There’s no need to be a great literary critic to write a good review. In fact, it’s probably a good thing if you aren’t, because reviews posted on sites such as amazon.com are meant to help potential readers decide whether they would enjoy the book. Let’s be honest, some reviews in newspapers and magazines are really there to make the critic look clever and provoke the reader.
Here’s a simple template. If you aren’t sure how to begin, start here…
- Write a sentence about what kind of book you felt it was, or what book/film/TV it reminded you of.
- Pick one or two things about the book you liked and say what they are. For a bonus, explain why you liked them.
- Pick one or two things you didn’t like and mention them. If your overall impression was good, you might want to suggest something you wanted more of, rather than something you wanted to see less.
Here’s an example. I read a book recently by James Everington called The Other Room, and here is how I would describe it:
The Other Room is a collection of short stories, all by James Everington. The subject matter is varied, but tends to be contemporary urban horror. In other words, strange and frightening things happen to people in the modern world. [That's step #1: what is it about]
The writing is very cleverly done, without being overly literary [thing I liked #1] I especially liked the originality of some of the ideas [thing I liked #2]. The formatting was good and free from typos, but I would have preferred to have navigation so I could move straight from one story to the next [thing I didn't like]
That review didn’t take long to write and hopefully tells potential readers something useful.
Now go write that review!