Friday, August 21, 2015

Five types of goodreads reviews that annoy me greatly

We've all been there, giving out the dreaded one star ratings that we know will cause heartache for the author who happens to come across it. But sometimes it has to be done! Not every book can be a five star work of art. It breaks my heart every single time I have to write a one star review, but I ALWAYS try to explain them to the best of my ability, precisely because I know authors do see the reviews. I know they put their blood, sweat, and tears into their work and I can't imagine ripping them apart without good reason.

I often find myself browsing reviews while I'm reading a book (am I the only one who does this?) and find myself raging over the ones I don't think are "fair." Alas, free speech is a thing, so how upset can you really get over the fairness of someone's opinion? Luckily, it is that freedom of speech that allows me to discuss this! I'm not talking about bullying today. I think that horse has been beaten to death at this point.

Without further ado, here are five types of reviews that really, REALLY get under my skin:

Books you didn't finish

Goodreads has the option of not rating a book and that is how I've always gone about dealing with books I didn't finish. I know that others (obviously) go about this differently, but I can't help but feel it's incredibly unfair to give a terrible rating to a book that you quit at 10%.

One I came across very recently was for a book that wasn't actually published yet. It was book two in a series and the review went something like this: "I got an ARC of this book and started reading it, realized I hadn't read the first book, so I don't like this one."

It just seems incredibly unfair and maybe even a little dishonest to rate a book that you haven't read. I even found one review that blatantly stated "I really shouldn't be rating this book because I didn't finish it." Okay then. Why rate it?

Rating things you KNEW you wouldn't like

I have seen SO many negative reviews from people who stated in the review that they didn't like books about whatever the main topic of the book was. 

One very common example of this is Harry Potter. I can't even tell you how many reviews I've seen that say, "I hate books about wizards." My personal favorite Harry Potter review went like this: "I only like realistic stories, sometimes fantasy, but never when there's magic." Um... is there ANYONE in the world who doesn't know Harry Potter is about a wizard?

But Harry Potter isn't my only example of this. I've seen reviews for books about fairies (with fairies ON THE COVER) that say, "Fairies aren't my thing." Seriously, guys. I know what I like and what I don't like. Since I hate chick lit, I don't read and review chick lit. It wouldn't be fair to the authors. If you know you hate books about magic, fairies, mermaids, or leprechauns, why are you reviewing them?

Not being able to handle fictionalized things

Similarly to rating books about things you already hate, I don't understand people who read fictional books about "real" things and then get bent out of shape when they're presented as FICTION.

The example that comes to mind immediately was a review I read recently for the Angelfall series in which a reader could not handle the fact that A) Raphael had the nickname Raffe, and B) that the angels weren't presented as perfect beings.

On the one hand, I get it. You believe angels are perfect. On the other hand, this is fiction.

You don't see people getting bent out of shape that there's not REALLY a platform nine and three quarters at King's Cross Station, do you?

Books you read decades ago

This example is actually what inspired today's post. I was reading reviews for Flowers in the Attic (which happens to be one of my favorite books of all time) and I was surprised by the number of one star reviews that began with "I read this book 30+ years ago in grade school..."

First of all, I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday. Sometimes if I wait a couple weeks to write a review I have a hard time remembering details or what my thoughts actually were. So how can you remember your thoughts about a book you read 35 years ago?

I mean, sure, when I first signed up for Goodreads I went a little crazy with the star ratings for books I hadn't read in awhile. But if you're taking the time to write a full review, shouldn't you be a little more fair in your rating? Like, I don't know, have read it sometime in the last decade?

Negative ratings for a job TOO well done

I've saved the best for last. Okay, maybe not really the best. But as a horror junkie this one just really blew me away.

I was recently looking for my next amazing horror read when I came across a review that, I kid you not, was one star with a review to the effect of, "That was the scariest book I have ever read in my entire life." Um... Excuse me? You picked up a book in the horror section. There was a demon on the cover. And you're rating it one star because it was scary?

There is no justice in the world.

What do you think? Do you disagree with any of the examples I've provided? 
Would you add any to the list? Or is everything fair game in your book?