A Predicament while Reviewing

I sometimes get review requests through my blog and my most recent one provided a predicament for me. I’d read The Manifestation of Light (Review here) and after writing the review, I wrote to the author telling him about my decision and the rating I’d give the book. If you’ve read the review, you’ll know that it’s not a very favorable review and I informed the author that I’d rate the book at 2 Stars when I upload my review onto Goodreads and Amazon.

The book has a lot of problems and I felt that rating was justified, but that’s of course not something an author wants to hear. This sounds like the prelude to some horrible email conversation right there, but no, the author handled it professional. What I’m getting at is that he asked me to no post my review. I can fully understand that request, as such a review can hamper the sales of a book, especially a self-published one. And one thing I definitely don’t want to do is be a stone in the road of a new (or any kind of) author.

I’ve the highest respect for any writer and even more for authors that manage to finish a book and get it into a form they can proudly upload to amazon or sell in the traditional way. For my favorite authors, you could definitely call me a fanboy that shakes with excitement for every new book from them. Something I don’t want to be is a hindrance to anyone that wants to write and maybe even make a living with it. That goes against my nature.

Still, I believe in the truthfully reviewing of books and make that known to everyone requesting me to review anything. I’ll even put my fanboy-hat to the side and read every book without regards to who wrote it. I’ll weigh a book on its own merits and write a review about every good and bad part I found (because of a review’s length not always every detail). I’ll try to find good in every book, but some are just not ready to be sold yet.

While the decision wasn’t easy for me, I decided to publish the review nonetheless. Why, because I wanted to kick the author in the nuts? No, definitely not. I published it because I’m writing my reviews for you readers. I want you to find good books you didn’t know about or weren’t sure of if you should buy them. And I want you to know which books aren’t ready to be read yet. I try to find the best possible books, tell you what makes them so good, and recommend them based on this or that reason. Obviously, not every book can be a great or even good book and I think making readers aware that a book is lacking in this or that regard is only fair.

I’ve always made it obvious that I’d be truthful in my reviews and I’m a bit sorry that might come back to bite an author in the behind, but I’ve never and will never promise to just write good reviews. This might maybe come back to bite me in the ass sometime, as authors and publishers might think it too much a risk giving me their book before release with the danger of having a not-stellar review up early on. Well, I don’t get many review copies anyway, so nothing’s truly lost.

The decision might still leave me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, but I believe it was the right one. My blog is geared towards other fantasy lovers and readers and as such you’re the ones I’m catering to, not any author or publisher. I might not get much feedback here, but I get the occasional “like” through Amazon or Goodreads and that’s already a win in my book. If I helped someone shop for a book they might come to love I’ll be happy. If I helped someone avoid a book they might not have liked, that’s good too.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Red Rising by Pierce Brown is a bloodydamn great book! It’s one of my favorite books of this year, and I’ve read my fair share of outstanding books so far. There’s a quote on the cover of my book that likens the protagonist, Darrow, to both Ender and Katniss. Can’t say much about Katniss, as I know her only from the movies and I wouldn’t call her anything remotely resembling a “genius” character there. But while being older, Darrow definitely resembles Ender with his ability to think outside the box and come up with solutions to even the hardest problems. Continue reading

The Manifestation of Light by Ryan A. Shimek

The Manifestation of Light, the first book by Ryan A. Shimek, starts out interesting but doesn’t manage to carry the engaging beginning over the course of the whole story and dwindles out pretty soon. It’s a book with a lot of potential that would have needed the help of an experiences editor to really shine. The good approach is often hampered by unfinished plotting and the lackluster prose. If you want to sample the book, the first chapter can be found here. Continue reading

Guardians of the Galaxy

Finally managed to go and watch Guardians of the Galaxy. While I’d definitely wanted to watch the movies, I’d been of two minds. I like the Marvel Superhero movies, but they aren’t great. They often have their problems and are a bit too much action-heavy for me. I have nothing against action (like it quite a bit, in fact), but a good movie needs some depths too, otherwise it won’t stay long with me.

Continue reading

Malice by John Gwynne

Cover of MaliceMalice by John Gwynne is the first installment of the Faithful and the Fallen series. It’s a book that manages to be entertaining even though it suffers from mistakes in the details and holds not much new for fantasy genre veterans. While clichés and tropes aren’t inherently bad, they can hamper the enjoyment of a book and make it more easily predictable. Predictability might be another problem of the book. This book held no real surprises for me and I think I have a pretty good idea on where some of the plotlines are headed. This doesn’t mean I could not be pleasantly surprised in later installments. Continue reading

The Incorruptibles by John Hornor Jacobs

Incorruptible, TheThe Incorruptibles by John Hornor Jacobs is another of the Gollancz fantasy debut works this year. It is, in essence, a book that picked the wrong protagonist. That might be a strange thing to say, but I’ll explain that statement later in the review. Overall, the book is a solid debut that set itself apart mainly through its “wild west”-like setting, but has to fight with its fair share of flaws. If you want a sneak peak, here you can find Chapter 1 and 2. Continue reading

Barricade by Jon Wallace

BarricadeBarricade by Jon Wallace, one of the Gollancz debut releases this year, has disappointed me. To say that is probably unfair, as the book is good without being able to reach further heights. So what’s my problem? Am I just going to kick the book while its down for the heck of it? No, my problem stems from the description of the book. This had been the book from the Gollancz deal I’d looked forward to the most. Mainly because the description made my mouth water. Continue reading