How to write a Book Review?

For people who love reading, discussing a book can be both an enriching and exhilarating process. But many a time it can be difficult to find fellow book lovers. Hence joining a community where we can discuss books can help feed that appetite of a true book lover. Nowadays there are many such communities like for eg the book clubs, including online ones in social media channels via Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. This is where book reviews come in as most of the members review a book and present it to their community. This informs the fellow members about what to expect in a book while at the same time stimulate various discussions about the finer as well as the weaker points of the book.

Book reviews also help to make your social media channels more substantial as more book lovers gravitate towards your channels to know about the books they are reading or look forward to reading. It also establishes relationships with publishers as most of them seek reviews for their authors. There are also other other benefits like they help build careers when their book-related channels on YouTube and Instagram are monetized as their list of subscribers continues to grow every day. Then again it also helps enhance your writing skills. It promotes reading comprehension and critical thinking as you will be reading the book with the intention of analyzing the argument of the book and then go about to explain it with clarity and structure.

Let’s see what things we must keep in mind when we write a book review

Firstly,  you have to mention what is the genre of the book – whether the book is fantasy, paranormal, sci-fi or a mystery thriller so that the readers know what kind of book to expect. You can inform the readers if the book has conformed to that genre or it has deviated from it through the course of the story.

Secondly, you must list the title and the author name. You can mention a little about the author and maybe even explore the title of the story whether it explains the subject matter or not.

Thirdly, summarise the story briefly by talking about the characters, the conflict and the goal of the story. The conflict will include the kind of settings or conditions the characters are subjected to and consequently the obstacles they are facing while the goal will focus on how they are trying to resolve or overcome their problems.

Fourthly, mention the point of view in which the book has been written. Is it first person, second person or is it third person point of view? Has the first person point of view managed to expose the whole plot as well as the supporting characters in a coherent way? Has the third person multiple point of view messed up the story or instead has it helped to make the story even more intriguing?

Fifthly, you must mention the settings of the story, meaning the period and location when the story took place. This also includes the weather conditions or the social setting and that entails the mannerisms, customs or the lifestyle of the people where the story takes place. Settings are important as the personalities of the characters are often affected by the general mood that the story evokes which maybe cheerful, family-like, isolated or depressing.

Sixthly, you must mention the theme of the book which is the central message of the story or the underlying meaning. Maybe it talks about the battle of good over evil or a political rivalry between different ideologies or simply about nuances of human nature. You can also mention the metaphor, simile or symbolism used to emphasize the theme of the story.

Seventhly, you can talk about the pacing of the story whether it is action oriented or slow placed. Did the tension build up as per the action scenes of the story? Was there a right balance between the tension scenes and the rest scenes where the characters would strategize on their next course of action? Readers can decide to buy the book as per the pacing of the book depending on their own preferences.

Eighthly we need to analyze the character development in the story. Does the story have round characters meaning fully developed ones which learn, grow or deteriorate as per the changes in the story or are they simply flat one-dimensional characters? Whether the characters are static or dynamic can be determined by how much they are affected by the events in the story. You can give a feel of the characters by telling your readers how convincing and lifelike they felt or how much they resembled more real people.

Ninthly, you can mention the quality of writing whether it is coherent, concise and original. Is it too wordy and overemphasized or succinct and to the point? Did it have its own unique voice? You can tell your readers whether you found the writing forceful enough or whether it could convey the message in the way it wanted to. Then also you can mention the development of ideas in the story, whether they were developed in a structured way or was it all over the place. To be more precise did an idea start with something then leave you abruptly hanging while jumping right into another or was there a natural cause and resolution of ideas.

Lastly, you can talk about the fluidity of writing whether one scene flowed smoothly into another or was there a natural sequence in the way every scene unfolded.

Once you have analyzed and evaluated the book, you have to mention your own reaction to it. Was it entertaining, mysterious, eerie or memorable? Did you like it or why did you rate it the way you did? Did the book raise issues or awareness? Talk about the author’s perspective on the issue and whether you agree or not agree to it. Could the book convey what it wanted to or were there pieces that were overemphasized and not necessary? Is the argument relatable to other books in that genre and in what way? Are there possibilities the book could have been better or the plot could be made more tension paced? Keeping these points in mind you can say if the book appealed to you and if there is a scope for more books of this kind. You can mention how the book had an impact on your life or whether it influenced your opinions. You can end the review by mentioning the final feeling the book evoked in you and whether the issues were relatable to everyday life.

On a final note, remember to be kind to the author. You are here to critique the book, not the author. You are reviewing a book which has been written as per the author’s imagination or perspective and not as per what you would like the book to be. In a review, you are free and encouraged to expose the shortcomings of a book but not criticize it for being something that it never intended to be in the first place. In this manner, you can provide a well-balanced review with logically backed up explanations for every agreement or disagreement that you mentioned. At the same time, the audience too gets a realistic information about the value of the book.


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