Giving Honest Reviews

I think this is probably the most important thing when it comes to reviewing books, movies, or whatever else you review: be honest.

There are some people out there who try to bribe the reviewer into giving a positive review for some sort of benefit in return. But really, it’s not worth it because you’re not giving your full, 100% honest review of said product.

I’ve never had this happen to me, but it does happen.

Whenever I review a book or movie I’m always giving my 100% honest review. I think it’s important to share your innermost thoughts and feelings because then it allows other readers/viewers to get a sense for what the book or movie is like and they may or may not want to take a chance with it.

Now does this mean that your opinion will coincide with someone else’s? No. Don’t worry if your review is different from someone else’s. If you liked a book and rated it 5/5 stars and thought it was fantastic, while someone else rated it 1/5 stars and absolutely hated it, that’s okay. Everyone has differing views and tastes.

It can get a bit more stressful when a book or movie is super hyped up, though. You almost feel like you have to give it a positive review or rating. I’ve had this happen to me on several occasions with books that were super hyped up and felt bad for not giving it a decent rating. But in all honesty, if you didn’t like it or it didn’t meet your expectations, then rate it and review it as such.

But let’s not forget that when it comes to reviewing there’s a difference between giving an honest or critical review, and just being plain mean. Examples of each:

  • Honest/critical: This book, though written well with lovely prose and a great character arc, seemed to be lacking in world building. The author presented the characters in a fashion that helped me to get to know them better, but I didn’t feel like they belonged in the world that was being described.
  • Mean: This book had no depth or vision to it at all. I could’ve written it better and put in more detail here and there so the reader wouldn’t be totally lost like I was. Frankly, this author sucks at what they do.

Okay, I’m not good at giving mean examples, but you get the picture. One talks about the positive aspects of the novel while giving an analysis about why the characters were good, but the world building wasn’t as much and this can potentially lead to an explanation as to why that was for the reviewer. The other boasts the self and doesn’t really give a reason (or potentially lead to a reason) as to why they thought what they did, shooting down the author as being less than the person he/she is.

So, yes, while it is important to give honest reviews that people can look to and say, “Oh, this book sounds interesting, I’ll check it out,” or “Well, this helped me to see why I don’t want to read this,” the way you go about executing it is important as well.

Plus, I think people will call you out if you’re being mean in a review. At least I’d hope they would. I’d want someone to do that with me if I ever did that.

Always give your 100% honest review in any situation. Don’t let anyone try to persuade you otherwise. It’s important for readership and it’s important for having that trust that you build over time with your own viewers as well as authors, publishing companies, and other bloggers.

Do you ever feel like you have to botch a review just to make someone else happy? Do you feel pressured to give good ratings and reviews just because of the hype surrounding a book? Reflecting back on your past reviews, were you ever mean in any of them? Let me know.