Reviews should be from familiar viewpoints

I’ve been somewhat enamored by Goodreads lately, but the reviews I see on various updates reminds me of certain statements.

To be brief, the question is why do critics judge creative works they aren’t interested in to begin with? Lately there have been some flashy, low-plot high entertainment movies. Oh, yes, I did see Iron Man 2. It was a superhero movie. I loved it. Tony seemed like a jerk; that was great. The physics were unexplained and impossible. That was perfect. And it was flashy. That also worked. So it was designed in a certain way, for a certain demographic, and it exceeded at pleasing that demo.

Was it perfect? No. But it wasn’t trying to be. I’m just using it as an example; I haven’t read any reviews. Why should I? I already know exactly what they will say. Some reviews will say it’s good for those who like this kind of stuff, and the bad ones are probably written by people who wouldn’t have liked it either way.

And thus I come to Goodreads. There are some great reviews that detail exactly why something deserved such and such star. Some rate it as a 1-star, saying they are a fan of the author or the genre, and this particular work was weak in comparison. Others a 5, and you already know what they said.

But the problem is the low raters who said: I hated the idea to begin with, and only read it because everyone else is. It disappointed, just like I expected. – Just an example, not one I copied from anywhere. But you get the idea. Why did this person even read the book in the first place?

Amazon, Apple’s app store, Goodreads, overall the rating system works well. However, overall it’s disappointing to see that people rate stuff that they didn’t want to see in the first place.

Now, here is the interesting thing: I almost never see things I’d give poor reviews to. I simply don’t read, don’t watch, and don’t care about things I’d hate. I’ll never read a teen vampire novel. I’ve got friends who love French films – I prefer Japanese. I don’t watch French films and then complain. They don’t ask about the Asian works I watch and read. And if I really don’t like something, I stop reading, stop watching, stop caring about the thing I don’t care about. I don’t have to finish it just because I started it. I don’t like it, therefore why should I care about finishing it? I wish I’d done this more in the past, it would have saved me some much-wasted time.

A Republican doesn’t read a Democrat’s work and say: “Yeah, I’d vote for the guy, but he’d be much better if he took a different stance on gun ownership. No democrat should vote for him because of that.” Of course not! He’s not going to influence a Democrat’s vote. What is better is a liberal Newspaper reviewing various liberal candidates. Like rates like. Opposite should not rate like.

Reviews should be written by people who are interested in the field they are reviewing. An outside looking in has no basis to judge. Isn’t that simple?

If you don’t like YA teen fantasy fiction, then please, don’t read it and then proceed to review it. It wasn’t written for you, the people who read your review aren’t looking for your viewpoint. They are looking for other fans of that genre who have honest things to say about the work from a familiar viewpoint, and then trusting their good/bad/could be better/excellent rating.

606 words I could have used in a novel.

About James Ashman

I write books of the fantasy, heroic, and adventure types. So far. I'm an author who loves fantastic stories.
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