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?