How do you decide which book to read next? Is it the title of the book? Or is it the synopsis published on the back cover? How about the recommendations by countless readers on Goodreads and related websites? Well, these days we don’t come across plot summaries on the book jacket anymore. What we do find is one-line reviews by renowned authors and other publishing agencies.
Usually, before going ahead to buy a book, readers make sure to check out the reviews it has garnered. Only a few of those reviews encompass all the factors that you need to know about before starting a fresh read.
Therefore, Podium School brings to you some tips to master the anatomy of book reviews. These book review tips are sure to usher you on a path of informed and well-written literary criticism.
What is a Book Review? Check Out these Book Review Tips to Know More!
A review is a critical analysis of any topic. Such analysis serves to guide the audience about what they might expect from a particular choice they want to go for. The reviewers not only analyze the subject but also give their own opinion.
The most important factor to remember while writing a review is that it can be a positive review or a negative one. A review can also be neutral. However, reviews with stronger and more extreme tones are likely to arouse action from the audience regarding the goods and services on display.
There are certain points in this unlimited exercise though. While critics are usually regarded as people ‘who know how to drive a car but cannot drive a car for real’, their influence in shaping opinions for or against the book is an imperative factor. A literary critic might not be a great writer, but for one, they are good readers who form a feedback mechanism for the author as well as the readers to judge the writing.
This is why, we have come up with the following book review tips for you to follow in order to become a well-read and eloquent literary critic:-
Hook the Readers
The hook is the opening statement of a review. You have to express your overall views of the book in this one statement. You might have varied opinions regarding the book but opt for that one feature that completely stands out. Sometimes, it also allows your readers to know what kind of feedback is it — a positive one or a negative one.
You can opt for a mere two to three worded epithet or a phrase.
- A nail-biting thriller
- Slow paced yet page-turning mystery
Or a compelling statement –
- You will not see the plot twist coming.
- 300 pages filled with horror and humor, totally worth the read.
Some other examples are-
- Must read for halloween season
- A perfect book for a lazy sunday
- The next book to add in your crime novel collection
Primary Details of the Book
In this section, you will provide the basic details of the book. Mention the title and the author. Is the book a stand-alone or a part of a series? If it is a part of a series, mention if it is a sequel or prequel. Does this book have a movie adaptation? Is it purely fictional or based on a real-life story?
Answering these questions will help you form the foundation of the review and allow the readers to know a little background of the book.
Genre and Theme
We cannot sort the book into just one genre. It is an amalgamation of various genres. Once you’ve read the book, you are aware of all the components of it. While describing the genre, state only the dominant ones. Say if the entire book is a psychological thriller but a specific section of it depicts comedy, you will not mention humor as a prime part of it.
While describing the genre, it is also important to mention the theme and the setting.
- A psychological thriller set in the 1970s
- A rom-com based on a stranded island
Synopsis of the Book
Write the plot in brief so that the reader gets an overview of what the book is about. Do not go into the details. Introduce the main characters — their names and a small description.
- Renowned scientist Dr.Dre is flying with a team of junior scientists and their plane crashes. Now they are stranded on an island with no communication and no food.
Pro-tip: No spoilers, please. Keep the plot twists out if it to maintain the climax of the book
The Author’s Writing Style
You have already mentioned the author’s name in the primary details. Now you can describe their writing style. The writing style of each author is idiosyncratic. Explain how they have written and described a character or a scene. Is the language simple or complex? Do they use a lot of slang and jargon? Inculcate these points while reviewing their style.
- Rowling has once again mastered the art of creating a fictional world so real.
- Perry has incorporated a lot of Gen z slang in his story, so be ready with your newest copy of the Urban Dictionary.
You can also mention if their writing style is homologous to some other famous author.
- An avid reader of Jane Austen would love this book because of its themes and writing style.
Wrap Up Your Review
End your review by expressing your personal opinions about the book. Tell me how much you like the book and why. What parts of it did you find the most interesting — the beginning, the climax, or maybe the denouement.
- I absolutely enjoyed the first half of the book but it felt a little boring towards the end.
- The starting few chapters are slow paced, however it caught up soon. The excitement had me clutching the book so tight.
If you feel the author did an amazing job, praise them.
- I praise the author for tackling some tough issues in this book.
More Book Review Tips!
- Suggest other books with same theme
- Suggest other authors who write the related genre
- Don’t butcher the author — even if you found the book unappealing, try not to heavily criticise it. Use the subtle art of constructive criticism
- If your review contains spoilers, give them a spoiler alert.
- Proofread your review
Writing is an acquired skill and one cannot master it right away. The more you write, the better you become at it. And the more you read, the better you write. Why don’t you pick one from the listed Top 10 C.S. Lewis Books to start easy reading?
Until then, happy writing!