Book Discussion: How Do I Write Reviews?

🌟 Today’s post is not a review or a book tag. Today’s post is a request from a friend who I couldn’t say no to. I am going to share with you the process of how I write a review.


🌟 Writing reviews is a task that is quite tricky. Sometimes you love a book and don’t know what to say about it except that it was brilliant and then ………
And sometimes you hate a book and will write a long ranty review explaining why.
I will be telling you what I learned in the last 4 years as a reviewer. The cool thing is that all you need is a Book and your memory (A pen and paper if you don’t trust your memory)!

🌟 My philosophy in life is that any hard or big task can become easy if you break it into smaller parts and then focus on each one separately before connecting them all. Writing a review is no different if we break it into the main elements of a story which are: Writing style, Characters, World-building, Pacing and Plot!


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Characters

🌟 Try to focus on the characters while reading and see if you like them or not? If yes, why and if not why? Were they relatable? Were they well fleshed and 3D or are they flat? Were they precocious or did they act their age? Did they have motives or were their actions unbelievable? Can you have a mental image of them or were they under described? You can think of anything you like in a character and try to check if it was there or not!

Now there is something that I see people quite not understanding! If a character is bad or evil but is well written, that is a good thing, for example; Dolores Umbridge is one nasty bitch of a character but she is so well written and I like that!


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Writing

🌟 Now let’s talk about writing. Did you like the writing style? Was the story hard or easy to get into because of that? Did you think it had a purple prose and too extra for you? Was it poetic and you like it? Do you think the author has a unique writing style and you can differentiate it from other books you read? Was there use of weird terminology and vocabulary? Was it funny or not?

There is no right or wrong when it comes to the writing style, a style that you may like may be a nasty one for others and vice versa, that partly explains why some books have mixed reviews such as: Nevernight, Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Shatter me series!

Also try to highlight or write down some quotes you like to include them in your review. You can also always check the Goodreads page for any book and see the right section for quotes librarians have added! This however does not work for ARCs as they usually don’t have added quotes yet.

Example from Nevernight’s GR page

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World-Building

🌟 World-building for me equals 3 things: The place, time and the magic system (in case of fantasy books).
Was the place easy to imagine? Can you put yourself in the character’s shoes? Do you have a mental image of the place you are reading about? Was it over descriptive? (Dan Brown and Tolkien over describe for example). Does the book have a map? did it help? you can mention that!

Was the time clear? Did it all occur at one time or was there a jumping between past and present? Does the timing makes sense?

Magic systems are also important, can you imagine some things that were not mentioned in the book but the answers to them have been provided (Brandon Sanderson is a Master of Magical systems for example) or was it confusing and you can’t understand what was happening (Caraval)? Do things happen according to law or is everything chaotic just because it is magic?


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Pacing and Plot

🌟 Did it have a slow or fast pacing? Did the pacing affect your enjoyment of the book? Do you think you would have enjoyed it more if it was a little bit faster/ slower?

And finally, the plot! Were there any good plot twists? Did it bring anything new or was it just a repeated version of other stories? Were the twists well plotted or did they come out of nowhere?


🌟 So basically, that is the way I try to write reviews! While reading try to take notes of everything (Mentally or on a paper) and then break up your review into shorter segments! Add a summary at last describing each of those, for example; the book had great writing, a great world building and slow pacing. Unfortunately the characters fell flat for me! Also consider how much you enjoyed the book and add a star rating according to these things.

🌟 Two important things: Be honest!! I can’t stress how important this is, it may be easy to fall into the hype but being honest is always the better option. I always am honest whether it is an ARC or not! I am also not afraid of giving an unpopular opinion.

Second thing is that there is no right or wrong answers, you may like fast pacing and other may prefer slow pacing. The characters may have been great for you but fell flat for others! The world building may have made sense for others but was confusing for you! As long as you mention and explain that, no one will attack you and if they do then they are really just being A holes.

🌟 Sorry for the long post but I hope it helps. This also may appear as a long process but it is not, reviews usually take 30 mins for me to write! I also read fast and you will start noticing these things unconsciously. Also don’t be afraid of writing a review, I didn’t write reviews then started writing one liners and then stupid short paragraphs and I am writing pages now and I don’t regret any of it! This is a skill that will get better with time! It is supposed to be fun and not a chore πŸ™‚

🌟 Happy reading and reviewing all ❀ ❀ ❀

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12 Comments

  1. Loved this post!
    I find review styles are always so personal for different bloggers but also for different books. For example some like you mentioned, I prefer to just rant whereas others a short bullet point list of likes and dislikes is all I can come up with. Some books I just love (or hate) but can’t really explain why!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the post and how easily you’ve explained everything… while I don’t think I have consciously thought about all these things while reading a book, these are exactly the questions I try to answer for myself while trying to write my review… Very well written post and I feel many will find it highly informative πŸ‘πŸ‘

    Liked by 1 person

  3. thank you so much for this post! I’m definitely someone who struggles with articulating their thoughts so seeing you break it down was so helpful! I agree that simply breaking a book down into writing, plot, characters, etc. can help with writing a review and I have employed this tactic before. still, it can still be a bit daunting, especially because I just drafted a review yesterday that I absolutely hated and I’m planning to completely rewrite today :’)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’re welcome!
    Like I said, Don’t worry, just write! People will read your review but won’t judge you anyway! We read a ton of reviews and don’t think about them for long, even if is sucks, we will forget that! My first reviews were so bad lol

    Like

  5. This is a fantastic post, and more detailed than I expected because you are so concise usually. I laughed about the memory bit, I have to take notes because my memory sucks… color coded notes and tabs for themes, character development, plot, worldbuilding.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so much Kaleena! I know people prefer shorter reviews according to one of my polls and so I go straight to the point! I think I should do notes because sometimes, I write and post a review and then remember I forgot a funny thing to say or an important critique and never do back to edit it!

    Like

  7. This is such a great, detailed post, Hamad! I like to focus on many of these areas when writing reviews too, but have noticed myself not highlighting or quoting as many passages lately. I will definitely have to work on this little habit! Haha! I always have to take notes when reading, because my memory terrible. I truly forget the names of every character, less than two days after finishing the book!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks Kelly!
    I forget to highlight quotes often too, without GR I would have been screwed! Although I do have a good memory, I do forget the names very quickly almost like the next day I am not reading the book XD

    Like

  9. Such a helpful post! Thanks for sharing. I have been writing reviews for two years and I agree with each and everything you mentioned. I have noticed my reviews getting better with time. I read my first review a few days before and could immediately sense that I would change that soooo much if I were to right the same today. It’s a gradual process but the most important thing is to START! Thanks for the post πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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