Reviewing and Impartiality

What do I mean by impartiality?

not partial or biased, fair, just


Book reviewing is not impartial

I have been reflecting a great deal recently on the world of books and blogging. My conclusion is this, that book reviewing is not impartial. It is incredibly biased. I suppose it is all about sales and promotion. I can see all of that. My recent experiences seem to back, that this impacts on the reviewer. I have recently left social media completely. I have switched off Facebook and Twitter. I have come to the conclusion that by gaining close contact with authors and publishers, there is an assumption that I will read books favourably. I do not want to play that game. No one is entitled to get a good review from me, unless they deserve it.

Of course, we are always going to have some level of partiality in our criticism and enjoyment of books. I love noir and have a passion for a really dark read. I know that my sister, for example, does not share this love of dark crime. Her tastes are different to mine.

I judge every book on its merits. I am fair. If someone presents a book to me, as a psychological thriller, that is how I assess a book on reading. I know what a good book looks like. I see it all of the time. The majority of the books I have read this year have been given four or five stars. I think this proves that I am able to pick books that suit my tastes. I know when a publisher is pulling the wool over my eyes. Please do not bother to try and fool me and say a book is one thing, when clearly it is not. I will call you up on it.

I do not want to be that close to a publisher, publicist or author, that I am attacked when I do not provide a positive review. I do want to shower anyone with praise because of a close friendship. Nobody owns me. I recently have been abused and this has to stop. I got the old ‘you must realise that some books do not fall into neat categories treatment’. Right! My assessment of that book stands. I want to state categorially that I do not care what you or anyone else thinks. Once a book is published, the reader has the right to decide the labelling of a book and what they think of the contents. No one should be made to feel bad over a book review. No one should be abused openly because of a review. I refuse to be party to indirect insults either. I can see why some people leave the world of blogging. I am not leaving. I am sticking around.

I am going to continue posting my reviews on Goodreads, Amazon and on my blog.


About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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29 Responses to Reviewing and Impartiality

  1. It is a shame you have been openly berated for not supplying a positive review! It is easy to fall in with publishers and authors so I respect your choice to keep them at an arms length 😆

  2. I thought something was up with Twitter earlier when I went to share your previous post Christine. I’m sorry to see this happening to you. I admire your stance and hopefully we’ll see you back on SM some time in the future. In the meantime I will continue to follow your blog and read all your fab reviews/posts here. Xx

  3. marypicken says:

    I,too, had a problem sharing your last post, but I never dreamt this would be the reason. I understand what you mean – and I certainly cannot condone any abuse you have received. But take a break and think it over, because I agree with you and I know many others who will too. There is, I admit, a temptation to be favourable when you get to know a publicist or publisher on social media, but I hope this would never make me give a good review to a book I dislike. I do, I know, sometimes soften my blows, but I think that’s because it helps me to be constructive when I am critical. But we each have our own way of doing things and not all of us will enjoy the same books.
    All of which is a very long winded way of saying – please don’t take it to heart and come back soon x

  4. I mean that’s your opinion of a book and it’s really lame of someone to criticise you because of your opinions.. I mean seriously..

  5. So sorry to hear this Christine! I will miss you on Social media so hope you come back eventually. Your series this Summer of the top bloggers Crime reads was inspired and got so much attention and praise. I hope your okay xx

  6. Sue Featherstone says:

    Good for you.

  7. I will miss you in the Twitterverse but completely understand your reaction! Although not so publicly attacked I have been unfollowed by some authors/ publicists, or received snotty emails. Like you say, as you blog more and more you know the books you like to read, and appreciate a good story told well. You should not be lambasted for expressing an opinion on what you see as a weakness in the writing etc. Needless to,say, many of us will,still get pleasure from reading your blog, and your thorough and thoughtful reviews 🙂

  8. Hope you are taking care of yourself…if that means no social media then so be it. You really won’t miss much.

    A few years back I got really seriously email stalked by an author whose book I had mildly dissed – a book I bought with my own money and about which I basically said “not for me because of x, y and z”. Nothing personal about the author and I even said “others may enjoy it for exactly the reasons I didn’t”. But still he persisted. I know this same person did something similar to other bloggers. In the end I took my review of his book off my blog just to shut him up. It just seemed like such a huge waste of energy to have this constant barrage of emails landing in my mailbox over what was a shitty book. You gotta do what you gotta do – this is supposed to be a hobby/fun thing after all.

  9. janetemson says:

    Christine, I’m sorry you’ve been put in the position that you feel you have to leave social media. I will try my best to interact through here. I do know a little of what has gone on and it has surprised me. The whole point of reading is that it is subjective, what one may loath, another will love for the same reason. We all find it difficult to review books we aren’t as keen on, and most of us have done so, honestly. We certainly shouldn’t be expected to temper our thoughts to please others.

    I do hope you decide to return to social media but if you don’t I understand.

    Take care.

    • Christine says:

      Thanks Janet. I appreciate your support.I don’t see myself returning to social media for quite some time. It all has turned so ugly. I don’t want anything to do with it.

  10. Steph says:

    This is such a shame, I find that I agree with you. Hope to stay in contact through the blogs xx

  11. raven avery says:

    Well done for standing your ground, I always think as long as you can justify your criticisms and aren’t throwing abuse at the author just because then you should review a book however you wish. Publishers that expect only good reviews are obviously living in a dream world 🙂

  12. Jen Lucas says:

    Wow. Really sorry you’ve been put in such an awful position but totally get and respect your decision. Social Media can be both a blessing and a curse and more and more lately it seems to fall into the latter. The wonder of reviews is that they are merely opinions and opinions should always be personal and without influence. If you write or publish a book there is almost an expectation of criticism and as long as it’s both constructive and polite that should be okay. We can’t all like all books, no matter what our relationship (mostly cyber) with author or publisher or how much we have enjoyed previous books. Some stories just don’t work for you. Any person worth their salt knows that. Take care of yourself and I will still be blog stalking you 😉

  13. It’s a real shame that this happens to anyone but good for you! Agree with you 100% 🙂

  14. MarinaSofia says:

    I’ve been away so I didn’t see this at the time, but I’m really sorry to hear that it’s been going on. Of course book reviews are personal and of course we all have our preferences and can’t be expected to like all books. You are absolutely right and you shouldn’t be berated for being honest. I don’t think this has ever happened to me directly and openly, although perhaps I was dropped off a publisher’s mailing list or muted/blocked by a writer because of a less than enthusiastic review. And I don’t even give nasty, sarcastic reviews to show off my cleverness (I know you don’t either), so there is no justification for this.

  15. Pingback: Thanks for your support | #northern #crime

  16. Oh my goodness Christine, this is horrid. I had no idea this was happening to you & for it to be so awful for you to feel you need to leave all social media is so saddening. I’m glad you will still be writing your reviews, they’ve ended up inspiring some impulse buys of late (especially after the fab summer read feature – which I loved!).
    Take csre Christine xx

  17. lollyrugs says:

    WOW this is such a sad post to read I’m so sorry you got berated for writing an honest review, this seems to be happening a lot lately. I think as a blogger you have to be honest in your reviews or what’s the point?

  18. brmaycock says:

    Sorry to hear this and hope to see you on social media again in the future and glad your great blog will continue. It’s terrible people can’t take an honest review and just use it for good (i.e. to help their/their author’s next book or to see who they should market their books at/ how they should market). Take care and again, thanks for a great series over the summer, I got a great list out of it!!!:)

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