How to Write a Book Review!

Book ReviewNow while developing my craft as a book reviewer I decided to take what I’ve learned and share with anyone else who have/will want to review books. Book reviews evaluate written works, offering brief description of the key points and will focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the work.  Before writing the review, begin taking notes about the points you want to get across.  For a more in depth and focused review, it is cool to re-read the book a second time just in case certain things were missed (but not a requirement).  Learning how to write strong reviews takes time and not a little effort.   Honestly, brutal honesty is the only way I give my reviews and I highly recommend that others do the same.  It definitely makes reviews a lot more personal while keeping it interesting. Note: this is a guide and does state sections of books that probably should be considered when reviewing it.


Introduction

The introduction should include the title of the book as well as the author.  Was it first-person narration or third-person narration? Give the review a brief summary of the book.

  • What is the book’s title?
  • Is it a part of a series?
  • Who is the author? Other works?  Writing style?
  • What is the book’s genre or sub-genre (romance, thriller, dark fantasy, etc.).
  • What type of book is it (fiction or nonfiction, poetry)?

Book Review

Plot/Story

Give a brief plot summary without giving away any key details. What is the story about? Readers want to know enough about what happens in a book to know whether they’ll find it interesting.  Does the plot make sense? Is the story line logical? Is it original? How complex is it? Is the story predictable or full of surprises? Is the story exciting or is it dull? What themes or motifs stand out? Is there a sub-plot and how is it related to the main plot? Is the plot primary or secondary to some of the other essential elements of the story? Other questions to be considered are:

  • Does the story unravel gradually or is it quickly revealing? Obvious or hard to follow?
  • Is the story exciting or is it dull?
  • Is the central conflict familiar ot unusual?
  • How good is the pacing?
  • How are the various elements of plot handled?
  • Did the story grip you and keep you turning the pages?
  • What other devices of plot complication and resolution are employed?
  • What is the setting and era of the book and what is the central conflict?
  • What is the outcome of the conflict?

Book Review

Characters

Characters are just as important as story.  Who are the main characters and are they credible? What are their motivations, goals, values, skills, strengths and weaknesses?   Does the writer make you believe in them as people? Why or why not? As you write about the characters, use examples of things they’ve said or done to give a sense of their personalities.  Also, include the character development arcs as well as any stereotypes.  Other questions to be considered are:

  • Could you relate/empathize to any of the characters in the story? Do you feel sympathy, envy, or superiority towards them and why?
  • Are the characters flat or three dimensional?
  • What did the main characters do in the story?
  • Do they represent a type of person or cladd of people?
  • How well do the characters develop or change?
  • Who are your favorite character(s)? Why?
  • How does the author portray them and why?
  • Is character delineation direct or indirect?
  • Do they fit into society or are they outcasts?

Book Review

Setting

The setting has to be so vivid that readers should be able to see it in their mind.  What is the setting and does it play a significant role in the work? And does it drive or influence the plot of the book? Does the author make you feel like you’re a part of the setting?

  • Can you picture the book’s setting if you close your eyes?
  • How does it compare or contrast to the world you know?
  • Is a sense of atmosphere evoked, and how?
  • What scenic effects are used and how important and effective are they?

Book Review

Writing

This area focuses on the author’s writing style.  This is a great way of establishing another relationship with the author.  Writing is artistic; both through the author’s presentation and through the reader’s interpretation.  Were certain types of scenes written particularly well (romantic scenes, sad scenes, scary scenes, etc.)?

  • How effective is dialogue?
  • What themes are touched upon (courage, violence, isolation, ambition, culture, death, happiness, etc.)?
  • Is the writing simplistic or complex?
  • Does it contain humor, wit, satire?
  • Does the information trustworthy or unbelievable?
  • Does the writing have rhythm?
  • Does the writing style utilize symbolism?

Smile Vs Frown

Likes/Dislikes and Commentary

What was your favorite part of the book?  Why?  What was your least favorite part of the book? Why?  If you could change something, what would it be?  What do you like or dislike about the book’s writing style?


Question Marks - Conclusion

Conclusion

Your conclusion should summarize, perhaps include a final assessment. What type of person would like this book?  Would you recommend this book to another person? Would you read more by this author? Why or why not?


Thanks for checking out this post.  For any ideas or comments on how to write book reviews,  leave them in the comment section below.

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