How to Write Rant Reviews // aka, Being Honest & Not a Jerk

Rant reviews can be fun to both write and read. Fussing about a book, trope, or style is fun and engaging. Getting mutually mad is also kind of fun.
Rant reviews aren’t exactly about just being negative. They are about dishing out your feelings honestly, and in a constructive way. (Man, I sound like a teacher?)

Anyway, I’m guilty of binging negative reviews on Goodreads. Just because I like to know why people think the way they do. What kind of things people don’t like. And why I might disagree.

Some rants are great, hilarious and on point. Others are just terrible. I don’t exactly have the magic formula™ for writing rants, but I do have some tips.

Don’t use personal attacks

Reviews are not about the authors. No one really wants to hear what you think of the author’s haircut. Or the author’s biography. Attacking authors is just rude and useless.

You’re not here to talk about the author. You are writing a review only to chat about the book. Stick to the book.

Me, at any review attacking an author

Related to this: DON’T EVER TAG AUTHORS in negative reviews. Don’t even think about it. Authors work super duper hard to write & publish books. They get lots of critique and feedback from editors and publishing teams. Negative, ranting reviews is just not nice or helpful feedback.

Do describe what could have been better

If you don’t like a book, figure out why. Then write that into your review.

What bookworms probably look like when diagnosing a bad book. 

If the pacing was slow, mention how a faster plot would have improved the story.

Choppy dialogue? Chat about the dialogue. If the characters aren’t your cup of tea, mention what could be different about the characters.

Use specific examples. Quote the book. 

But just like all reviews, don’t spoil any major plot points. That’s just annoying. Reviews aren’t about summarizing the book. People can go on spark notes or just google the plot if they want to know more about the actual plot. And if spoilers are absolutely necessary, tag them.

Be sarcastic, but not mean. Don’t be rude. Ever.

So there’s a fine line between sarcasm and rude. Just be careful, ok?

Sarcasm is witty and funny and slightly bantery. (is bantery a word?)

I imagine myself talking to a friend when I write ranty reviews. How would I describe my feelings with my friend? I’m not going to be rude with my friends. I’ll be sarcastic and honest, but not mean-spirited. And to help out with this, I talk through my reviews as I write them.

So, yes I sound like the official crazy person because I literally am talking at my computer.  Out loud. Please, don’t ask any questions, thank you very much. *sigh, cueing Jaimie Lannister voice * The things we do for blogging

Book blog reviews are all about your personal feelings about books. Make your sarcasm personally yours. You have your own sense of humor. Show it off! 

Look for positive things

Try to find something you did like. Use a microscope. Or read positive reviews of the book. Or reread sections you enjoyed. Work hard to find good things. 

You really want to end on a semi-positive note. Encourage people to read it for themselves. Don’t assume everyone is going to agree with you. Be ok with people liking, even loving, a book you hated.

And it’s totally ok, to really like a certain part of the book. You can actually love a certain character, or scene, or writing style, and just not enjoy the entire book.
For example, I really get annoyed with Throne of Glass. To the point where I *might* write a ranty review about the series. But…I absolutely love Chaol. So, I think, I can really love the character and his development and burn the rest of the series to the ground. Right? 

Working hard to find good things in bad books. 

Find the Perfect Gifs

Gifs are your friends. Even if I can’t figure out how to pronounce the word. g-i-f or j-i-f???

If you’re trying to be sarcastic, throw in some gifs. It always works. There’s not a whole lot more tp say about gifs? Except, use them. 

Be open about your expectations 

Sometimes you get a book thinking it fits into one set of genre or writing style. Then while reading it, you’re just super disappointed. Because it’s not at all what you excepted. 

This just happened to me with Blood, Water, Paint. I’d been hearing about this book for months. And was anticipating reading it, because it was historical and about an amazing woman. Then I opened the book. And it was poetry.

Poetry is great. In small doses. I could not read an entire book of poetry. At least, not right now in my life.

Crushed expectations also happens a lot with NA content popping into YA books. And I think I’m open about my feelings? If I don’t expect NA content and it shows up, I will talk about this. Probably roast the book for it. And lower my ratings.

If you are heavily disappointed, list out what you were expecting. Maybe if other people aren’t expecting the same thing from the book, they might enjoy it.

 

Rant Reviews Are Ok. They Happen. Make them Great. 

I can’t imagine being a bookworm and not ever ranting about anything. Maybe this is just because I rant about a lot of things, at least in my head, and sometimes on the blog. I also read lots of rants!

Basically, rants happen because we’re passionate about what we love. We love books. So we’ll rave and rant.

Just be sure you also rave. Don’t be negative and ranting all the time. Being positive is incredible, too. Be an honest, kind reviewer. That’s what the world is looking for. At least, I think so.

So be brave! Review books! Occasionally rant and always be honest.

lets chat

Do you enjoy writing rant reviews? Have you written many rant reviews?

What are your favorite kind of reviews to write? Or read?

How do you pronounce ‘GIF’? 

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9 Comments

  1. June 2, 2018 / 6:27 pm

    Ohh this is a great post, Elizabeth! 🙂

    I used to write more rant reviews in the past, because I accepted a lot of ARCs, but now that I’m more careful and picky about what I read, the number of rants necessitated by books has lessened considerably. And it really depends on the reviewer, to be honest, some just write amazing reviews, no matter how much they like or dislike a book.

  2. June 2, 2018 / 8:48 pm

    This was fantastic! I’ve written one or two rant reviews in my time, bu I completely agree – it should be a criticism of the book and not an attack on the author. Also, I think it’s better to be sarcastic than offensive because what if you’re talking about someone’s favourite book?
    I think it’s okay to talk about why you don’t like a book, but not okay to cause offense.

  3. June 3, 2018 / 9:37 pm

    Fabulous tips! I have written a few rant reviews and have always tried my hardest to find things that are positive with the book. It’s not always easy, but someone may like that one aspect and love the book because of it. Don’t want someone missing out on a book they may like.

  4. June 4, 2018 / 7:57 am

    Thanks for this post. I always feel bad when I have to write a bad review. Unless the book was really awful, then I love going for it. Anyway, these tips are really helpful.
    (Also, I think the technical way to pronounce it is g-i-f.)

  5. June 5, 2018 / 4:25 pm

    Great post! I don’t know how many of these have to be written before some people understand that it is just not cool to be disrespectful and rude!

  6. June 9, 2018 / 10:09 am

    I haven’t written any rant reviews because recently I haven’t read anything that I disliked enough to warrant one. But this is such a great post and I love your tips. I think it’s super important to still be thoughtful when writing rant reviews and to back up your opinions with WHY you felt the way you did and include what could’ve been changed/what you would have liked to see instead.

Drop some knowledge!

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