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Tagging Authors In Reviews

Thanks to Angie Thomas, a much-needed and celebrated voice in contemporary YA fiction, the subject of tagging authors in readers’ reviews has exploded over the last few days.

Why is it such a big deal? Well, there’s a lot of back and forth between those for and those against tagging authors in reviews, especially when it comes to sharing negative ones.

Those for argue that they want to help an author they enjoyed, and expect the author to show gratitude that they’re spreading the word about their work. Consensus also seems to be that even negative reviews have a place in being brought to the author’s attention.

Those against argue that as soon as the book’s published, it’s no longer the author’s, really – it’s the reader’s. And any review the reader wants to share should stay amongst those it’s actually meant for.

As for my side of the fence, I am AGAINST tagging authors in negative reviews. With positive reviews I can see both sides, I understand why someone might want to show the author how much they squealed over that person’s work and how much it meant to them.

But in my eyes, nobody needs to be going about their day, only to get the “ding!” notification and see that they’ve been dragged about something in a novel they spent years working on.

I’ll try and explain why tagging an author in a bad review is not only in bad taste on the reviewer’s half but also unproductive.

Number one is that there’s only so many people’s feedback an author can listen to and implement in their work. For example, here I took “Planet of the Apes”:

Reviewer #1: Loved the romance but wish there were less monkeys.

Author: Right…. romance but less monkeys… got it.

Reviewer #2: LOVED THE MONKEYS. All the monkeys. Maybe include lemurs next time? Less of the romance, though.

Author: Oh….. so more… monkeys?

Reviewer #3: EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT AND I ADORED IT. WOULDN’T CHANGE A THING!

Author: …….. so don’t change the monkeys?

Reviewer #4: This was a garbage fire, DNF’d at 20%.

Author: *grabs bottle of wine*

Authors cannot possibly please every single reader. While one reader might have an issue with the writing, another won’t even notice it and simply enjoy the story.  While one might love the protagonist, another might hate them with a passion.

It’s understandable, then, that authors primarily write for themselves (or they should, because it’s damn hard to write for people whose reaction you can’t predict), and hope it resonates with their audience. Since the book is published, there’s a good chance it already resonated with an agent, an editor, their aquisitions team, and more editors who then worked to get it to the best possible version of itself before it hits shelves.

Authors write with the understanding nobody reads the same book. That’s why readers have different favourite characters, or favourite scenes in novels, it’s why some didn’t gel with the plot, or writing, or concept, where others might not be able to get enough of it all. It’s totally fine to have a different opinion, and to discuss it or post it on platforms other readers can see and make judgement calls for themselves.

With all this in mind — why would a singular reader believe tagging an author in their 1* or 2* negatively aspected review, think it is justifed? That the author must read it, and understand that their opinion should be included amongst the editors, agents, and publishers who helped get the book out?

I’ve seen it reasoned that the tagging-reviewer wants to help the author – that in some way their review might assist the author in understanding where they could do better in future. That they only want to help, and so they want the author to read the criticisms they had personally with the novel.

In some cases criticism is justified – harmful represenation, problematic plot, glorification of things which shouldn’t be glorified – this is 100%  necessary to voice because it could have a bigger impact than the readership. Books influence society, because they’re a form of art. Society consumes art. And I believe all art forms should not only be accessible and enjoyed, but critiqued so that we can learn from it.

Though… let’s say there’s nothing serious to point out about a book, such as a harmful racial stereotype or glorifying an abusive relationship, and that the tagging-reviewer simply disagrees with a plot point or character arc. Again, it’s not really clear why the reviewer would find it necessary to inform the author of their opinion where there is **nothing the author can do about it**. The book is out. In the world. In people’s hands. And if the author enjoys writing dystopias about primates taking over the planet, as long as there’s an audience who wants it, they will continue to write it.

It’s likely the publishers, agents, editors, will pick up on anything consistently pointed out in reviews and feed it back to the author to improve on in future. We all make mistakes, it’s how we learn. Authors want to get better at their craft.

But believing a singular opinion needs to be given directly to the author – who at the point of seeing the tag might be having a bad day, may be struggling, wondering if this is the career for them, even if they’ve had 15 books already published because **anxiety and imposter syndrome is a thing** – is not considerate. It’s entitled.

Do you want the author to notice your (negative) opinion? Ask yourself why.  If it isn’t to engage in a discussion about something harmful, why do you want to tell the author you didn’t like their book? Chances are if you didn’t like it, you’re simply not the audience for it. I’m personally not a fan of Justin Bieber’s back catalogue but I wouldn’t tag him in my 1* review of how “Baby” got stuck in my head too many times.

Plus, the whole thing is just plain tacky, I mean… come on. You wouldn’t like it if you posted some artwork online, or simply did your day job, and someone came along with a huge red ‘F’ and stuck it on your forehead, declaring to the world that they, a person, did not like The Thing You Created.

So before there’s any more debate about why it’s justified, I would like people to think why they feel the author should be grateful they took the time to include them in their distribution of a bad review.

