Ten Tips to Write Better Book Reviews

May 20, 2015

ten tips to write better book reviews
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where we list our top tens!
See, the thing is, I'm someone who needs clear-cut defined instructions and goals when I set out to do something. So having a freebie post this week really doesn't help, y'all. I just spent the entire day trying to figure out what to write, and finally settled on helping out all you poor souls who try your hands at having a book blog and don't know how to write book reviews. With gazillion years of book blogging experience under my belt, plus over a thousand reviews in my archives, I figured it was about time I shared my expertise with less experienced mortals.

So, book reviews.

Book reviews are to book blogs like ketchup is to french fries. You need to load them on SO MUCH, so that all you can see is a sea of red (aren't I clever with my analogies & alliterations? *pats self on back*). Or reviews, in this case.

And without further ado, here are my little pearls of wisdom!

1. SLAM THE AUTHOR

If you don't like the characters, blame the author. If you find the plot boring, blame the author. If you fell asleep while reading because you started the book at 1am, Blame. The. Author. This is key, you understand? In fact, call him/her names in the review, because obviously, if a writer can't keep you interested, he/she has no business being in the business of books.

2. SLUT SHAMING AND VICTIM BLAMING

Of course a girl can't have choices or wants and desires! Who does she think she is? A man?! HA! Oh, she was sexually assaulted? An object of catcalls and jeers? Well, you know what they say... You get what you ask for. That's all I'm saying. And of course it's your job as a reviewer to point out the injustice of trying to stick up for the girl! The people need to know.

3. BE A CRITICAL REVIEWER

That means you need to be critical about everything. Every single thing. Do you understand what I'm saying? I'm saying that you can't give any book a five star! You can't ever have a favourite book if it has flaws. And lets face it, nothing is perfect. I know IRL the quality of nitpicking is not considered attractive, but believe me when I say the opposite is true in book reviews. NIT PICK THE BOOK TO HELL. Take digs at the writing, at the plot, at the way the main female character wears her hair. You need to be a serious critique, little minions, only then can you rise to a place of power (but you'll still be beneath my stature, mind you).

4. SPOILERS GALORE

I hope you know what a spoiler is, because if you don't you don't deserve to have a book blog, much less read a book. Pfft. Ignorant nitwits. Now, assuming you've educated yourself on what a spoiler is, post spoilers EVERYWHERE! In pictures, in big paragraphs, in little paragraphs, or even whole entire paragraphs of spoilers. In your review of Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone write about how Fred Weasley dies in the last book, so there's really no point falling in love with his character. And how you are not allowed to hate Snape because he's the bravest man Harry ever knew, and go on to explain why. Innocent bystanders must not be spared. Hide spoilers in the most unsuspecting places. And you will be rewarded.

5. BE SPARSE ON DETAILS

Book names are kind of okay to mention. Author names... eh. But other than that, nothing. Nothing, okay? No publication date, no publisher details, and definitely no links to Goodreads or Amazon. In fact, just try to keep any detail of any kind to a bare minimum. No one wants you to know all of what you're thinking. Stay away from character names, important plot lines, a unique plot line... you get the point. See, the whole book review thing? It's like a game! A puzzle! Readers need to read between the lines of your review to see what you're trying to say, and whether or not there might be important things that they need to watch for. And if they can't, then obviously they don't have the superior mental functioning required to read your reviews, right?

6. THUMBS DOWN FOR DIVERSITY

Who cares if some kid with Asian heritage who grew up in the US is going to feel like a book is about her? Or if someone from a minority community feels like he's finally coming close to being accepted in pop culture, which is like being just a step away from being accepted in everyday society? I've never lied to my parents or gotten too deep into a shady online community, so obviously, I can't relate. And why would anyone want to read any book that's got a character with a background that's not the same as yours? Even if it seems your thoughts or acts are rooted in the same reasoning, there's no way you can share anything in common. I mean, who are the trying to kid?! And what's with the whole We Need Diverse Books campaign? Ridiculous!

7. NIL VALID ARGUMENTS OR REASONING

Since you're going to be a *critical* reviewer, there are going to a quite a lot of books you'll hate. But remember, no details. You don't like Celaena Sardothien? Wonderful! I hate her too! Now mention that in your review, and engage in a little name calling, but don't say why you don't like her. Oh, you found an aspect of a book offensive? Say the book had things that offended you, but dont say what! In fact, give it a one star, but don't mention anything about why you gave it! Why do readers need to be spoon fed everything?! It's not like you owe them an explanation or anything. Let them read and find out for themselves.

8. GRAMMATICAL ERRORS,  MISSPELLINGS, ETC.

Continuing on the vein that you needn't spoon feed readers, and that reviews are like puzzles, let your inner two year old have free rein over you review! Life is a puzzl, reviews must relect it. Noone gives direcsions or shortcuts, niether shoud you. In fact, mak it even toufest by including short form that noone but those in the inner sircle will get. For instans, ICB that I am riting such AB BS (if you can decode this then welcome to the inner circle, my friend).

9. SUPER LONG IRRELEVANT PASSAGES

It's very important that your review look like it contains some very legitimate points, so you need to make it really really long. But it shouldn't be filled with points relevant to the book or the author or even anything book related. Talk about how your cat sat on your text books the other day and you weren't able to study because of that, and now you're scared you'll fail you exams, but never mind, you always have this crappy book that you can fall back on, so who really cares about text books and studies and education, right?

10. TWEET THE AUTHOR

*sob* We have already come to the last tip I have for you, my dear underlings. Now, this might be the last, but it is the cherry on the proverbial cake. Once you've followed every one of the above mentioned tips, there is one last thing you need to do that will simply shoot you to book blogging stardom. Tweet the author with a link to you negative review. Now you can't rant all you want about the book on Twitter, but don't tag the author on those tweets. And on the tweet that you do tag the author, with a link to your review, of course, don't give a single hint about it being a negative review. Why? Hmph. I just said that we reviewer don't ever give reasons for anything, but oh well. It's so that you don't miss out on the page views, silly!

And now, with these little helpings of sound wisdom, you  are ready to take on the book blogging world and kick the hell out of writing reviews!