How do you write a book review when you can’t see the forest for the trees? That’s a question that pops into my mind every time I do the Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy blog tour.
Some people have this gift: they can read through a book and write a paragraph about it that sums it up exactly. And when I read it, even if I’ve read the book myself a dozen times, I say to myself, ‘so that’s what the book is about.’
Maybe it’s my Asperger Syndrome (autism spectrum disorder), but I just can’t see books like that. (Perhaps having Asperger Syndrome means I’m doomed to artistic failure— you know, like aspies Herman Melville and Vincent van Gogh were.) And so I have to find another way to do reviews. Because I won’t take the easy way out and cut-and-paste the official book description from Amazon.com on this blog— that seems like cheating, and since the blog tourers visit more than one blog, Everyone Will Know. So here are some alternatives:
- Use a quote from the book. “Morgana scowled at King Gorlas’s back as he dug into the grave.” (That’s from the Prologue of Merlin’s Nightmare. You can use a more extensive quote as well. Let the author do the work for you!
- Tell something interesting about the author. For example: Robert Treskillard is descended from a Cornish blacksmith and knows how to make swords.
- If you can’t see the forest, describe a good tree— some detail that caught your attention. Example: Ganieda, Merlin’s nine-year-old half-sister. A little sister is someone that you are expected to protect. But Ganieda, also called Morgana, goes over to the dark side…
- Kvetch about something. It can be something big, or something trivial. In the description of Ganieda, it says she has an ‘affinaty’ for wolves’. At least, the Kindle version says that. Should be ‘affinity’.
- Rate the book on some scale you create. For the Christian reader that might be on the degree and correctness of the Christian content. For the secular reader, it might be whether the Christian content was intrusive to the story. You might rate the degree of violence or of ‘edgy’ content. Or the presence or absence of zombies. Whatever’s important to you.
- Give your personal reaction. Did it catch your attention so you couldn’t put it down to make dinner? After you finished, did you find the book so delightful that you immediately read it again? Try to be very specific. Avoid the words ‘nice’ or ‘interesting’. Don’t call it a ‘page-turner’. Example: I’ve only read the Kindle sample as yet, but am attracted enough to the story that I just bought the book even though I’m low-income and really shouldn’t buy books— or anything else that isn’t food, electricity or property tax.
- Compare to another similar or dissimilar book— I did that yesterday, in comparing the Merlin Spiral with Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon. (As you may know, I’m an obsessed MZB fan, though ‘Avalon’ didn’t wear well with me.)
So there are my suggestions. I hope that helps the ‘book review impaired’. Do give some suggestions of your own in a comment if you have them!
Tomorrow: an actual review of the book. Which I have to read before tomorrow morning. There go my plans to fix the pasture fence today!
Robert Treskillard’s web site: http://www.KingArthur.org.uk
There is a contest going on there. You could win Excalibur! Or a Kindle!
View/Buy the book on Amazon.com ($5.12 on Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/Merlins-Nightmare-Merlin-Spiral-Treskillard/dp/0310735092/
Touring the Blog Tour Blogs:
I visited every single blog on the blog tour list (given below) and I commented on the ones that had their blog tour posts up already. There were a lot of good posts. And a lot of posts by bloggers who could use some encouragement— perhaps from YOU. I hope that everyone reading these words will accept the challenge and go down the list, visiting all the blogs and commenting. Today I am going to be revisiting some or all of the blogs, depending on how far I get in reading Merlin’s Nightmare.
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller