Why I Write Negative Book Reviews

Reading a book is a subjective experience. More often than not, it’s possible for readers to interpret the personalities of the characters, the descriptions and even the overall message of the book in different ways. When we pick up a book, we also have unique expectations, which tend to mirror what we enjoy in a story. For all of these and many other reasons, it’s impossible for a book to be universally loved. Some bloggers choose to only write reviews about the books that they enjoyed. I, on the other hand, don’t have any qualms about writing negative reviews.

I’m sure that it is distressing for an author to read a negative review about a book that is the result of months, if not years, of intense work. I don’t write reviews for the authors of the books, however. I envisage the audience of my blog (that is to say, the small number of lovely people who read my musings) to consist of other readers who want to not only know more about certain books, but also share opinions on them. Thus, I don’t tag the authors of the books on my reviews. I only imagine doing so if a book is a 5-star read, as these are the only faultless books to me.

I rate the vast majority of the books that I enjoyed and think are worthy of reading with four stars, though. For that reason, in most of my reviews, I mention at least one small element that I thought was not perfectly accomplished. As long as the book is not a 5-star read, I always remark on what I liked and didn’t like about it. But other readers may not have a problem with what I didn’t like about a book. For example, books that mostly consist of snippets, save for rare exceptions, don’t tend to work for me. If this is something that other readers enjoy, they may still decide to pick up a book I didn’t like after reading my review.

When I write a negative review, I’m not saying “don’t ever read this book”! I’m just commenting that I, personally, didn’t like that specific book or that, overall, I found it less than ordinary. I don’t tend to use the expression “in my opinion” on my reviews for the sole reason that this is something too obvious to me. This is a blog, after all, and reviews are based on opinions. A negative review is not (or should not be) an attack on the author nor on the people who enjoyed a book. I always try to convey my opinions in a direct manner but without being hostile.

Writing (or not) negative reviews is a personal choice. There is no right or wrong answer for whether you should do it or not.

Do you write or read negative reviews? Tell me in the comments!


12 thoughts on “Why I Write Negative Book Reviews

  1. Puzzle Doctor says:

    I write negative reviews at times, but it’s rare that I’d finish a book that had no redeeming features, so I’d call them constructive rather than negative. I tag authors in to positive reviews, but not negative ones, but I don’t tend to do many blog tours as I don’t want to be committed to giving a negative review to a new release. I always emphasise the good points, but don’t shy away from the problems. I think I’ve only managed to upset one author in my ten years blogging.

    Also, it helps that most of the authors I review are dead, so that makes the decision about what to say a bit easier…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susana_S_F says:

      I don’t do blog tours and mostly read books in paperback, so writing a negative review about a new release almost never happens. Also, very rarely do I write an overall negative review to be honest. I enjoy (at least mildly) the vast majority of the books that I read and, when I’m truly hating a book, I just don’t finish it. But there are books that I continue to read hoping to still be pleasantly surprised and that I end up not liking after all!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Alex says:

    You took the words right out of my mouth. I write what others refer to as negative reviews or, reviews in which I discuss the less than positive aspects of certain books I didn’t fully enjoy. We all love different things, but when reading a review I’m looking to see what worked and what didn’t for that reader, to help guide my choices. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cathy746books says:

    Personally, my favourite bloggers are the ones who write both positive and negative reviews. A negative review doesn’t always put me off reading a book, but I’m much more interested in reading books that generate debate and reaction, rather than those that get universally good reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hannah says:

    I do write negative reviews on my blog occasionally, but I tend to avoid doing so on social media, like Instagram. I have seen authors single people out for doing so and I hope to never have that happen, personally. I agree that reviews are more for readers than for authors. Great post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susana_S_F says:

      Thank you! 😊
      Authors shouldn’t search for reviews of their books on social media in my opinion. How can they think that writing a negative review is rude but single people out is not?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hannah says:

        I couldn’t agree more. It’s been a hot topic on Instagram lately, one that I try to just avoid, but I think it’s good that bloggers are talking about it.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. marietoday says:

    Negative reviews are helpful for me – I often read a couple 5 star and a couple 1 star reviews of any book before picking it up. Getting a feeling for what kinds of readers liked a book vs disliked it gives me a much better idea of if it will be a good fit for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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