Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Point Behind the Mouth

Have you noticed that I like to talk? I have a lot to say.

I've gone over what should be in a review, what authors are hoping to see and what readers need to see. Now it's time to take a look at the real thing.

This is an example of a short review with no information for a reader or author.

Click on title to see review: Learning How to Bend. First, I liked the opening line. It can grab a reader's interest if they like those kinds of stories. The second paragraph is synopsis. The third doesn't even qualify as a pargraph as it is only three sentences. Short sentences. Where does it give a reader or author the information of what worked or didn't to give it the 3.5 rating? Was it the dialogue? Why was the menage only fairly good? What the heck does that mean anyway? Was an arm in the wrong place? Not enough sex? Why is the book only rated as decent? Was it the descriptions? Motivation? What worked for the reviewer? What appealed to her about the characters and their relationship? If I wanted to decide to buy a book based upon the blurb, I would have done so. Why bother to look at this when I can't find out more than what the blurb would have initially given me? This is an example of a Missing Link.(Not sure what I'm referring to? Click the previous Missing Link and it'll take you to the post)

Phantom Corps #1/Federation Chronicles #3. (same thing, Click the title to see it)
No opening line on this review. Not a big issue but there are three rather large informational paragraphs that the reviewer took time to write. My issue? SYNOPSIS.(Need to see the post? click Synopsis) It's all about telling a reader what goes on in the book, not necessarily giving spoilers but it certainly is saying, "This is this and that is that" throughout the three paragraphs.

The final paragraph ends up being the actual review and of that the only line that jumped out at me was, "I felt it didn’t live up to the depth of emotion of the first two books" Okay, that is a valid observation and she's finally talking about how the book affected her. But if the author sees it, what is she going to get out of it? What exactly did the reviewer expect? What was missing? How can the author tweak it in the next book or her writing in general if the reviewer didn't give anyone an idea of what she expected and what didn't get delivered? As for the reader of the review .... what does that mean anyway? Are they shallow characters after all or will they still be able to connect with the H/H and care about what happens to them?

The kicker for me came when I scrolled down to the bottom of the page. They posted the BLURB and yet I still had to read all about it again? And this part in the review here, "Enter Daniel Haws, operative extraordinaire of the Phantom Corps, and unbeknownst to many, the man who commands it". The actual blurb 'hints' but the review reveals. Is that a spoiler????

My final example is this one: (definitely click this title to see what I'm gushing over) Verifiable Intelligence. This review started off with a good hook. I lost count after eight paragraphs and none of them involved reciting the blurb. There was information both the reader and the author can use, great examples of what worked and even what didn't. It backed up the rating it was given and it came across that the reviewer/reader really got into the book because the words flowed and the detail was intimate - meaning that could only happen if the reviewer actually read the book. I cannot fault this review at all but instead hold it up to the light for all to see. This is what I've been talking about and all the elements are here.

What more needs to be said?

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