Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Reviewer's Style

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?


  1. The main thing I look for in a review is whether or not the piece resonates with me. I don't usually look for reviews unless I'm out of luck on trying to find something I really want to read.

    It does help to analyze a book and uncover what works and what doesn't. As a writer it also gives me a suggested guideline of how I might be able to write better, stronger.

  2. Hear, hear! Yes, I've certainly found value in doing them. Whether anybody else gets any out of my reviews, or not.

  3. Now that I want to be a writer, I review books to improve my writing skills (not sure if it has helped). I'm afraid these kinds of reviews probably don't sit too well with folks who just want to read. Ah well. (shrugs)

  4. You gotta do, what you gotta do. I don't imagine you particularly want to be a professional reviewer. So I'm sure that is just fine. I write the reviews and my blog posts more for me, then for anybody else. If someone gets some enjoyment out of them...well, that's a bonus.


Thanks for reading, now tell me what you think.