They should be grateful the author wrote the book at all. Art is necessary, now more than ever. And we should be showing our support and kindness for creating in a world of destruction.


Editing services:Cover to Cover Edits

Twitter: @jadewritesbooks

 

 

Reviews · Uncategorized

King of Scars – Review (spoilers!)

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3.5*

No wait, 4*

No wait….

This is such a hard book to rate!!

I loved it… but I was also disappointed by it

Let me explain.

When we were told we were going to get a Nikolai book I figured this was going to be a Nikolai book which centered on him battling with the demon inside and trying to rule his kingdom, with his sass, wit, and genuine charm coming to the fore. It ended up being a Zoya, Nik, Isaak, Saints, Nina, Fjerda, Leoni, Hanne book with everything and its children happening and veeeeery little Nikolai.

The standout star here was Zoya. Let’s be real. I didn’t like her in the Grisha trilogy, as I suppose we weren’t meant to, not until the last book because of her tryst with Mal (remember him?). But in this duology I have a feeling she’s going to shine.

I love Zoya and Nikolai as separate characters and as their friendship. But it feels like there’s no natural sexual chemistry between them, I didn’t get any “zing!” vibes from them at all. So when it was thrown in that they started feeling flashes of *something* about each other, it felt just like that – flashes of it thrown in, for a romance subplot that we don’t need.

Having two strong characters in their own, both of the opposite sex, doesn’t mean they HAVE to get together. I adore them both as friends cause we hardly ever see a leading man and a leading woman as just great friends in fiction. And yeah, to be honest, I can see Zoya’s jealousy of Nikolai’s impending marriage being rooted in the friendship changing. Not in the “but I want you instead!” jealousy.

Zoya was definitely the stronger character and while I understood why Isaak’s chapters were there I just… didn’t care. We didn’t have enough time to see this impending war intrigue because we switched to a scene in Fjerda then we were in the Saints place, then we were over here, and then Nina was being flirty, and then we went back to Zoya…. It never felt like we had time enough to sit down, settled in, and absorb the feel of the place.

Nina… the thing with Nina’s chapters are like they belong in a different book. I don’t see any correlation between her and the story which centers on Nikolai. Also – CHEATED. I wanted good, honest to god interactions between by girl Nina and my boy Nik. Nikolina? Ninolai? Whatever, I wanted to see them hopelessly flirt with each other.

I will read the second book – of COURSE I will, the Darkling has literally returned for some reason – but while there was a lot to love (Zoya! Nikolai’s lines! Tolya and Tamar! Ravka!…. omg that’s it!) I was deflated.

What are your thoughts?! Have you read it?!

Reviews

STALKING JACK THE RIPPER – Review

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STALKING JACK THE RIPPER is about Audrey Rose, a strong and capable young woman learning sciences and as much as she can about the human body. Her fascination with a “man’s job” is frowned upon in Victorian society, so she learns everything she can from her Uncle by being his mortuary assistant. She’s soon thrown into the midst of the investigations surrounding Jack the Ripper, and with the help of dashing and irritating Thomas Cresswell, seems to hunt his every step.

FIVE STARS!!! * * * * *

Dear lord.

Thomas Cresswell.

I tore through this book. It was such an exciting read. Being fascinated with JtR anyway, it was highly enjoyable to delve into the world with such a brilliant heroine. Audrey Rose is definitely a character I warmed to immediately, and I enjoyed the banter with Cresswell, a dynamic interest. It was thrilling to spend time in that era of London with such a capable and interesting heroine. She liked being pretty while she studied gory science, which to my mind is a total aesthetic.

She wanted to be respected but also enjoy dresses as society expected of her, though she defied some of the rules in glorious fashion. Thomas has a way of pulling you around to his side, too, and he’s very charismatic if not infuriating.

While I figured out the culprit early on it didn’t dampen my enjoyment of the novel. Some of it is still Americanised eg: “block” instead of street, and “gotten”, which I highly doubt anyone in 1800s England would use, but if you can look past those teeny, tiny things I am sure you will enjoy this.

 

 

Reviews

THE ILLUMINAE SERIES – Review!

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*dance dance dance*

*twirl*

*sob a bit*

*dance*

I haven’t felt so in love with a series in a long time.

Books? Yes. Series? Not so much.

Each book in this trilogy delivered so much heart, drama, tension and depth that I was blown away. I adored the characters, even rooted for an ambiguous AI that seemed intent on killing people for the ‘good of them all’ but seriously. READ THIS SERIES if you haven’t already.

Now that’s out of the way…

ILLUMINAE – 5*

GEMINA – 4.5*

OBSIDIO – 5*

The ONLY reason Gemina got half a point less is because I didn’t connect with the characters of that book as much as I did with Illuminae – Kady and Ezra will forever me by babes.

SO WITHOUT FURTHER ADO – the individual book reviews.

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Characters: I LOVE THEM ALL

Plot: I almost had a heart attack several times

Hangover?: Majorly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This darn book ruined me in the best of ways. I stayed up so late reading it, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Every little character is real, making the main cast feel so much more fleshed out and believable. Kady and Ezra are probably two of my favourite characters ever, and I’ve never read a droid so complex as AIDAN before.

