Bookish Ramblings: Writing Negative Reviews

Hello everyone! Bookish ramblings à la Vicky @ Books, Biscuits, and Tea is back :) I was planning to write this post for quite a long time now but I never had the time to actually sit down and do it. The time has finally come.

Today’s rambling was inspired by this whole Goodreads authors vs. bloggers fiasco which happened to take place last month. If you haven’t heard about it, you can catch up with this whole craziness here. I tried to stay out of it but it made me think . . .

What should bloggers do if the book sucks? a.k.a Writing negative reviews without hurting anyone.

That, judging by some people’s reaction, is quite difficult nowadays. But still, what do we do if the book in question is terrible? Do we review it at all? Well, here’s what I think.

1. Even if you hated the book, respect the author. At least take into consideration the fact that he/she spent a tremendous amount of time writing that book. Did this author do anything against you personally? No. Then show some respect. We understand that you didn’t like the book but you don’t need to diss the author.

2. Keep in mind that other people might have liked the book. What I hate the most is arrogant behaviour. People who act like their opinion is superior to anyone else’s and there’s no way anyone likes the book in question. Well, brace yourself m’dear, there are a bunch of people out there who happen to like it. You’re entitled to your opinion but don’t be rude towards other people who don’t agree with you.

Having said that, I have nothing against negative reviews. I myself write negative reviews if I have to and I didn’t really like the book. The most important thing -for me, at least- is not being arrogant and respecting other people’s opinion. So what would I, or actually, what do I do if I don’t like the book? If it’s a book I purchased then I might consider not reviewing it. If it’s a review copy then I do review it but without sounding like an arrogant little… brat, especially if I know the author. I keep in mind that they took the time to send me a review copy (which I didn’t have to pay a single penny for) and everything I said before, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t state my opinion. I’m not going to lie just because I know you.

I usually start with what I liked about the book (because if there’s nothing I liked about it then I probably won’t review it at all). I tell a few things about what made me keep on reading despite the fact that I couldn’t really connect to the story, etc. And then comes the not so good part. What the most important thing for me here is to be honest but fair. I state my opinion and let other people know what I thought or what didn’t work for me but I don’t start criticising the writer.Why should I? I have nothing against them and the fact that I didn’t like their book doesn’t mean I have a right to treat them like poop.

That’s my humble opinion in a nutshell. What do you guys do when you don’t like a book? :) Do you still review it?


  1. Audrey D Wilkerson (@InkandPage) says

    Oh this is timely reading for me. I was just talking to my husband over the weekend about this very thing. He said the same thing you did – he hates it when he reads a review of this nature (negative) and the writer attacks the author.

    I do not review books professionally, so if I really don’t like a book I will most likely opt out of any review at all. I have decided to lump together a few books or series by a topic and write the review that way. The reader will be able to tell what book/books were my favs from that. Plus, I won’t have to be so negative about the book.

    Now I want to know what the goodreads kerfuffle was all about…
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  2. Lady Jaye says

    I think a person has a right to whatever their opinion is on the book, and it is not for anyone to tell them how to write the reviews. I wince at harsh reviews of books I loved, but whatevs. It may be bad form, rude, and disrespectful, but people do have a right to say what they want.

  3. MsJohannah says

    See, I’m pretty new to writing reviews.

    I read firelight – and you are right. After I read your blog… I’m pretty sure in my review I was bashing the Author. I just wasn’t happy I spent 9 dollars of my hard earned money just to be disappointed. I did give solid reasons to why I didn’t like the book. I was just angry and maybe I should wait for the flames to die down before posting a negative review next time.

    I also need to learn HOW to write a negative review without making my eyes turn red in anger or bashing the Author.
    MsJohannah recently posted..Memorial DayMy Profile

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