Book Reviews and the Power to Change Someone’s Book Opinions

When it comes to book reviews about books I haven’t read yet, I try to stay away from them because spoilers but sometimes a book causes so much hype I can’t help but read a couple of reviews.

Book reviews are usually meant for before you read the book:

  • you can gauge if it’s something you’d be interested in
  • you can get a basic plotline
  • a feel of the book from people who like to read the same books as you
  • content and trigger warnings

If you read a book review that enforces a certain mind-set about the book you go into that book with a preconceived notion about it, you notice things you normally wouldn’t. Is this good or bad? I don’t know but I think it can be both.

Reading a book is a different experience for everyone.

I noticed this happening with a book I really loved Vanilla by Billy Merrel. So I finished this beautiful book that was written entirely in poems that touched on asexuality and being genderqueer, I went on to goodreads to write a heartfelt review only to find reviews about the book being problematic and misrepresentation of asexuality. Had I read these reviews beforehand I probably wouldn’t have read the book at all. Did my opinion of the book change after reading those reviews? Yes and no. I kinda felt uncomfortable for liking the book and at the same time I can’t erase what I took from it or how it made me feel.

Negative book reviews, especially rant-y ones, have a tendency to make me want to read the book which I’m sure is the exact opposite of what they’re meant to do. Last month when A Court of Frost and Starlight came out, I read Silvia’s review and got an insane urge to start the book series. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I couldn’t finish the first book. It’s a popular series but gets a lot of hate. I knew I would probably hate the book but that review made me want to read it either way. Now I’m not sure if I hated it because it was awful or because I was projecting all the things I’d read from different rant reviews. Guess we’ll never know.

Book reviews do have the power to change book opinions. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not but we already know that words are powerful and it is what it is.

What’s your opinion on book reviews? Has a book review ever changed your opinion on a book?

Breathe,

Sakhile

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Book Reviews and the Power to Change Someone’s Book Opinions

  1. This is such a good discussion! Reviews I read before reading the book do influence me a lot, and sometimes they put me off the book completely. Sometimes I like going into a book blind, sometimes I willingly read a lot of reviews from people I trust.
    I still can’t get over the fact that book rants make you wanna read the book, that’s so funny to me 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never used to think about how much of my book opinions are actually mine until just recently. I like rant reviews that make sense, my favourite thing is reading rant reviews of popular books.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I tend not to read reviews in depth before reading a book, unless the press around it is really really bad. But I think part of the reason we like to read the subject of bad reviews is because we think they’re exaggerating or think, “Wow, it can’t be *that* bad, can it?” For me, those are ones that just have an unbelievably bad plot or something. I rarely ever read something with known bad representation on purpose. But raving reviews make me want to read a book too. I like the hype around certain genres or authors, you know. I really liked this post, too! It got me thinking!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, it’s amazing how much book reviews influence us. I think that’s why sometimes we come across popular books that we don’t like because most of the opinions are just subconsciously borrowed from others

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel this so much! My biggest pet peeve with this kind of things is when people change their opinions of the book due to hive-mind mentality – as in, someone read a book, loved it, and then a group of people hated it and that first person is like, “Yeah, I hated the book too. ” asdghkkfi The most recent case of this was Leah on the Offbeat. I saw so many people changing their opinions about the book because they felt bad – like its OK if you still like the book, but instead of trashing it with everyone else, maybe just drop a star or mention the issue in your review? Like its a good thing to bring awareness to things but people who change their minds and trash a book for being “problematic” after previously liking it just come across as performative to me lmao

    Liked by 1 person

    1. you can acknowledge the issues other readers made you aware of without doing a complete U-turn. I haven’t read Leah on the Offbeat but I’ve seen it too. I think part of it is brought on by the culture of “cancelling” like people might be afraid to have their own voice in case it’s “wrong”.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s