*jives into your mailbox with a grin*
Hello there friends, how goes it with y’all? I have been feeling lately as though I have abandoned writing to you for a little bit – writer’s block, some have coined it, I believe. 😉 But here I am, back from The Maze, and no, I didn’t catch the Flare and I’m perfectly harmless. Except when it comes to what I write with my pen.
Some of my characters have been going through such scariness, people! I wish I could share what but right now we all just need to hold our breaths until the book is out and then we can give a sigh of relief. When that will be I do not know, but I DO know that (hopefully) next week I will be releasing another sneak peek for you!
Yes, that is the plan anyway. So, into the Maze.
Of words, I wasn’t being literal!!
—Explain why it was extraordinary, inspiring, awesome/ hard, annoying, boring
One of the biggest and probably worst mistakes we reviewers make is having NO EXPLANATION WHATEVER. We jabber on about it’s excellence, brilliance, phenomenality (and yes, that is a word), but yet we fail to see how useless this information is to people who have never read it. And boy do I know how hard it is when you’re overflowing with gobbledygook about how great it was – people who have never read, perhap never even heard of this book won’t have a clue what you’re nattering on for and will probably get dissuaded or confused. And let’s not even BEGIN to mention the reviews that go something like:
When I read THIS BOOK, I was like – djbg;hurygw86394tr6834ogfybdhlrp3829yr7u3lhn.fkz/sl;kf[90u2r3p8934y579t3h4fe;u@*7$
What the heck does that lot mean??!! Angry, sad, betrayed, happy exultant feelings at the ending? WHAT DOES IT MEEEEEEAN??!!
I mean, does it mean you hate or you like, please tell me – I’d actually really like to know and you just dissapointed me. And therefore ruined my life.
I just really want to know what you actually thought, and then, after that, what you actually mean by it. WHY was it funny, awesome, cool, heartbreaking, sad, gory, messed up, engrossing, delightful hateful?
Because, isn’t that the entire reason for a book review? To tell all about why it was good/bad? Just something to think on.
—Discern the trash from the treasure
We all know a good book from a bad one, don’t we?
Oh come on, you’ve got to have better than that! If you’re going to read a book, you have to tell whether or not it’s actually good or bad. Now we’re down to the nitty-gritty, guys..if we actually thought about it, IS it good? IS it bad?
Take for instance, a favourite example of mine that I love to impale on the spear of rubbish literature – Keeper of Reign.
Don’t be fooled by the pretty cover! Don’t be fooled by the glowing reviews by homeschool mums on Amazon (and this is coming from a homeschooler, people)! Don’t be fooled by the fact that the author is a Christian, and a mum, and a homeschooler too. Don’t even be fooled by how it doesn’t have swearing/sexual content. Or that it’s a kids book.
This book is probably one of the worst I have ever read. Ever. And that’s coming from a girl who has read literally thousands of books in her lifetime, I can promise you.
Well, I can’t actually prove it since I only started on Goodreads last Summer…but come, on guys! I have! I’m a bookworm, it’s in my blood. And if you want proof of how I critique my work look at my other book reviews.
(I’m actually thinking of posting more of them on here, so stick around for them)
Here is how Keeper of Reign was so awful:
///Frequent grammatical and spelling errors
///little to no clue of what was going on, they literally ran “for their lives” and I couldn’t even tell why
///literally no sense of heroism see above^^
///Jules whatsisface the MC has an absolutely stupid crush that in reality would crumble at the touch of the slightest breeze and he cannot focus because of it
///no plot basis – why are they all so high strung and ready to flee? From what? Why do we only find out a teensy fraction WHY when the book is almost over? I paid 3 bucks for this!!!
///I couldn’t discern why they have giant insects until I finally realised off my own back that they have become tiny due to a curse??
///there is little to no stranger danger
///enemies are all terrified or easily caught unless needed for suspense
///family members are left behind
Are you getting the jist here? That this book isn’t all it’s cracked up to be? It’s full of goofy, stupid characters that ooze disrespect and lack of commitment to their friends and families, the plot is horrifically messed up and not well explained at all and comes off as very badly done. I actually feel bad for not only Emma Right for getting posistive feedback about this book and therefore not seeing it’s total inadequacy, but the kids and parents who think it was excellent!
