Monday, 11 October 2010


Happy Monday, everyone! Only three days to go until Friday, so cheer up.

I had quite a long post already written for today, but...I'm torn on whether to post it. It's a review of an ARC, which you wouldn't think was a big deal in any way, but unfortunately, I didn't enjoy the book and had a lot of problems with it. There seems to be a general consensus in the YA community that authors shouldn't really talk about books they didn't like, only ones they do. And since this book is not out for a good while and every other review I've seen for it has been overwhelmingly positive, I feel like I'd be making myself really conspicuous if I go ahead and tell the world about my opinion on this novel.

How do you guys feel about this? Do you hate it when authors post negative reviews and criticise other people's work, or are you sick of writers who only ever give five star reviews? Let me know in the comments.

On another topic altogether, I'm appealing for any blog readers who are Japanese but do not live in Japan to get in touch via comments or my email ESPECIALLY if your family lives abroad too. I can't really say too much, but hopefully I'm going to be working on an epic new project next year, and I intend my main character to be Japanese but living in the UK with her family. I'm wanting to double-check whether family honourifics are commonly used when living abroad, and if Japanese holidays and festivals, like Obon, are commonly celebrated while abroad. I really hope someone can help me out!


Isabel said...

Aww, Zoe, don't feel guilty about disliking a book just because everyone else seems to love it. Everyone has different opinions, and there usually isn't really a right or wrong answer. For example, if you walk up to someone and ask them their opinion of, say, the Twilight series, they are probably either going to say it was OMG like the best book they ever read in their life, like totally, and express their view on the whole Edward/Jacob thing, or snort and say that they couldn't believe that anyone could enjoy such crap, and that they absolutely detested it. I, personally, was never a Twilight fan, but it is good to try not to judge people on their personal opinions. : )
Please don't feel discouraged about posting this book review. I, personally, would love to read it, even though I obviously have never read this ARC. I like reading book reviews in general. And how do you know there aren't more people out there who have read it and feel the same way as you, but are also torn on whether to express their opinions?
Really, don't talk about books you don't like? Well, pish posh, in my opinion.
And, really, I don't mind what kind of review an author has posted, just as long as they give their honest opinion. Well, that doesn't always go for my absolute favorites, but still.

Oh, and good luck with the 'epic new project'. Sounds exciting. =D

Zoë Marriott said...

Thanks, Isabel. Let's see if we get anymore takers on either side of the debate...

Saya said...

I think negative reviews are tricky, particularly if you are in touch with the author. You have to find a way to balance honest criticism with tact, which I admit I find problematic at times, because when I dislike a thing, I dislike it vehemently, and one time I did offend an author who was kind enough to supply me with a review copy, because although there were parts I thought were brilliant, there were other parts that just really, really annoyed me.

I like to read balanced and honest reviews - part of the reason I tire of all the YA book blogs is that they are simply inane fangirling, and aren't actually informative with respect to a) whether I would enjoy it, or b) whether it is actually good quality writing. When I look up books, I read both positive and negative reviews because it helps me to judge.

I also think writers need to be prepared that not everyone will love their book, and some people will think it's utter rubbish - it's all part of the package. From a writing point of view, I would value good criticism because that, hopefully, is part of how I can become a better writer. When you hand in essays at school or uni, you want feedback, right? And that shouldn't be cast as either negative or positive, but simply constructive. If your review is considered and balanced, I see no reason why you shouldn't be as much entitled to air your opinion as the fangirls. : )

Wow, can you see I'm procrastinating?

Zoë Marriott said...

Looks like we're both procrastinating.

I think I know what to do: when I've finished this WIP I'm going to have a celebration week, in which I plan to do read loads of books - including some more ARCs - watch loads of DVDs and films and listen to a bunch of new music.

Consequently, there will be a deluge of reviews on the blog. I'll post the review for this ARC then, among the other reviews, so that it doesn't look like I'm singling this author out. If anyone takes issue with it, hopefully they will be able to see, by the quality of the other reviews, that I'm not just being mean for the sake of it. But at the end of the day this blog is for me, and my readers, and I do need to be honest, otherwise I'll be in danger of becoming one of those sycophantic authors who just gushes and flatters and never posts a true word.

Saya said...

'zackly. You show 'em how it's done, Zo.

Isabel said...

Very well spoken Saya! : )

Thank you, Zoe! I'm glad you'll be posting this review after all. Enjoy reading all those books; I'm looking forward to reading about them!!!!!

Zoë Marriott said...

Look for it - hopefully - some time next week. That's if I can finish my own book *this* week. (Bites nails).

I'm sad that no Japanese readers have come forward. I thought I had at least one. I'm going to have to repeat my appeal, obviously...

Saya said...

Thanks Isabel!

My sister learns Japanese - she might know someone, should I ask her? Also, I have several friends who are Chinese, which is obviously not the same thing, but if it helps, I could ask them if they know anyone?

Aaaalso I just asked my other sister and she used to have a friend at her old school who fit your description exactly, so she's going to try get in touch with her.

Zoë Marriott said...

Hurray! Thanks, Saya. That would really help. Obviously I know people are all individuals, but when I'm writing about other cultures I do my best to be accurate and respectful, so I'd like to check my ideas if I can.

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