When it comes down to it we can’t all love the same books, and even the most hyped up releases, the incredible stories people seem to see nothing but positive reviews for, will have a few negative reviews here and there. We all like different things, we all take the books we read in different ways, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Personally I don’t mind reading negative reviews for books I’ve enjoyed. Even if I’ve really loved a certain book or series it doesn’t mean I expect everyone to, and just the fact that someone else hasn’t enjoyed my favourite book doesn’t mean I then enjoy it any less (OK, there are a few exceptions but I’ll go into them a little later). Does that mean though I don’t worry about expressing my opinion when I’ve not enjoyed a book everyone seems to love? No, it doesn’t.
Do You Ever Feel Nervous about Posting a Negative Review?
I think we all get protective over the things we love, I’m not an exception. We want others to share the joy we’ve found in a certain release and that’s not always the case. Children of Blood and Bone was one of the most hyped up books of this year, and so far based on the reviews I’ve seen everyone has loved it. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed this book, and I wouldn’t really class my review for it as a ‘negative’ one, but it wasn’t as glowing as the majority of the reviews out there for Children of Blood and Bone are.
The other thing about a Children of Blood and Bone is that it’s diverse and own voices release, so can I really post a negative review when this book wasn’t written for me as much as it would have been for someone who can identify more with Zélie’s character and the discrimination she faced as a maji? Seeing as what I didn’t enjoy about Children of Smoke and Bone was the romance between Zélie and Inan I’d say yes, but this is just an example.
My review for From Twinkle, With Love was more mixed and the main reason this book fell down for me was the way Twinkle’s character changed throughout the story, becoming a ‘mean girl’. This was a review I did feel nervous about posting because my main issue was with the main character, and as I’m not someone who can identify with the diverse aspect of Twinkle’s character could my opinion of her characterisation in this book count?
Personally I think that even though diverse books are important to see on bookshelves reviews need to be honest. A book can’t just rely on the fact that it has diverse characters to get away with lazy writing, character development, or world building.
Putting diverse book to the side (because wow part of me feels like the last few paragraphs of this post are a land mine waiting to happen) hyped books have their own separate issues and the Harry Potter series is a main one. There is a very intense fandom for the series, people who grew up with J.K. Rowling’s books and for whom the books are always going to be something they love, but that doesn’t mean the series is perfect.
I love Harry Potter; the whole series is full of nostalgia for me and I will fork out any amount of money for anything HP related, but I know there must be people out there who aren’t fans. Maybe they haven’t read the books, or maybe they have and just didn’t like the books, but you don’t hear from those people as much as you do the fans and it’s the same with all hyped books. You always see the glowing reviews but never the mixed ones, and is that because there are so few or because the people who didn’t enjoy these books haven’t felt like they could post their mixed opinions without insulting someone?
Eight times out of ten I don’t care if someone else hasn’t enjoyed a book I’ve loved. One of the exceptions is if that person then turns around and insults the people who enjoyed the book, and the other is if I’ve recommended the book to that person. In that case I feel guilty that I’ve hyped this book up to them, gone on and on about how amazing it is, and that’s not the experience they’ve had reading it.
We’re all entitled to take away whatever we want from the books we read, and it’s very very rare that a negative review for a book I love is going to change my mind, however it does happen. The first time I read A Court of Thorns and Roses (and I read this before A Court of Mist and Fury was released in case anyone was wondering) I loved it, and definitely shipped Tamlin and Feyre. Then I started seeing some of the more mixed reviews and looking back, seeing the story and the relationship between Tamlin and Feyre in a new light, I did find my opinion of the book changing.
Now Onto the Discussion Part of This Post:
Have you ever felt nervous about posting a negative review before, either because it’s a really hyped release or because it’s a diverse book?
Do you mind seeing negative reviews for your favourite reads, or do you go out of your way to avoid them?
Has a negative review ever ended up changing your mind about a book you loved?
Let me know in the comments below.