-Meaningful, thought out reviews that analyze the book and make a sound judgment (whether that judgment be positive or negative). These reviews are WIN. Pure WIN.
-People that just give a ranking, with no explanation as to why.
-People that knock a book down because they disagree with it on some sort of moral level.
-People who knock a book down because of something entirely irrelevant to the text.
I-- and most authors-- have gotten a few in each category. And before I continue-- this is not a rant against bad reviews. If you dislike a book I love-- if you dislike my book-- and provide meaningful commentary on why, more power to you. That's a-okay.
This is, however, a rant against all the other review types. So here we go:
People that just give a ranking, with no explanation as to why.
I think this confuses me because I'm one of those people who really, really likes telling people what I think.
Sometimes to a fault. But anyway:
If you're taking the time to review and affect a book's star ranking why not explain it? Did you not read it carefully enough to explain yourself? I can excuse this a little more with a five star unexplained ranking since the five stars just implies "All is awesome with this book," but unexplained fours, threes, twos, ones...no. Just no. Write a real review! Tell us why you feel that way! You have the chance to make your opinion heard, and you're missing it!
People that knock a book down because they disagree with it on some sort of moral level
I saw a two star review for a book about a gay teen, and the explanation was "I didn't like that the main character was gay."
Um...why did you read the book then, for starters?
But that aside: Did the book, independent of your personal views, smoothly accomplish what it set out to do? Was the plot developed? Were the characters realistic? Was the writing beautiful?
What's that? You don't know, you just know they were gay and that's icky? Right. Ok then.
All reviews are personal opinions, of course-- but there's a difference between saying "I didn't personally feel that the characters were well-rounded" and "One was gay and I don't like that."
People who knock a book down because of something entirely irrelevant to the text.
I got a three star review on Amazon like this. The 300 word review says the following about the book itself: "the story is consistent and even thruout."
Seven words. 2% of the review.
The rest of the review is a rant about how the book isn't available on the kindle. That's why it was ranked three stars. Oh wait-- and she hated the cover. Kindle + Cover = 3 stars, regardless of the quality of the story.
I'm not really angry about that-- more disappointed. If you're going to give me book three stars, fine, but can it at least be because of a fault within the text itself?
This is why I love the book blogging community. Even amid the dozens of book bloggers who have hated my cover, they still provide thoughtful, meaningful reviews for not just my book, but all books. They understand that the text is what is really being reviewed, and that a ranking without explanation is worthless. They provide meaningful commentary on the text from multiple angles, with a thought out conclusion. I value their opinions, instead of dismissing them because they're like the reviews mentioned above. I'm eager to see what they review, what they like, and why they liked it.
Book bloggers are rockstars.
Rock on, Book Bloggers, rock on.