where the writers are
Writing Negative Book Reviews

I write book reviews for a magazine, and of the twenty-five or so novels I have reviewed in the past year, most have been well-crafted, with appealing characters and story lines that kept me turning the pages until the end. Even if the book was not one I would have picked up by my own choice, if I was drawn into the story and could see where the author was taking me, I enjoyed the book. Reviewing gives me an opportunity to expand my own reading horizons and try a new sub-genre. (Most of the books I review are in the mystery or suspense category.) However, the novel I most recently reviewed, I found to be flawed in several areas. Although the story line had possibilities, and most of the characters were well-developed, the story lacked fluidity and some of the elements of the plot were too far-fetched to be believable. I felt bad when I wrote the review. I like to say positive things about fellow authors, but I felt that honesty was important. Of course this is my opinion. That is what a book reviewer does -- reads a book and then writes her opinion. But when the negative outweighs the positive, it is difficult to anticipate seeing the review in print, and wonder how the author will feel. I don't know how other reviewers feel, but this was a difficult task for me.