Inspired by a great post on Zuky’s blog, I’m going to discuss some of my biggest book review pet peeves. We’re all different, so no offence is intended to anyone who may like these particular things in their reviews. On with the ranting!
1. Rating without reading
I’ve seen this several times now, and I’m always dumbfounded by it. Rating a book on Goodreads that you haven’t even read yet not only doesn’t make sense, but it skews its stats unfairly. It’s weird enough to me when someone rates an upcoming book highly because they think they’re going to love it, but even weirder when it’s a low rating with no justification. As an example, I recently saw a two-star rating accompanied by the text: “I don’t know how I feel about this book as I haven’t read it yet.” *facepalm*
2. Rehashing the blurb
Reviews are all about opinions, right? That’s why I don’t get it when someone includes little or no analysis on the book’s content, and simply recounts details of the plot that the blurb already tells us. It provides no insight, and has nothing to do with whether they enjoyed the book or not.
3. Not marking spoilers
Spoilers are the bane of many a reader’s existence. Sometimes you encounter them accidentally; sure, it’s annoying, but it can’t always be helped. But when it comes to reviews on Goodreads, there’s no excuse. The site literally has a feature that allows you to hide spoilers so that readers will need to click to reveal them, and can’t, as such, accidentally spoil a book for themselves. Even when it comes to reviews on blogs, twitter, etc., I don’t think a simple ‘spoiler warning’ at the top of the post is asking for too much.
4. ‘I don’t like the subject matter’
I want to make it clear that I’m not talking about people who are triggered by specific subjects. If something crops up in a book unannounced that causes you distress, that’s totally fair and valid. What I’m talking about is people who would leave a negative review saying, “I don’t like books set on boats”, on a book that based on its blurb, and cover, is quite clearly set on a boat; or, “I don’t like poetry”, on what is quite blatantly a poetry book. (These are both real reviews I’ve seen.) Perhaps I should be applauding them for trying to read outside of their comfort zone… but I just don’t see how a review that only tells us they knew they weren’t going to like it in the first place is very helpful. Again, triggers aside, I see a similar thing a lot with thriller and horror books, where they are marked down for being ‘dark’, or for having some violent or scary scenes, when it’s made clear in the blurb that’s what you can expect – not to mention that it’s kind of the whole point of the genre in most cases.
5. Attacking readers
We’ve all got different tastes and opinions. Life would be pretty boring if we didn’t. So, whilst it’s totally okay to say you think something is rubbish and to explain why, it’s not okay to say you think people who enjoyed it are stupid or wrong. As long as it’s not hurting anyone, just let people enjoy the things that make them happy, and read on in search of the books you do like.
What are some of your biggest book review pet peeves?