Negative Book Reviews // Discussion

17 birthday ideas for the

Let’s talk about negative book reviews, shall we?

Both writing and reading them.

So I finished the Glittering Court by Richelle Mead a few days ago and was debating whether or not to post a review. I really didn’t like it and gave it like 1 or 2 stars. So I asked myself, do I really want to write a review where all I do is rant at what I disliked about a book?

Someone else may have loved it, and my review would make them feel bad and perhaps angry.

Yes I know it’s good to post honest thoughts but do I have the energy to be so negative?

And it’s not like I even post a review on every book I read, like though I didn’t end up posting a review about the glittering court, I definitely mentioned it in my June wrap up because when I don’t review a book I mini review it in my wrap ups. (You can check out my June Wrap Up here)

And also I know what it’s like to click on a review of a book that I loved only to see all negative things about it in the review.

I once was scrolling through my reader and I saw a review for Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson, and since I love that book I clicked on it and the entire review basically bashed the book. I was really upset because I absolutely did not agree with the things being said.

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Book bashing is not okay. 

There’s obviously a clear difference between a negative review and plain bashing a book though. The point is, don’t bash books but rather when doing negative reviews, be respectful of the writer and the other lovers of the book.

And yes, of of course I’ve posted 3 star reviews where there are both negative and positive things said, those are fine because then the blogger can chat with the readers about the good and bad things.

But when I really just dislike a book overall, do I have the energy to post a review?

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Also hype plays a huge role. The Rose and the Dagger is a hugely hyped book and I loved the first one, the Wrath and the Dawn. For me, I thought the Rose and the Dagger was meh, so should I post a review when I know people will really disagree with me? (The answer to that for me is yes, I will be posting a rose and the dagger review)

Also, negative reviews can tell a reader that they’re not alone in disliking a book in a sea of people who loved it.

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So basically there are both pros and cons to negative reviews, and while bashing a book is never good, being respectful and giving reasons why you didn’t like a book is sometimes helpful to readers. It probably depends on the type of person you are, and whether you have the energy to be so negative, as well as the response you know you’ll get from your readers.

Join the discussion! What do you think? Do you write negative reviews? Do you think they’re more helpful or hurtful? 

Stay awesome Sassenachs!-Calliope Fraser

30 thoughts on “Negative Book Reviews // Discussion

  1. No one is perfect. That’s why book bloggers, including myself, post negative reviews, so that if the author or any aspiring writers come across those reviews, they’ll be able to improve. I also absolutely agree with you that book bashing is not okay. I’ve seen a review (of a book I enjoyed) on Goodreads that downright bashes the book AND the author. That’s not giving an “opinion”, that’s just rude.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great discussion!
    I personally review every single book I read, so I’d post a negative review. I always feels so bad though when I write it. But then I think I’d rather share my opinions and have a whole range of ratings on my blog, possibly have some people relate, than just ignore it.
    I DEFINITELY don’t bash books though. I always get angry when a “negative review” is just the person being rude about it. Sure, it almost feels like a punch to the stomach if someone doesn’t like one of my favourite books, but no book can be loved by everyone. As long as they’re respectful, I don’t mind reading the negative reviews.
    If I have to write a bad review, I always say things like “it’s not for me BUT it might be for you. Don’t be discouraged by me if this sounds like something you’ll enjoy.” I constantly point out that while I didn’t like it, plenty of other people do 🙂


  3. I agree with you. I once read a review bashing Rainbow Rowell’s ‘fangirl’, and it freaked me out, because I love that book. personally, I try to keep my reviews balanced.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I gave a book a low rating/negative review a while ago. The author contacted me about it and was really nice about it. She even offered me the rest of the series to read. She appreciated my honesty. I think negative, non abusive reviews are okay. They, like the good, can help readers decide if they want to read something. Great topic!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The moment I saw “Glittering Court” in the blurb I clicked. Why? Because I read the “Sneak Peak” and knew I’d hate it. It was bland, it took forever, if I had read it completely I would have likely expressed my thorough disappointment.

