Not long ago, Trish from Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'? pointed me to this post about book reviews and their purposes. The author has five elements she feels should be included in a valuable book review. They include:
- A brief, accurate, and unbiased precis of the setting and plot of the story without giving away what the rabbit in the hat looks like.
- A specific evaluation of the author's writing ability, including which writers the author's style resembles, and, as the exalted John Updike recommends in his Six Rules for Book Reviewing, a taste out of the author's pot with a few moderately lengthy and representative quotes.
- Which works this particular book most resembles in both plot and feel.
- How the book compares to the author's previous works (if any) and to other books cut from a similar cloth.
- A final verdict on the book stated clearly and unequivocally and with the particular reviewer's caveats laid out for consideration.
I personally wondered about all the references to other authors and styles. On occasion I might mention that if a person likes "such and such" a subgenre, they might enjoy this book. I will also on occasion say, "this book brought to might 'so and so.'" But I also only do that when it hits me while I'm reading - and we're talking hit-over-the-head-with-a-frying-pan-type hits me. I tend to value the unique, so I'm often looking for the elements that make a book unique, not the elements that make it like others. I will compare a book to others the author has written if I've experienced anything else the author has written.
But, what's even more important to me, is what characteristics make a review GREAT in your eyes? What makes you interested enough to finish reading a review? What are the elements that help you decide whether or not you're interested in a book that's being reviewed? And on the flip side, what are elements you wish people would leave out of their reviews?
So, let 'er rip! Tell us what you think!