Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Everyone's a Critic

Some reviews are in for On Falcon's Wings from Goodreads and I wanted to share them. I don't put much stock in reviews as a whole; strange that I should enjoy doing book reviews so much at the HNR blog, but I never claimed to be a very logical person. I believe that each reader's experience is different because our expectations vary, as the following will illustrate:

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars: I won this book from Goodreads First Reads. It was an interesting story. The only problem I had was the difficulty with the names and trying to keep all of the characters clear in my mind. But, overall, a good book.

Rating: 2 of 5 Stars: I hate to do this to a giveaway book, but the writing is just not up to par. It needs more polishing - better characterization (I shouldn't be wondering how old the main characters are after 30 pages - they are called "boy" and "girl" by other characters, but already kissed and are married off very shortly after - how old are they? 10? 13? 17? I have no clue); less info-dumping of everyone's back stories with lengthy unpronounceable names and languages they speak in and who they are related to; less emphasis on describing everyone's outfits and instead on creating of the atmosphere of a certain time and place in history; less recounting and repeating of the same events from various POVs.

The book might interest some fans of historical bodice-rippers - the love story is dominant here, but as a work of historical fiction this novel is weak.

On the other hand, the cover is gorgeous and pretty much the only reason I am giving this book 2-star rating instead of 1-star.

Rating: 5 of 5 stars: I thought this was a great book. I didn't want to put it down. Had just enough sorrow and loss but also happiness to make you want to finish it and see what does happen between Edric and Avicia. A great non-stop read for teens.I definitely recommend it.

Of course, I naturally zeroed in on the 2 out of 5 star rating and my WTF radar started blaring. But, then I decided to act like a grown woman of nearly thirty-five years, instead of a five year old child, and congratulated myself on having joined the ranks of other authors, who find some people like their work and others don't. I've thanked the reader for the effort and the comment. The book was clearly not up that person's standards. I understand that sentiment; I've read books that have nothing but five star reviews, but the writing leaves me feeling as though I wasted my time. Who's right, me or the five-star reviewers? We all are; it's all up to individual taste and perspective. So who am I to say that particular reviewer for my book is wrong?

For those of us who put so much into our work and offer it up for review, keep in mind that you can't and won't please everyone. Keep on writing.


Michelle Gregory said...

good reminder. seems we can get plenty of good reviews but the one bad review is the one that sticks with us. i had someone give me a blow by blow "here's where i think it could have been better" review in person when i didn't even ask for it. i should have just walked away, but i didn't. (would have been difficult since i was staying overnight at her house!). it took me a few days before i was ready to call myself a writer again. can you tell it still gets under my skin just a little?

Lisa Yarde said...

Michelle, that's crazy. You're a better person than I am - I wouldn't have stood still very long for someone getting in my face like that. My mother often says it's not what you say, but how you say it, so I suppose if the comments were delivered in a non-demeaning way, it was OK. I'm getting to know you're a tough cookie, lady, so I'm sure you took it in stride.

Anita Davison said...

I admire you for printing the two star review when my instinct would have been to pretend - 'Review, what review? Saying that, I didn't recognise 'On Falcon's Wings' from it either, so as you say, we all take different things from what we read. You can't please all the people all of the time.

Lisa Yarde said...

Anita on review #2, I must say at first I was taken aback because it didn't feel like a review of my story either. I couldn't understand not knowing who the main characters were and their ages (or indeed, why that was so important). She just didn't like it, no further explanation required.

History and Women said...

I applaud you for reprinting those harsh reviews. I've learned that all of us authors get them.

As a fan of your work, I completely disagreed with them. I always enjoy reading your novels. They are beautifully written and full of intriguing characters with a lot of passion.

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