The difficulties of review
I am a horrible, horrible book reviewer. I’m not sure if there’s some kind of handbook I missed when I started reviewing, but I thought perhaps a person who loves to read and who can manage a succinct paraphrase of the book would be enough. I think I was mistaken. I am currently reading a book for review that absolutely bores the crap out of me and I cannot seem to get through it for some reason. I keep hoping that the story will get better, that I will actually care about the main character and why she’s doing what she’s doing. She’s so pretentious. The main character is supposed to be a “strong woman” but she comes off as nothing more than a spoiled brat. She pushes social boundaries in her time period, which is fine, but she’s just so obnoxious about it.
I keep hoping the hero will grow on me and not fall into some cheap Dudley Doright trope like he seems to be right now. He is helping her for absolutely no reason. He’s like “I recognized your logo on the ship and moved the cargo that could get you arrested” even though he’s a police officer and sent to investigate her. Um. Really? What reason does he have to help her? If he has some kind of drunken amnesia and doesn’t remember that he’s met her before or something and has some reason to help her… even that would be irritating but it would be better than this.
All I want to do is put down the book and not finish reading it. I’d thought, given the genre, that I would love it. I don’t. I absolutely do not want to read this anymore.
I feel obligated to read the book and come up with some kind of positive review for it. I want all writers to have a positive review, even if I personally don’t like what they’ve written. I know I don’t want anyone coming in and shitting on my book and telling me how crappy it is and how they hate my story or characters or writing style or whatever it is they choose not to like about me. I don’t want some writer who has talent and stories to tell to be discouraged and throw away their quill pen, never to write again. I know I’ve gotten reviews so bad I’ve considered never picking up a pen again. I don’t want to be the Simon Cowell of the book review world that sends hopefuls crying at their keyboards.
I just don’t think this is going to get any better and I don’t know that I’m going to be able to write a suitable review that doesn’t make her story seem like I hate it.
I guess it all is just falling back on the “If you can’t say something nice” adage my mother used for a few years with me.
Is there an etiquette on reviews? Is it okay to put the book down? Should I given an honest review based on my opinion? I know a review is just my opinion, but I’m afraid that this author won’t have good sales if I give it an honest review.