—take into account the plot, genre, characters and setting
I think so often we forget that a book is often designed in a specific way. Let’s unpack that a little bit. Do you remember reading chronicles of Narnia and about the UFO that landed on the Dawn Treader? Or flipping through a Starwars magazine and seeing a cartoon of Peeta Mulark in it?
Hopefully not, because if you had there’d either be one of three things going on:
- you need glasses
- there was a serious inter-crossing of fandoms
- there was a big mistake when printing
- they are total rubbish
The bottom line? None of these things happened. Period. Because even cartoon artists should know when they’ve made a mistake by mixing medieval fantasy and sci-fi. When genres collide in this way it all turns into a bit of a jumble when you can’t exactly decide what’s going on because everything is so confused.
Now I’m not saying that ALL of these genre-mixing books are bad, but so far folks, I haven’t found a good one.
Please tell me if you have.
Generally (or genre-ally)…
Sigh. Don’t read this blog if you get heart failure from bad jokes, I completely understand.
That was a lot of gifs.
But yeah, be aware of the genre – I’d say that the setting is the easiest, choose the genre and the setting should follow. Just use your brain.
And what is the plot like? That is a major thing I want you to just think on for a second. If you have the build up of everything else from genre to characters to descriptions and yet the plot is completely bogus, drop the book. Throw it across the room. Burnt it, smash it, disintegrate it into a pile of ash. Why?
Because alien space ships should not turn up in the Jane Austen fandom. Mary Poppins should not arrive on the Starwars set. Cade Quarter should not go on a hike with Bilbo.
Why you ask?
This gif says it all – the books you read should not be a needless warring between different worlds/ words; rather they should have a coherency that astonishes and agrees with you.
The plot is a main feature of this. But even apart from making sure that the world in which the book has taken you to is solid and mostly realistic, a plot should be well-founded and have several good points. For example:
//mysteries and/or questions are solved in the end – though I prefer to have a sprinkling throughout so not in constant suspense in that side of things
//suspense is in the right quantities
//characters learn from mistakes and triumphs, get to know each other better and understand their world better
//arguments, challenges and failings are added – but end up getting sorted out
These are just a handful of things I believe are essential to a good plot. What are YOUR ideas for what makes a good plot?
The next thing I want to discuss are characters themselves. We all know THAT character – the backstory one always on the sidelines, offers help when needed, but generally silent. Or the lame hero/heroin. Or the antagonist that actually has more paragraphs on his personality than the hero despite him not being the MC.
What do all these have in common? Rubbish character development. And it’s one of the things I believe modern authors are struggling with most. Even if you have amazing descriptions, characters, dialogues and settings, lame characters are like a poison that seeps through everything and destroys it all.
There is no point to these stories. The best thing you can do to save this author a lot of hurt is to tell them truthfully (but not unkindly) in a review of their book on Amazon or Goodreads that…it needs work.
A LOT of work.
—what is the overall message? IS there a message at all?
This may seem to be a smaller element of the tale, but also very much important to how the story is viewed.
Some authors like to have exceedingly long, prosaic, often tantamount sentences; there is a voluminous number of semi-colons; their words are very very elongated and tend to have archaic or outlandish words unused by most of us plebians.
Through their work.
Adding suspense, until….
But back to my point – what IS the message of this book? Does it show you the ins and outs of modern society? That unicorns are good? That chocolate milk is bad for you (I’m being serious, look for detail!)? That is evil is okay to be repaid by evil or that you have to forgive every single wrong no matter how heinous? Is it in your writing style? Is it overly-wordy or easier to understand? I know that’s a lot of questions but rememebr to be on the look out for three main things when you are reading:
- Imagery. How is good and evil portrayed for example? In a good light or a bad light, and which way round? Did you LIKE how it was shown??
- Morality. Is there even a sense of right and wrong, for example?
- Decisions. How do the characters cope with tough choices and do their efforts pull off (again, as an example)?
I hope you enjoyed this post folks! What was the best/worst book you EVER reviewed? Please comment down below. 🙂