Monday, May 6, 2019

TOP 10 ANNOYING HORROR REVIEW HABITS

I write reviews for a variety of sources so on Mondays, I make sure that books I have reviewed for SCREAM Mag and Cemetery Dance get their proper lead times before I share them on Amazon and Goodreads. It's helpful for book reviews to be represented across multiple outlets.
I was doing just that this morning--copy & pasting a particular review to Goodreads and Amazon-- when I got distracted reading some other reviews.
My blood began to boil.
I felt a rant coming on...
Instead of unleashing on Twitter, which tends to get me in trouble, I decided to think on it and run the rants through the filter of writing them out properly instead of knee-jerk reacting.
Also, instead of giving myself too much space to ramble, I'm narrowing this down to a TOP 10 List. So here it is:

TOP 10 ANNOYING HORROR REVIEW HABITS:

1. GIFS in Reviews on Goodreads. I'm sorry but these suck and I almost always scroll past them. Often times they're trying to be too funny or cute to be taken seriously. I think there are reviewers on Goodreads who have a following or an audience that specifically shows up for these GIF reviews but I don't think they're at all helpful to anyone and I'm not amused by them. No shame if that's your jam. It's just my opinion that they're annoying.

2. Lowering the star review for not being "scary". It doesn't bother me if the reviewer mentions that they didn't find the book particularly scary but to lower the score for that reason alone is lame. The merit of a quality horror book doesn't rest on if it fulfills one person's standard of scary. All of us are individually scared by different things and it's not the authors sole purpose to meet every, single reader's expectation of scary. That's ridiculous. 

3. Long winded retellings of the plot. It's my understanding that many authors don't particularly enjoy or look forward to writing the synopsis for the back of the book. A lot of work and frustration goes into making that description as concise and informed as it possibly can be without too much detail or not enough details, so a reviewer spending all this time to go over the plot is unnecessary and oversharing to the point of spoiling reader discoveries. 

4. Suggesting people not buy the book. What?? Are you kidding me? Why on earth would anyone recommend that people not "waste their time" or "not buy the book"? I mean, unless the author personally and directly attacked you or harmed you in some way that we should all know about, there is absolutely no just cause in recommending people not read the book or buy it. A review is basically your unbiased reading experience. It's not an opportunity to put people off from trying it for themselves. If your review is written well enough, people may or may not make a choice based on how you felt about the book-to go the extra mile of telling them what to do is over the top. In my humble but strongly felt opinion.

5. Technical aspects. With the exception of editing-like grammar/spelling/typos that make it through to a final copy-I don't think font size or printing errors, publishing mistakes, orders taking too long to arrive--like anything about the condition of the book that doesn't have anything to do with the author, should bare any weight on the actual merit or score. It's just not important. I don't mind when a reviewer mentions it but I get annoyed with whole opening paragraphs being a rant about something that has nothing to do with the story or the author who wrote it. Sorry. It certainly shouldn't reflect in the rating.

6. Rating a book three stars or less but then writing a glowing review. This confuses me so much. If you scored a book 3 stars or less but don't mention anything even remotely critical, it makes me wonder why it's missing those stars. I'm sure anyone who reads the review will wonder what happened or why it didn't rate higher. If there's nothing unsavory worth mentioning, maybe it should rate higher? 

7. Talking too much about other books/authors. I always get a little sad when a book/author falls victim to being compared to other authors/books. The reviews I read this morning were about a book that has a semi-familiar plot trope (not an overused plot trope) and this reviewer spent ample time explaining why they enjoyed this other book with a similar plot trope better. Why?? That's so annoying. Comparison in a favorable way like, "Hey, fans of Stephen King might like this one!" or "This guy writes a bit like Cormac McCarthy" are flattering. But comparisons in the negative like, "This book was trying too hard to be Dracula and here's how it failed in 20 different ways to BE as good as Dracula" isn't helpful because what if your comparison is totally off? I've seen that. Or maybe you should just read Dracula if that's your favorite vampire novel and you compare all other vampire novels to it. It's just unrealistic. (Unless the author is straight up copying someone or something, then full on say that--I have said that before)

8. RUDE, RUDE, RUDE. You don't have to be a bitch in a review of a book you didn't enjoy. It's immature. I recently read a 2 star review of a favorite book of mine where the reviewer praised the concept of the book but then had the audacity to recommend authors that would be better suited to write the book. WTF?! Does it get any more rude? No friends, it does not. The concept and plot of a book comes from the mind of the author. It is the author's story to tell. To suggest that it was a good idea but someone else should have written it, is rage inducing. It's just horribly rude. I also don't think you're qualified to make a statement like that. Who are you? Stay in your lane. 

9. A book is not responsible for your expectations. I've had this discussion before about people saying that a book was overly hyped as being good but then it is the reviewer's assessment that everyone was wrong and the book fell short of their high expectations. Come again?
If a book is getting praise from other reviewers/readers who know their shit and then you read the book and don't like it, it doesn't mean the book was overly hyped or that the hype is wrong. It just means that the praise doesn't line up with your reading experience and that's on you, Sweetheart. It doesn't mean everyone else is wrong. It just means the book wasn't for you. Own it. Don't blame the hype-the hype might be real and the problem is you. That's OK! It's not okay to be arrogant by suggesting the problem is with everyone else. 

10. Tangent reviews. I'm all for a good tangent/rant. Look at this post! It's cathartic for me to write this stuff because it helps me to calm down after I've gotten it all out. But it's not okay to use review space of a specific book to go off on some tangent or pet peeve. I see this a lot. Maybe it's a social issue the book brought up or maybe it's a genre or a writing style, whatever the case may be--save it for a blog post or a tweet or your best friend's text messages--but the review space is for that book. It's not fair to turn it into a personal diary entry.

Anyhoodles.
I feel better.


4 comments:

  1. I SO feel you on so many of these, especially the GIF reviews. As soon as I see one I skip it and go to the next review with some substance.

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  2. An excellent take on book reviews for any genre. Thanks, Sadie!!

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  3. Somewhat guilty of number three. But, your rant is spot on. Just when I thought I couldn't respectyoumore

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  4. I only review books I like. I don't see the reason to write a bad review because my opinion may not be shared by everyone. But if I like a book, I will try to convince people to read it. (Not 100% true - I wrote a terrible review of the first Twilight book.)

    But I do agree with you, especially the GIF reviewers, and numbers 7, 8 & 9. It's got so bad that I rarely read reviews by others before reading a book.

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