I am always concerned about how much of a book's story to reveal. My general policy of describing only the beginning of the story, that is, what is revealed in about the first 50 pages, sometimes means that I have a difficult time in writing a review.
In particular, some authors who are writing a multi-plot book, begin the second or third strand only as late as after page 100. Sometimes I decide not to even mention that plot twist.
I actually like to write my own "blurb" in the first couple of paragraphs of my review. I think this will give the reader a different "take" on the book, see it through my eyes as it were. However when I consider what my blurb reveals about the plot, and what the official one reveals, there is no doubt that sometimes the blurb on the back of a book gives far more of the plot away.
I like also to try to tell the reader what I liked, or didn't like about the book. This will, to an extent, explain my rating of the book.
I try to adhere very strongly to the "no spoilers" principle. I believe that my own reading of the book was a voyage of discovery, and part of what I enjoyed about the book was that feeling of discovery. So I am careful not to take that enjoyment away from another reader.
I think you can see book reviews from two points of view:
- there are those that try to persuade the reader to read the book.
- there are those that the reader will come to after reading the book, and compare their experience, what they liked and disliked with those of the reviewer.
I know some readers who will not read a review of a book until after reading it, because they don't want their reading experience spoiled.
There are probably those who will criticise the sort of reviews that I write as lacking depth. If you come to my book reviews to find out about how the story ended, who killed who at the end, then you will be disappointed. I may tell you about some of the themes the author chose to explore, and I will usually try to tell you more about the author.
What are your really strong principles in reviewing a book?