This is post number two in my discussion on what to include in a book review. Last time, I talked about the metadata for a review. This time, I’m going to talk about the body of the review:
Body of Review
Most reviewers like to start out with some general thoughts. These initial thoughts might include a quick comment on an author’s previous book, if there was one. They might include feelings the reviewer had while reading the book. They might include a quick comment on the main character.
The review itself generally, though not always starts in the second paragraph. There are many, many possible formats for a review, including just several linked paragraphs, titled sections, a quick statement of opinion on the awesomeness of the book. Many people liked to address the plot, the characters, any special subject matter, and occasionally themes. Rarely do actual reviewers comment on the quality of the prose, except to say it was incredible. With Amazon or GoodReads reviews, the reviewer might comment on anything. Finally, especially with special-interest reviewers, the reviewer might comment on particularly bad handling of certain subject matter, such as race, gender, or cultural depiction.
I differentiate between the conclusion and final thoughts, though they are often mixed together. I define the conclusion as a summing up of the major points of the body of the review. Was it a good story, well-written, clearly addressed themes.
The final thoughts generally include whether the reviewer would read this author again, are they glad they bought the book, and what they think the general audience of the book is.
Next time, I’ll discuss the miscellaneous post-review scraps.