What is a Review?

I promised a while back to do at least one post on Writing a Review. Let’s start at the beginning.

A review by definition is:

  1. to go over (lessons, studies, work, etc.).
  2. to view, look at, or look over again.
  3. to inspect, especially formally or officially: to review the troops.
  4. to survey mentally; take a survey of: to review the situation.
  5. to discuss (a book, play, etc.) in a critical review; write a critical report upon.
  6. to look back upon; view retrospectively.

All of the above can be applied to writing a book review, not just number 5. It’s my opinion that there are 2 basic types of reviews: the Critic’s Review, as mentioned above, and the Reader’s Review. Both have a place and both have value.

Because most of you reading this will be a Reader, let’s focus on that. A Reader’s Review is a statement from a reader that expresses their opinions and recommendations for a book. These do not have to be positive or lengthy. Here is an example of what a Reader’s Review could be like:

“I just had the chance to finish Travane this morning. I loved it! [Travane] completely captivated my attention. Can’t wait for your next book! ❤️”

A good review will show that the reviewer has read the book (by content or reference), what they thought of it, and if they recommend it. If someone was considering reading Travane, by reading this review they would know it was captivating and left the reader excited to read more. Here is another example of a brief Reader’s Review:

 “The book was wonderful. I enjoyed it greatly and can’t wait for the next one. Refreshing to have the gospel so clear in a story.”

In this one, the Reviewer tells us what they really liked about the book. Again, you get the sense that the Reader was happy with their reading experience and is looking for the next book.

Not all reviews have to be positive though. Authors really do look for ways to improve their writing and make their books better. In the following review you can see how the author is encouraged to fix obvious mistakes:

“I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was hooked from the very beginning. I do hope that the grammatical errors will be corrected before reprinting. I eagerly await the next book in the series.”

Maybe you read a book that simply is not your style. That is okay. You don’t have to like every single book you read. I recently read a series that I actually enjoyed but the first book left me feeling flat and confused. I gave the book 3 stars and shared my constructive criticism. Maybe that author will decide to revise the book and release a new edition.

The purpose of reviews is to increase ratings with the distributors, share knowledge with other readers, and help authors improve their work. All this can be accomplished with two or three sentences. So please, go review a book!

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