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Goodreads Reviews- When to Listen to Them


“This book was 600+ pages of slog to get through. I understand how people would consider the sequel to be an improvement since the main character shows more agency and certain tropes are reversed, but the development was very on-the-nose and came at the expense of turning other characters into cartoonish villains…the book is just a very boring fantasy story. If I could give this book zero stars, I would.” That is a Goodreads review for A Court of Mist and Fury, one of the best books I’ve ever read. I think every word in the book is brilliant, and consider myself lucky that I am alive at the same time as Sarah J. Maas, who has sold over nine million copies of her books in the ACOTAR series and is doing just fine whether people like her books or not.

I read that review prior to reading ACOMAF in January and immediately turned to my best friend, who had begged me to read the series, and said “Ummmm…people really don’t seem to like this one…” But she told me to ignore the reviews and read it anyway, so I did, and I’m so infinitely glad, because ACOMAF has taught me so much about how to make your readers go “OH MY GOD!!!” And it has made me rethink the way I write my own novel; how can I sow tiny kernels of information into a flowing book to make readers go crazy with excitement when it all comes together at the end? I consider Chapter 54 of ACOMAF to be the most brilliant thing I’ve ever read in my life. There is a quote in that chapter that I will get as a tattoo one day, but more on that later.

If I’ve learned one thing in all my years as a reader, it is this: Never listen to Goodreads reviews. Most people who leave reviews on books on Goodreads either loved the book so much that their reviews are bubbly and pointless, or people who hated the book so much that they wanted to burn it and the author with it. I have found myself offended on behalf of the author of many a book thanks to a scathing Goodreads review. I dread the day my book gets its first negative review. I bruise like a peach when it comes to my writing and will internalize that negativity no matter how many good reviews my story gets. But I’m going to write another post about how to develop a thick skin when it comes to critique, so we’ll talk about that in that post.

Now, don’t get me wrong - I think Goodreads is an awesome site. I can keep every book on my TBR pile in one convenient place whether I physically own the book already or not. I also have found it really valuable when readers leave reviews indicating whether or not the book requires a trigger warning, since places like Amazon don’t necessarily extend the same kindness. Goodreads provides plot synopses and a platform for authors to interact with their readers, as well as readers with each other. I’ve made several really good friends thanks to the site.

HOWEVER.

I try not to read too many Goodreads reviews beyond seeing what the book is about, potential trigger warnings, etc. Instead, I let the book speak for itself. Sometimes, if I’m not sure I’ll like a book, I’ll download the Kindle Preview and read the first twenty or so pages to determine if the book will be worth my time. If so, into the Amazon cart, Kindle Library, or tote bag that I take to the bookstore it goes! I intend to offer the same respect to authors who have poured their blood, sweat, and tears into their novels that I hope folks will afford me because I know just how hard authors love their books.

Are you on Goodreads? Add me as a friend!

Xoxox- Emmabird







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