How do you review a book, movie, game? Why? What motivates you? And what is your focus? These are questions I raise as I looked over a couple of my reviews in contrast with others.
I want to be a professional writer, so it is no surprise that my reviews try to analyze, not just what worked and didn’t, but why. I don’t just want to say how much enjoyment there was to be had, but why it was enjoyable.
I think I’ve learned a lot using this approach, hopefully accomplishing one reason for why I started reviewing in the first place.
I hope in the process I don’t become jaded to books—like some sour critic that can find something wrong in every scene. Perhaps that is inevitable after enough exposure to the medium, but it hasn’t happened yet, and I’d like to think that I’ve exposed myself plenty. (Hey! I totally didn’t mean it like that.)
I suppose it is bound to happen, at least to a degree. After all, some of my first favorite books as a child are nowhere near the level that I had imagined them to be. Re-reading Feist’s The Riftwar Saga in recent years was strangely frustrating as I ran across favorite scenes and found them lacking in depth and consistency. I’ve heard some people recommend not to re-read childhood favorites. Perhaps they’re right.
Back to the point: Why do you review (if you do), or if you don’t, what do you look for in a review?