Thursday, December 11, 2008

Reviewer Vs. Reviewer

Larry, at OF Blog of the Fallen, takes Pat, of Pat's Fantasy Hotlist, to task for what really was a flabby and thoughtless review.

It's really, really hard to review a book in a genre or style you don't usually read or understand. It's even more so when you're dismissive of that entire genre. On the other hand, everyone has an off day -- I'm sure I've perpetrated things nearly as bad as that.


Larry said...

I agree about the "bad day" part - I've had a few clunkers as well - but that review was more of a "last straw" with me, as I had become irritated with the recent tendency to use "YA" as a dismissive term.

Aidan Moher said...

I'm curious why you think it's difficult to review a book in a genre or style you're unfamilliar with. Can an effective review not be a simple reaction and analysis on the readers enjoyment of a novel (independant of all other novels), rather than an indepth analysis of the novel comparing and contrasting it on a level such as Larry does at OF Blog?

I've got a lot of issues with Pat's review, and I think Larry hit them all on the head, but I don't think Pat's unfamiliarity with the genre/sub-genre should give him any sort of a free pass when writing a poorly constructed review. Especially in a semi-professional environment.

I'm unfamilliar with paranormal romance, and so I certainly wouldn't be able to write a conclusive review of Succubus in the City and its merits in the genre, but I certainly feel confident that I could read the novel, reflect on it, and write a well reasoned response to my experience with the novel.

A Dribble of Ink

Gwenda said...

I cringe as I head over there. Or maybe I'll wait until tomorrow.


Andrew Wheeler said...

Larry and Aidan: I may, perhaps, have been trying to give Pat the benefit of the doubt rather than jumping on him with both boots for pontificating at length about something he kept saying he didn't understand and had little knowledge of.

(I've been trying to be a kinder, gentler Hornswoggler lately.)

And Larry's post did tear into Pat as well or better than I could have.

Lsrry said...

I just find myself wishing that I didn't feel compelled to rip that to shreds, in part because I like to give the benefit of the doubt as well, but damn it was just too much crap to read then...

Anonymous said...

I like Pat's site for the interviews and updates on a certain type of fantasy novel. Howerver, I find his reviews almost useless. I can't believe that there's a difference between at 6.5 and a 6.75, and his commentary frequently doesn't match the score. I feel a bit bad criticizing him, since I think some of the errors come from English not being his first language (how many times can I read "beyond the shadow of the doubt" in a review?), but at the same time, given that he's a critic, he can't be immune from criticism himself.

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