Was it grim at times? Yes. Did I cry? Also yes.

Zombie-rage-like-people will always be a fear of mine and I think this played up to that tension expertly.

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Characters: Incredibly strong

Plot: DisGUSTING aliens omg what the hell

Hangover?: Some water will do, re-hydrate me

 

 

 

 

 

 

While Kady and Ezra aren’t in this as much I did enjoy it – Hanna and Nick are fine protagonists but their love story seemed a little bit sloshier somehow. Hanna is no doubt the stronger of the pair, and her arc was very interesting. I love the way these girls are strong as hell but not just in physical aspects but in personality.

Ella is the breakout star in this for me, she’s absolutely sodding amazing. I didn’t NOT enjoy this book I mean it’s 4.5 stars, but it was always going to be hard to live up to Illuminae.

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Characters: BABES

Plot: Twisty twisty

Hangover?: I had to take a break a few times not gonna lie

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you physically place a book down and have to breathe because you know a character is gonna fuck the fuck up, you know you’re safely in a master writer’s hands.

That sort of anxiety usually annoys me to death but I enjoyed it here. I pushed on despite characters making stupid decisions because you could sympathise WHY they were making stupid decisions. And this was the adults!

It all came together beautifully and at one point I worried we would actually lose one of our main four. I know there was an additional couple introduced but I can’t even remember their names now. The other pairs stole my mind and heart and made this a very satisfying ending.

So. SHOULD YOU READ IT? Yes. Do it. Now.

I’ll wait.

Reviews

COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN – Review!

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Let me preface this by saying I haven’t read many vampire books in my lifetime. It’s a tragedy, I know, a heresy, how terrible – but given the overwhelming choice of not-very-appealing-to-me books for my beloved vampire genre, I chose instead to watch things like Buffy or reruns of Dracula.

Because to me, vampires have become pretty diluted – either sparkly or romantic, with none of the menace vampires were originally known for.

Enter HOLLY BLACK.

This was my first Holly Black book and I’m very eager to read another. Her protagonist was realistic, all of her choices were exactly the same as the ones I would do, she was not whining, she was incredibly mature and basically… I would be her friend, if I could. I really appreciated the time and effort that was taken into making sure she was a fleshed out and realistic character.

Another plus was the inclusion of bisexual characters without it being a Big Thing and also a trans character who I absolutely loved – she was so sweet, and (SPOILERS) she was able to get the boy, too, which was A+ in my book.

On to… Gavriel. Sweet Gavriel. Gorgeous Gavriel. I have another favourite oh dear. He was such an interesting character that I found myself looking for him on the page, and I adored him.

Holly’s writing is so… effortless in this book and I easily swept along with the world. I adored it. I understood every choice, every beat. I would have loved to spend more time in Gavriel’s past – the chapters where we slunk back into the 1800s felt lush as a chaise lounge, and incredibly rich. I’m waiting for Holly Black to write a historical fantasy, cause damn.

AND IT WAS GORY. It never shied away from the realistic truth that vampires are brutal, and turning changes you. I loved the modern inflections cause let’s face it, everyone would watch a vampire reality stream if the world turned out the way of this book, so yes. Adored. It.

A rare 5* to this one! Another favourite.

Going to try and find a hardback, since the copy I bought was ex-library.

HAVE YOU READ IT? WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT? LET ME KNOW!

Reviews

REVIEW- Final Draft by Riley Redgate

As you may know from the previous post, I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately. But before I hit that reading slump, I read Final Draft via eARC from NetGalley, courtesy of ABRAMS Kids.

Pub Date 12 Jun 2018

Thank you!

In the end I gave this book 3.5* out of 5.

I enjoyed a lot about this book, but after my original review, of which I will post below, I was kinda left thinking… what was the point of the book? It was a bit of a filler, to me.

Original review:

I can see that this book might get comparisons to Fangirl, but it seems much more grounded to me. It’s such a refreshing read and I related SO MUCH to the struggles Laila went through. I enjoyed the nuances throughout, the diversity, the humour. Sometimes the backstory was a little full on with descriptions but otherwise – a joy to read.

I stand by that, too. But at the same time I wasn’t really sure what feeling I should have been left with, or whether this was open-ended to go into something else, or… whether it was a happy ending, whether our main character had actually learned something from the teacher who came in, why the death was actually there.

The first parts of the book were 100% relatable, with the sci fi nerding and the keen sense of writing. But after a while I didn’t really understand it. The representation of depression was, to me, something that hit home but nothing ever seemed finished off in the story itself.

I did enjoy the romance, but even that felt like an add-on to me. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to take from it, like it was a snapshot of her life. Nothing mentioned ever seemed to come to fruition, things that seemed like they were going to be a big deal ended up being… left unanswered or never mentioned again.

It was well-written and I really think it has potential to affect many teenage readers in the right way, but it wasn’t 100% for me.

3.5*