The purpose of a book review is to explain to others what you liked or disliked about a book in order to help them decide whether they would like to read that book and/or to generate some discussion about the book.
I too read many reviews to help me decide what to read. I also tend to look at reviews when I’m finished reading a book and use them like a virtual book club. I like seeing what other people think about the book, whether there are different ways of interpreting the book or reasons someone liked a book I disliked (and vice versa).
However, sometimes reviews are extremely unhelpful or aren’t really reviews at all.
Here are my biggest pet peeves about reviews:
Spoilers. While there is a place for spoilers in reviews, this should either be indicated at the start of the review, or spoiler tags should be used. I’ve had too many books ruined for me by reviews that contain spoilers that I’m actually weary of looking at reviews prior to reading apart from blogs I trust.
Summaries. A review can contain a brief summary of the book, but beyond that, that’s what the book description is for. A review should contain opinions and insights not an explanation of the plot. Because then it isn’t really a review anymore.
Overuse of GIFs or images. I don’t mind a few GIFs, images, or other creative content in a review but they shouldn’t take over the entire review.
Bad Spelling and Grammar. By this, I don’t mean reviews that are written casually. I’m referring to reviews that clearly haven’t been edited, or are written like a text message. There’s a point at which, if I’m struggling to make heads or tails of the review, I just give up.
No Paragraphs. I tend to avoid reviews that are just one giant block of text because it’s just overwhelming and hard to follow.
What are some of your biggest pet peeves about reviews? Let me know in the comments section below!