Book Reviews, Opinion, Writing

Why give 4 stars to a book when the climax disappointed me?

I read Stephen King’s latest novel, Revival, this month. I didn’t look at reader reviews until after I finished the book. But I’d seen some quotes from professional reviewers who called it terrifying, scary, or horrifying. But then, King’s publisher wouldn’t choose to quote any reviewer who said otherwise, would they?

revival

When I checked the reviews at Amazon and Goodreads, I saw the majority of them had rated the book with four or five stars, but a considerable number, especially on Goodreads, had given only one star. Many of the low-raters cited the “ending” as their reason for dissing the book. It was clear from the comments they were not talking about the actual end of the book, which is an epilogue, but the climax of the story, which I also found disappointing, yet I gave Revival four stars.

Why give 4 stars to a book when the climax disappointed me? Simple answer: the fault is not Mr. King’s. Though the climax failed to terrify me as illustrious reviews promised, I was captivated by 399 of the 403 pages in this book.  I even correctly anticipated Jacobs’ final “healing.” On those remaining 4 pages, Mr. King described what horrifies him and, obviously, many other readers. But his vision didn’t horrify everyone, and some of those not scared rated this book with 1 star.

I’m an author, and I know it’s impossible to write a book that pleases everyone. If I were to write a horror novel that ended with a peek behind that “hidden door,” I would describe a far different scene—what horrifies me. Some readers would shiver in terror with me; others would shake their heads or maybe laugh. King’s vision didn’t horrify me, but because of the solid writing, the skilled storytelling in 99% of the book, I rated it with four stars.

Have you read Revival? How did/would you rate it?

Linda

Book Reviews, Marketing, My Books, Promotion, Publish, Writing

Can you explain why book reviewers have this prejudice?

First off, I want to say how much I appreciate every single person who’s taken the time to read The Brevity of Roses. And those who went the extra mile by rating or reviewing it, get a second gold star in my book. Most of you paid for the book, and I’m honored. Actually, that you parted with real legal tender to read my writing totally freaks me out!

But today’s post is about seeking reviews from those with a wider reach, a greater influence. As a self-published author, without a publicist, it’s my responsibility to seek reviews of my book. Public reviews act as a sort of official word of mouth, so of course the more popular the reviewer the better.

Unfortunately, all review policies are not equal. I won’t name names, mostly because I’ve checked out so many book review sites since April that I’ve twisted them all up in my brain like a rubberband ball.

Some I eliminated as soon as I saw mention of a reading fee because, right now, I couldn’t pay for a review even if I wanted to. Some ask for two, or more, print copies, ditto on the reason for eliminating them or, at least, moving them to the bottom of my list. Some only review certain genres, usually not mine.

But what’s the biggest reason for crossing them off my list? They don’t review self-published books. That’s their prerogative, of course, but I’m not sure I understand their reasoning. Sure many self-published books are badly written, or badly edited, or both. But not every book published traditionally is excellent on all counts either. Plus, if the reviewer doesn’t like the book, or the quality of the book, they can pass, right?

So, I think I’m missing something. I think I must not understand why people review books for the public. Can anyone explain to me why some reviewers shun self-published books as a policy?