Recently, we wrote an article outlining what one should look for in a book review. After the success of that article, we realized that we could do even better. So with this, we set out to help authors and readers alike and answer the question that bothers so many of us. Here we will show you how to write a book review.
How To Write A Book Review – The Considerations
There are many metrics on which books can be measured. Here we will outline our favorite three. If you have been with us for a while, we have no doubt that you are familiar with these, the first of which is a book’s story, i.e. is the story any good? Now, there are multiple dimensions on which to measure a good story, so we try to break it down into simple parts. First, did we like the story? Did it make sense? And second, how original was the story? Have we seen a story like it before? Does it feel derivative? Here you may have noticed a trend, we ask ourselves a lot of questions when we are reviewing a book. You need to reflect on the subjective experience of reading a book in order to try and gain some semblance of objectiveness when rating it.
Every book is a unique experience. No writer writes exactly the same way, and this is because there is no definitive way to write a book. There is no agreed upon preferred style. Despite that, there are still some important details to consider in the writing, or style, of a novel. Is the information presented in a consistent and clear manner? Are there many unintentional spelling and grammar mistakes? Were you immersed in the story by the writing, or did you find yourself jarred by oddities and inconsistencies? More questions, we know, but it is important to touch on as many aspects of the work as you can. It isn’t enough to say you liked a book or you didn’t, because that doesn’t tell any prospective reader anything about how much they might like the book.
While it has taken a backseat in our reviews in recent months, this is perhaps the most important part of any true novel. Can you identify a central theme in the novel? Casting the surface stuff aside, what is the book truly about, what message is it trying to send? A novel with true intellectual value will have considerably more staying power, both in the market and in the reader’s mind. This is one of the reasons we recommend not reviewing a book until at least a week after you have read it. This gives the book time to settle in your mind. It gives you time to digest and ruminate over the entirety of the book. If you can’t recall much after a week, there is a good chance, no matter how much you enjoyed the book, that it wasn’t that influential.
How To Write A Book Review – Where To Start
Now that you know some questions to ask yourself, you can begin crafting your review. Your review should have a logical progression. If it seems erratic, it may be difficult to read and understand. You can begin chronologically, if you don’t mind providing some spoilers. Since we hate spoilers, we like to divide our reviews based on which aspect of the book we’re examining. Starting with a high-level critique of the story, you can then move into the author’s style. You can detail what you liked and what you didn’t in a way that prospective readers may be able to decide whether or not the book is for them. Remember, book reviews are meant to be cathartic for you, they are meant to provide feedback and inform.
To do all of this, try answering questions about the book separately, outlining the things you wish to discuss about the novel.
What if I didn’t finish the book?
As a rule of thumb, we only review books we finish. There are two reasons for this. First, it is entirely possible that the book just wasn’t our thing. For whatever reason, we just didn’t find reading it enjoyable, it couldn’t hold our attention, we couldn’t properly appreciate the content. Once you realize that you aren’t the target audience for a book, it’s okay to put it down. That being said, if a book isn’t for you, you shouldn’t sit down to give it a 1 * review. This is why we focus our attention on speculative fiction, we know what we like. We wouldn’t start suddenly reviewing every romance novel we can find. This is because we don’t like romance novels, we may not be able to properly appreciate them. They aren’t for us. That doesn’t make them bad.
This is where you really need to dig deep and ask yourself the questions outlined above. You need to decide why you don’t like a book if you want to give it a bad review. Only review what you know.
How To Write A Book Review – Bringing It All Together
So now we’re ready to sit down and write our review. We have our list/outline. We know whether we liked the book or not. We know why we feel the way we do, and we’re not afraid to back it up with facts. Now, we write. A good review doesn’t need to be long. Other reviewers consider 250 word reviews to be appropriate. This is fine for a high-level review. However, if you want to dig deep, aim for around 500. You don’t want to go to high, as you don’t want to lose your readers. Give them your opinion and the information they need to form their own opinion. Be honest with your audience. You set out to inform and give your opinion. As long as you do both of those things, you have succeeded with your review.
This has been a quick How to Write a Book Review. There is no right way to do it, but you should always have certain goals in mind. As long as you remain focused on your intent, you can write a successful book review.
Here are some examples, you can see our reviews of Lucifer’s Star, An Arrow Against the Wind and The Nightmare Birds.