Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How Book Reviews Ruin Books

I just want to start off by saying that I usually buy a book based on the back, rather than reading a review of the thing. I usually check out the reviews after I've read it to see what other people have to say about it. The book I'm currently reading is so awful that I had to check out reviews to see if it gets better, and I decided to compile this nice little list of where reviews totally lose me.

1. Compare the book to Tolkien
I freaking hate Tolkien. Sure, his books made some great movies, but they're awful to read. I would rather translate the Aneid from Latin than read a chapter of one of his books. His writing style is overly verbose, dull, and unnecessarily roundabout. If I read a review that says it's as good as Tolkien's books, then I'm likely going to hate it.

2. Compare the book to Stephen King
Again, a super famous writer that I don't particularly like. I've read only one of his books, which was Eyes of the Dragon. I read recently that a lot of people consider it one of his best; I found it sort of dull, and wouldn't rate it above fair. It certainly wasn't enough to make me go buy more of his books.

3. Have grammatical errors in the review
If the review has errors, that person clearly has no care about grammer, something I care about a lot. The same goes for the back of the book, really. I'm reading this book right now that has an error in the first sentence of the description on the back. The book text isn't any better; ten pages in, there are already at least five basic grammar errors. "If his sisters were there, she would know." Seriously?

4. Compare the books to others by the same author
"It's the best in the series!" "WAY better than the first two!" The Crystal Shard is probably the worst Drizzt book - and I still think it's a great book. The best Artemis Fowl book is leaps and bounds above the worst, but they're still all really good. If the whole series is terrible, being the best of the series just makes a story a little less terrible than the rest.

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