So you all are probably wondering why the bull is here. That’s pretty simple actually! For those of you that know me, you know my birthday is in May and that particular date in May is still under the sign of Taurus. So I’m a bull and right now I’m an angry bull so I went and found one!
I’m sure you can guess what I’m angry about just by looking at the blog title… I’m sure a few of you are grinning because you’ve heard my stance before about this on Facebook, but there are a few people that I haven’t railed on to about this and so I’m writing a blog! Besides, I promised myself I’d start blogging more on here! 🙂
So just what is a haterade drinking reviewer? Let’s go find a good example of one!
This novel is really two different books: the first 25% being faux fairy tale and the last 75% starter romance novel. Neither satisfies. PRINCESS ROBIN’s merry players are Disneyesque caricatures, who chirp 60s musical theater tunes, and bore the reader, who must hang on, hoping the book will improve. Don’t bother: it doesn’t. Overwrought, nearly hysterically bad prose tires the reader early on, and the whole effect is as if Barbara Cartland had dictated her novels on acid. The novel improves slightly in the second part, but only if one can suspend belief and accept that 1) virgins feel no pain when first breeched, 2) the Alps and a deep sea are both in middle England, and 3) Richard the Lion Heart (Lion-Hearted here) was heterosexual, hadn’t previously married for the usual political reasons, lived in England more than a few months in his life and, oh, yes, spoke English.
Many good writers can sweep a reader through an historical romance without much mention of reality, but this writer does worse, altering history to the point that it offends any reader with even a minimal knowledge of western culture. Nitpicking aside (and there are plenty of nits to pick), by defeating Prince John, so that he never became King, and thus was never forced to sign the Magna Carta, the basis for western Constitutional Law, she makes feudalism viable in England and America to date. If one wanted to make George Washington a King, as some did, this book would justify it. Any sensible lawyer in America should been able to better advise her. The story would have been so much better without the regal father issues.
Having bought several self-published books recently, I must note this as one of the BEST examples of the reason NOT to buy self-published books. Anyone who truly wants to be a writer will be willing to put their drafts through the vetting process usual in publishing, and there is no evidence of skillful editing, or even of a reality check here. A graduate student would be forced to do better in a class of their peers. Robin and Simon could have been so much more than cardboard characters, but sadly they aren’t. The story line could have been set at any place in time, in any country, with no need to rip Maid Marian from her actual grave next to Robin Hood and wed her to the King of England. Reality, in this case, was so much better than this book. For a better choice of history with romance and a twist, try Naomi Novik’s, HIS MAJESTY’S DRAGON. And if you really want to experience the medieval England of Richard’s time, the YE OLDE TRIP TO JERUSALEM PUB is still serving great draft ales at the secret back entrances to old Nottingham Castle, just as it has since 1189, and there are plenty of hoary old legends told there that are far more interesting.
So here we have a review that is obviously a one star review. This reviewer had only done one other review and it was posted the same day. That review involved a biography that was no longer listed on Amazon anymore on a historical figure. The review said they had felt like they had read it before. They probably had! In history class! Generally you expect a biography to cover some of the same things. Anyway, back to this review. I’ve read more scathing reviews, ones in which the reviewer seems to think they have the right to tell the author to stop writing or my favorite that they “soldiered” through the book till the end just so they could warn people of how bad it was.
There’s one thing I have to ask these people and that is, are you truly happy with yourself? You who have never tried to write anything longer than a one paragraph review, who sit here and wonder why most reviewers include a synopsis in their reviews when it’s right on the page at Amazon think you have the right to tell a written, edited and published author that they should stop writing? You think that just because you spent a piddly 99 cents or even bothered to pick up their book for free that you have the right to reduce another human being to tears in some cases?
Now I know what these people will probably come back with. “I have wrote a book so nyah!” and yes, I know I said wrote instead of written and I’ve done it for a reason. For all the big highfaluting words they’ve used to bash an author with in a review, they can’t even write that review properly or even edit it. So I really doubt these people have written anything worthwhile, because they’re too busy bashing people to supposedly make themselves feel better.
It just feels like anybody who buys a book feels they’re a reviewer or anyone who can set up a blog on blogger. In a way that’s a beautiful thing but too many people are abusing it. So here is where we come to the real meat and potatoes of my rant.
Reviewing isn’t simply saying how you feel about a book, it’s doing so tactfully.
If these reviewers were getting paid to do reviews for a magazine, most of them would be fired for lack of tact. You have no right to verbally abuse anyone EVER. If I ever review something I don’t like, I will be tactful about it. I’m not going to tell someone to stop writing, nor will I bash someone for grammatical errors. How could I? Most of the time I get uncorrected proof galleys! If I went to someone and was like, “Your galley has a bunch of typos!” I’d get back a big fat DUH and look totally stupid in the process.
So how do you properly write a review for a book you don’t like?
Well first, read the book. If you don’t like it then stop reading. Life is too short to read bad books or even what you feel is a bad book. You can even go ahead and write your review and let the author know that you couldn’t get past whatever chapter you were on. It will tell them that they need to look at that and see if your argument holds any weight. Do NOT be insulting and do not act like your time has been wasted. Nobody held a gun to your head and made you read the book. They do offer samples before you buy.
If you did force yourself to finish the book and feel angry about it, write yourself an angry review. There’s nobody to blame for you reading a book you felt was a waste of time but yourself. You must’ve had the time to waste.
Now if you loved the book and you honestly felt there were some problems you need to bring to the author’s attention. Do so in a yin and yang manner. Talk about the things you loved first and then the things you didn’t like. Keep it objective and give examples so that the author knows what to look at. You’re not just doing a service for readers here, you’re giving the writer a red flag saying this needs to be looked at. So make sure you’re as clear as possible. This helps readers too and it makes you look more like a serious reviewer. The more serious you are with your reviews, the more people will take you seriously.
It’s petty to resort to name calling or to tell someone to give up. I personally rank those reviews down because if people are childish enough to be that rude, then I take their reviews with a grain of salt. Authors, do not be discouraged by idiotic reviews. Most of the time, they just make people want to read your books more.
I take pride in myself as a reviewer and people who read this might go back to The Top Shelf and see that most of my reviews are 5 stars. Well, I do have one 4 star review. I felt Genna Showalter didn’t give enough hints in the beginning that the hero and heroine in one of her books knew each other from before. Either way, I stand by every single one of my reviews. There’s no haterade on tap here!
What do you guys think of negative reviews? If you’re an author, how do you deal with them? If you’re a reader, do you report them and say they’re not helpful?
(Note: I did not edit this blog :-p )