    With that being said, I definitely have shit on books. One that always sticks in my head was when I reviewed a book by one of my favorite authors. It was book #3 of a series in a larger “chronicle”. (Does that even make sense? Probably not..). Anyways, I personally thought it was 100% justified as it had abuse, rape, addiction, torture, kidnapping (you name it) occur to the MC and then she just fell in love with the person who did all that stuff to her.

    I HAVE read some extremely negative reviews on Goodreads that are downright cynical and mean spirited.. but I noticed that those people always have a really shitty outlook on books. So I don’t take them to heart. I think negative reviews are perfectly fine, because readers are constantly being shoved “great new books” in their faces that end up being subpar. How else can we sort through the sea of never-ending books? If I see books on Goodreads with less than a 4.0 I skim the reviews and see why it’s below 4, if I decide to read it I’ll get it from the library. This system has never failed me and saved me hours (and lots of money).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh yes same, if I know I might not like a book, I borrow it because I don’t want to waste my money on a book I may dislike. It’s always great to be honest to help give readers a true sense of the book, but just being mean and listing no reasons for why the book was bad is never good.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Like you said there is definitely a difference between honest reviews and book bashing. If you can justify your claims and why you didn’t like it then I think a negative review is fine. The other thing is that reviews are really a justified opinion.

    If you really dislike it I would post your thoughts because you never know someone else may feel the exact same way.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Yea I’ve gotten some mixed reactions with The Girl on the Train. I liked the main character, who is totally unlikable, but the plot was predictable. Some people gave it five because it held their interest but it didn’t for me. So I give it three stars. Discussion is what makes art and literature great and if you can back up what you are saying other than: “I didn’t like the book.” I am happy to read a negative review.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I actually love reading negative reviews–regardless of whether I enjoyed the book–because it almost always widens my viewpoint on the book. Sometimes, it’s the realization that I didn’t like certain things in a book, and other times, it reaffirms what I liked in the novel. Regardless, I think we have a responsibility to tell the truth with what we think about books. Great discussion!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Book bashing is definitely not okay. And since I too get sad when I encounter reviews that bash my favorite books I rarely post negative reviews (think I only did that once), only if I absolutely feel the need. But I always make sure to be respectful and point out what made me dislike the book without bashing it and in the end say that although this book wasn’t for me, others might like it.
    Little side not, you have Fraser as your last name 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Calliope.
    I believe in sparing a persons feelings, first and foremost, though, sometimes {purely on a rare occasion, mind you,} it is fun to read a snarky review.
    I like your thoughts towards not hurting other readers feelings, but I believe in reviewer honesty standards, also. There are ways to accurately review a book without being mean, yet maintaining your integrity.
    Looking forward to your review of ‘a Glittering Court’. I am intrigued!
    ~Icky. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think negative reviews are the responsibility of a book blogger. After all, it is our job to talk about what we liked and disliked in books so people can be informed! However, I only review books when I really clearly can identify what I didn’t like about the book, because if I was just “meh” about it, my review won’t really help anyone. If I write a negative review and I say “I thought the main romance was poorly written” someone may still pick up the book because they’re interested in the plot outside of the romance. But if they were only picking it up or the romance, they may decide to skip it.

    I think that sort of negative review is really helpful and I’ve certainly appriciated them from other bloggers in the past!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I post negative reviews. I also read negative reviews. I want to know what people thought was wrong with a book before I read it. So I can be a little more prepared, I suppose. Plus, I feel like it is good to see multiple opinions. I do try to be as constructive as I can. Often times I come across as harsher than I like, but I think that’s just my passion and disappointment coming out.

    I also don’t think negative reviews should upset readers. I have loved books that other people hated and wrote scathing reviews for. I try to consider their opinion. Did I miss a flaw they saw? It makes me think critically when I might not have.

    So, basically I think negative reviews are a tool that is extremely useful when thinking critically about fiction. They can also spark truly interesting discussions.

    Liked by 4 people

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