Sunday, April 29, 2012

Discussion: Reading Reviews Before the Book

Recently I've been thinking about how blogger reviews affect my experience with reading. Generally I tried not to read reviews until I had already book in order to have the purest experience. I didn't want to have other people's impressions in my mind. But lately I have been peeking at reviews...with mixed results.

For example, there was Grave Mercy, a book whose hype overwhelmed it for me. I read so many rave reviews and while I did love the book, it couldn't quite live up to all the praise I saw heaped upon it. Would my experience have been different if I had read the book before the reviews? I think so because I would have found everything more surprising.

However I found it helpful in the case of Various Positions. I read several disappointed reviews and expected to find myself similarly unhappy. But I ended up actually kind of liking it because I was prepared for what the story was actually about instead of what I wanted the story to be about based on the cover.

Another kind of experience came with The Immortal Rules, which I was not initially very excited about because I don't like vampire stories. But I liked that this seemed to be darker with the MC grappling with her new nature in addition to not being a paranormal romance. I gave it a shot and found it very good, having been prepped by the many, many bloggers who had already read and reviewed it.

In general though I will continue trying to avoid reviews before the book especially if I know I will be reading the book soon. I can just bookmark the page and return at a later date (which may be why you sometimes get a comment on a very old post :) once I've had a time to digest the book and feel up to leaving a thoughtful comment.

What about you? Do you read reviews before the book itself? How has it affected your reading experience?


  1. I feel the exact same way about reading reviews before I read a book! I like to think that my opinions are always my own, but a lot of the time, how much I enjoy it depends on what I think of the book before I even open the first page! My least favourite is when there's so much hype around a book that you expect something mind-blowing, only to have it disappoint you -- that's the worst! But I actually like it when you go into a book not expecting much only to end up loving it completely. I did that recently with a book called Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross. A whole bunch of my blogging friends thought it was terrible, but it ended up being my favourite book of the entire year so far! x)

    (Oh, and I just realized that I forgot to rate Grave Mercy on Goodreads! Whoops, I've got to do that soon LOL! It was only around a 3.5 for me too -- a lot because of how hard it was to get into haha!)

    This is such a great discussion topic, B! I usually browse reviews like crazy before I buy or request a book because there are so many out there that I can't just read all of them (it also saves my wallet beforehand LOL), but it's a really smart idea to read reviews AFTER you read a book so you don't go into a book with misguided bias. I think I'll have to try that sometime soon! :)

    I hope you're having a great Sunday, B! <3 Haha and you can just ignore the length of this comment -- I had to get all of that out! x)

  2. I feel the same way! I've stopped reading reviews of books I know I want to read before I read the book. But sometimes a bad review of a book will make me more likely to read something I wouldn't have read before. Great post!

  3. I usually read reviews of books before reading them because I want to know a little of what to expect. The cover blurb doesn't always accurately convey the story. I do skim reviews sometimes and if I know I'm going to be writing a review soon, I won't read blogger-written reviews of the book till I've written my own review.

    I always try to look for professional reviews in VOYA, Booklist, etc. since it is part of my job to purchase YA books for my library. I honestly get more excited about books that receive high praise in those publications rather than on blogs (unless it is from bloggers whose opinions I trust like yourself and a few others). Even books with starred reviews have disappointed me or not lived up to my expectations though.

    I guess I usually prefer to read reviews before I decide to read a book or buy it but I keep in mind that my opinion and the reviewer's opinion may not be the same. Just like Roger Ebert's movie reviews...


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