I don't put a lot of stock into reviews. After all, they are just people's opinions. The people writing them may have better qualifications to judge than others, or they may not. Some may have insightful comments on why things work or why they don't, some just spout nonsense.
I don't follow
reviews. I've loved many things-movies, books, and more-that have
received poor reviews. Bad reviews of things I like tend to anger me
as well. But, like a train wreck, I sometimes have to read. Then I get angrier. I know when I see a 1 star rating for a book I love on Amazon I should ignore it if I want to stay in a good mood. But I will often read it and cringe. Especially when the reviewer is an idiot. Yes, lots of idiots post reviews, especially on Amazon (although there are plenty of idiots in the professional reviewer world too). What makes a review idiotic? Not just that the person doesn't agree with me (although that can
be a good indication of idiocy...still) but when there is nothing constructive or meaningful. "I didn't like the characters." Not idiotic, but not good either; why didn't you like the characters? Idiotic would be "I didn't like the characters because there (sic) too old." (Or even worse: "there 2 old." [sic]) Another idiotic reviewer pans the book because he doesn't like the genre. If you don't like the genre don't review it if you can't be open minded! Same goes for the idiot who gave a bad review to a paranormal mystery because it had too much magic in it. Huh. While cover art can be misleading, it's a safe bet that if there's a broomstick on the cover and the cover blurb talks about witchcraft-there just might be some magic involved. Don't read it if you don't like magic, and certainly don't review it. However, the worst reviews are the ones that give books bad ratings due to issues totally unrelated to the book itself. One star reviews due to slow shipping or being unable to purchase the Kindle edition (true story) are truly ridiculous. Leave a bad review about the supplier, not the book. Ugh!
That being said, reviews are important. Not only can they inspire people to buy books with which they're unfamiliar, publishers use them to contract more books. Reviews can keep our favorite authors writing. Good reviews also give authors a boost. When I was performing I loved being mentioned positively in a review. In fact, a great way to support authors is to write positive reviews.
I haven't written any mystery reviews here. The thought is a little daunting, to be honest. Actually the first thing that comes to mind is a song from the musical You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown. I can hear the singing, "A book report on Peter Rabbit, Peter Rabbit!" I'm still not sure how I'll start, but I know I'll give two ratings-one for the book itself and the other for the series as a whole. However, there must be at least 3 books in the series in order to qualify for the second rating. It's possible that the series rating may be greater than any of the books-after all, sometimes the whole is greater than its parts! I will also state that 5 star ratings will be uncommon. To me a 5 star book is an amazing read that swept me away and left me changed. A 4 star review is a great book that I really loved. 3 stars is still a solid good read, positive and enjoyable. Reviews will cease to be that positive at the 2 star rating-an OK book with serious flaws. And a 1 star-don't bother. Odds are I won't post any 1 or 2 star reviews here. I value the work of authors too much and, after all, the review is only my opinion. I'm actually still debating if I'll use a rating system at all-you'll just have to stay tuned to find out!