Rethinking Reviews

The Scarlet Pimpernel meets the Old West.

I just finished The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson. I really liked it. Waxillium Ladrian (now there’s a name) is a rare twinborn capable of pushing metal with his allomancy and using Feruchemy to become heavier and lighter. He has been out in the Roughs for the last twenty years cleaning up the wild lands as a lawman, but family tragedy has brought him back to the metropolis of Elendel to take over a the family business that has a high social standing, but has been drained of finances.

He has to become a proper gent and find a wealthy woman to marry in order to save the business. The time is three hundred years after the original Mistborn series, (which I heartily recommend you also read). Society is on the verge of modernity with railroad, electric lighting, and the first steel skyscrapers. (so Steampunk fans will like it) Wax is sneered at as uncouth and is told that he has to learn to conform to society proper. But society proper can be much more dangerous and deadlier than the Roughs, and Wax is joined by a delightful sidekick to straighten everything out when it it all goes wrong.

My favorite part of the book wasn’t all the gun shooting, metal jumping action, although that was fun, but the banter between Wayne and Wax. Wayne is a delightful younger character that is a master of disguise with a light fingered approach to an object anywhere within his grasp. He is glib and acts almost like  younger brother. Of course Wax is supposed to become all proper and get married and the woman chosen for his future fiancé is awful, but her younger cousin…now she’s an interesting girl who gets dragged along on several of the miscreants forays.

This has been touted as a stand alone book, but I sure smelled a sequel in the making. Either way, I really enjoyed it and hope there is a sequel.

Which bring me to the question of “How important is a review?”

I looked up the stats on The Alloy of Law at Amazon and this is what I found: one star-6, two stars-24, three stars-14, four stars-42 and five stars-61. So the majority liked the book almost as much as I did. Yes, it’s a fun, light read. It won’t change your world and you will be able to sleep at night. Still I ponder those who gave it a one or two. How could they not like it?

I have been thinking of reviews and I have come to the conclusion that books are as subjective as any art creation, whether it’s visual art, music, dance or words. I know, stop the presses–shocking revelation. But I needed to know that I can’t write a book that will be 100% loved by 100% of the readers 100% of the time. No one can.

How readers react to a book is determined by the time of day, the mood of the reader, the taste of the reader and the book itself. This makes saying something negative about a book very difficult for me.

So what I want to do is just tell you what books in science fiction and fantasy I really liked and why…and then let you decide what you might like to read. I don’t want to say “this is a terrible book” because you just might like that kind of book. And you might not like what I love, love, love.

I have found, however, that the better books do rise up like cream eventually and if I really like it, most likely others will too.

Do you buy books based on reviews? Or do you just select one because it has been recommended to you and you don’t bother to read reviews? How important are reviews in actually selling a book, or did you already decide what to read once you got to the page where the reviews are? Just curious.

p.s. If you’ve never read the Scarlet Pimpernel…well it’s a classic and really good, but not scifi. Think Robinhood in the days of swashbuckle.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.