Bookish Posts

Discussion: Writing Negative Book Reviews

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Hi everyone! In my last discussion post, I wrote about authors being tagged in negative reviews. Everyone who commented agreed that this practise is not fair on authors. It got me thinking about negative book reviews in general and whether they are necessary.

For my first review on this blog, I rated a book 2 stars. The book in question was an authorised sequel to one of my favourite novels. Sadly, it did not live up to the original author’s work. Nowadays, most of the books I read and rate are 4 stars. I’ve learnt which books appeal to me through blogging. But if by chance I read a novel which is not my cup of tea, I would review it accordingly.

Now I know that some book bloggers will only write positive reviews, which is fine. However, I also like to know the reasons why someone didn’t like a book. And I’m more inclined to trust reviews from bloggers who are honest about their reading experiences. Hopefully, it can help me make an informed decision about whether or not I want to read that book.

That said, what if an author/publisher has sent you an ARC or book to review and it did not appeal to you? Thankfully, this hasn’t happened to me yet, although I’m unsure what I would do in this scenario. Chances are, the author will see your review and the last thing you want is to hurt their feelings! In this instance, I may email the author and ask them if they would still like me to post the review.

Personally, I feel that writing a negative review for a book is different from other mediums, such as films. Lots of people work on films, from the cast to the crew. But only one person writes a book. This is why I think one should always be respectful of authors. You can be honest in your review about why you did not like a book, as long as it is constructive criticism and not aimed at the author themselves.

Over to you! What are your thoughts about writing negative book reviews? Let me know in the comments!

20 thoughts on “Discussion: Writing Negative Book Reviews

  1. I, personally, have no problem writing negative reviews. However, when I’m not enjoying a book, I am still working on being more willing to DNF them!!

    When it comes to ARCS and books from authors/publishers, I am faster to DNF and write to them to let them know the book wasn’t up my alley. I think I do this mainly because most of the requests that I get are for relatively unknown authors, who have few reviews for that book. Sometimes they don’t have any reviews yet! So I’d rather tell the author it’s not for me and not finish it, than start them off with a negative review. 🙂

    Great discussion point!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad I’m not alone! I can totally understand why you would DNF a book which is not enjoyable.

      That’s an excellent way to let the author know their book is not for you, without writing a negative review. 🙂 I’ve actually had some review requests which I have turned down because I don’t think I’m the right audience for that book.

      Thank you, Erica! ❤


  2. Great post! It’s really a tricky topic. You make a very good point about books being written by just one person. Criticism is so much more personal when one person’s work is the target. Yet I want to be honest and I also read negative reviews first when I want to decide whether to accept an ARC or buy anything really.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Eline! 💕 It really is! Yeah, I try to imagine how it would feel if I wrote a book and someone wrote a bad review about it. It would be difficult not to take it personally. Same here! On the flip side, negative reviews help me decide whether or not to add that book to my TBR.


  3. When I post a review I try to say what I liked and what I didn’t like about a novel. Nowadays, I have a better understanding of the books that I enjoy so I rarely, if ever, pick up a book that I hate. I can usually find something redeeming about it! I try to post reviews for every book that I read, and that includes books I didn’t enjoy! Great topic!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. For author reviews, I don’t post a review if I don’t enjoy the book or if I don’t read it… But I think I am going to review it honestly…for me, It is not about one person doing all the work. When my work is shabby, my boss pulls me up, sometimes in front of the other staff…
    So I think for me, it is the same. What works what doesn’t work and my rating. The authors say honest reviews while contacting me so that’s what they get.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent post, Shaz. When I write reviews I like to focus a lot on the positive aspects. I start off by describing what I liked in detail, and then discuss some of the negative points towards the end of the review.
    When I write about negatives I try to do it in a constructive way that does not come across as overly critical. Thankfully, I have only ever done a couple of negative reviews.
    Happy reading 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Stephen! 💕 That makes sense!

      Agreed. When writing a review, I try and remember that although I may not have enjoyed that book, someone else may like it.

      Happy reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m fine with writing negative reviews. I would never tag an author in them, though. I don’t even tag authors in positive reviews. I think HOW the review is written is more important than the star rating. It is possible to write a negative review that’s kind and doesn’t attack the author or the book’s fans. Someone may read the negative review and think that the book sounds good to them.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderful discussion! 💕 I personally believe that negative reviews are beneficial, and think it’s alright to share your honest, negative review for an ARC, so long as you’re respectful to the author. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kelly! 💕

      That’s good to know. 🙂 This is something I have been fretting over a bit with regards to ARCs. It’s tricky trying to figure out whether or not you’ll like that book.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t avoid giving respectful and constructive negative reviews, because if I want to let my readers know my real opinions and some idea of what to expect, and an author can read a (respectful) negative review and take it as ideas of what to improve.
    That said, I do try to stay fairly positive and point out what I liked about the book more than just go on about what disappointed me. If it was pretty good, I’ll try to say that.
    Wonderful discussion post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you. Honesty is the best policy in reviews so long as it is respectable and constructive. And you can mention both what you liked and disliked about the book.

      Thank you so much, Grace! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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