My Musings

Book Reviews: Inane ramblings of a deranged mind asking how long should they be and what length is to short? Or, does size matter? :)


Well, as long as the review is shorter than the title of this post, it’s all good – start with an attempt to make people smile! ๐Ÿ™‚

A while ago I reviewed an epic fantasy book called The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu, I absolutely loved the book and would even go as far as to say it’s one of my favourite books of the year and a must-read for fantasy fans out there. Quite surprising really as I didn’t even finish the first book in the series – The Wall of Storms is the second! But I digress and have ventured off on a tangent, apologies dear readers, I’m getting old and well, when you get old your memory starts to go!

Anyhow, I digress, even though I loved the book I was really struggling to write my review, I sat there on more than one occasion staring at my laptop and willing the words to come but alas, they wouldn’t and I might as well have been sat there with drool running down my mouth locked in a padded cell for all the constructiveness I managed to achieve.

If you’re wondering I did finally manage to write my review, it ended up clocking in at 1900 words, a behemoth of a review that in the end came to me at 4am in the morning before I started work!

The opposite of that is a book I reviewed last week that I really disliked, yet I managed to write a near 1700 review in an hour – it would have been less but I end up getting sidetracked and procrastinating!

For those interested the two reviews canbe found below:

Am I the only one who finds writing reviews for books I like far harder than writing them for books I didn’t like?

After I’d written my review and after I’d read the reviews on Goodreads (there was only a couple at the time), I was searching Google for other reviews to see what other people thought of the book and I came across one review that really got my attention and NOT in a good way either!

The review in question caught my attention as it was 158 words in length! Shocking right!?! The actual review was very poor and merely stated that the blogger didn’t like the book. The review was dated and posted about 3 weeks before the books release and while it didn’t say it was an ARC the early review makes me think it was – but that’s just purely conjecture on my part and if it was then the reviewer should hang their head in shame.

I really think that it’s irrelevant as to whether the person liked the book or not as a review of that short length is just shameful. For those of you who say, but they didn’t like the book, well, the reviewer could have elaborated on the reasons why the book wasn’t for them. “I don’t like it” isn’t a valid point for a grown-up just like “I liked it” if they enjoyed the book isn’t without them explaining the reasons why they actually disliked or liked the book.

Now, a five-year old child who decides to take a dump/drop a deuce in their pants instead of using the toilet could get away with saying to their parent “I don’t like it” when referring to the toilet but even they might say “I don’t like the toilet because the monster might get me”. Likewise they might say “I liked it, when I did it in my pants it felt all squishy and soft” but at least they’d be giving you a reason why unlike the review I read.

Yes, there’s a reason I used the above references, as that 158 word review reminded me of a steaming pile of, well you can guess! – No it wasn’t just the length but the content to.

And so no-one takes offence to the above, here’s a picture of The Simpsons as everyone likes The Simpsons! ๐Ÿ™‚


And, it got me to thinking, and this is one of the main points of my rambled incoherent babbling. What is the ideal review length? But I’ll get to that in a while, first I’d like to ask you all:

Would you write a 150 word review or do you think that it’s far to short and is in fact disgraceful?

Onto review length. We all have different review styles and lengths, some short, some longer, some in essay format, some split into sections and some also that use gifs.

Since I started blogging the reviews I write tend to vary in length from around 800 to 1900 words and I don’t have a predetermined length in mind when I start writing. I just write what feels and comes naturally until I have the review I want, be it 800 words or double that. Do you have a fixed length for your reviews? Or are you like me and just keep writing until you have the review you want irrelevant of what the length ends up being?

I’m not a fan of the very short reviews, no offence to anyone who writes them (as I mentioned earlier, we all review differently) but I just personally feel that between 300 – 350 words is to short for a book review, for a novella or short story then it’s a perfectly fine length but in my opinion, for an actual review of a book it’s not long enough to get everything in that you need for a decent well-rounded review.

I think anywhere between 500 – 2000 words seems to be the standard variable length for reviews. And, I like reading reviews, no matter the length or style or even if it’s a book I’ll never read but for me reading a well thought out and well written review is enjoyable.

I do think reviewing is sometimes like authors writing a book. Books vary in length and so do reviews and while one author could write and tell a story in 400 pages it could well take a different author 800 pages to write the exact same story. That’s the same with us bloggers, it could take one blogger 500 words to get all they want in a review and another blogger may take double that for exactly the same review!

To conclude and also to answer that age-old question that has plagued both men and women since the dawn of time, does size or in this case, review length matter?


And the answer, on a whole is no, it doesn’t. Obviously something like an 150 word review explaining nothing and giving no reasoning behind the opinion on the book is far to short to be helpful to anyone. But, as long as you as the blogger writing your own review can say that, yes, you have written everything that you wanted to include and that you are pleased with the review, then content (might be another post in the future, we shall see) rather than length is more important and be it 500 words or 2000 then the length of a review doesn’t actually matter.

So, does size matter to you? Do you prefer to read short reviews? Long reviews? Or is length irrelevant when reading a review? And, what dear bloggers is your ideal review length when writing your own reviews?

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112 thoughts on “Book Reviews: Inane ramblings of a deranged mind asking how long should they be and what length is to short? Or, does size matter? :)

  1. Great post, Drew! And you have a point there. If you get give the information you want in 500 words, that’s just as fine as when it takes you close to 2000. I don’t really care how long a review is, but I think it needs structure, and there has to be a point that is supported by arguments (so yes, content).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you.๐Ÿ˜€ Yes, some people just ramble on – like myself and others could use half of the word count or less than I’d use to make the same point, I actually enjoy reading all length of reviews but content is really important to.๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t like short reviews just because they don’t give a point across, but I do understand a short review if you don’t know your feelings about the book (which has happened to me before). But just to bluntly say that you don’t like something without any sort of explanation is unacceptable especially if your a ‘professional’ book reviewer. I don’t structure my reviews like other people might (by the events that happen in the book, prologue, rising action, climax, etc.) I instead write a short review that sums up what I thought of the book, and then I say how I feel about the world development, character development, and then plot. I do find it more difficult to write a review about a book I loved, which is probably because I tend to rant about the flaws in a book, which gives me inspiration to write the review, whereas if I love a book I find it hard to say anything about the book aside from “This book was a great read and I loved the way the author wrote blah blah blah and the development in the world blah blah blah…”. Although I don’t like short reviews, I usually find myself backing away from reviews that are just long paragraphs and where I have to scroll down for ages until it’s over. Sometimes people don’t split up their review into respected paragraphs so it’s like reading a non-edited fanfiction on Wattpad (a nightmare to somebody who freaks out over the miss-use of their/they’re/there). Love the way you made an entire discussion post on this topic!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh my, someone who freaks out over the miss-use of their, they’re and there – that sums up me and my shocking grammar!๐Ÿ˜‚

      I’ve only had to write two or three actual rant reviews and was really surprised how easy it was to write the review compared with reviews for books I liked..

      Totally agree about your “development in the world blah blah blah” comments, that’s me with fantasy books I like!

      Thank you.๐Ÿ˜€ I think I ended up with a discussion as the short review I read annoyed me so much that I needed to constructively vent.๐Ÿ˜‚

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I even get annoyed at myself whenever I miss-use the they’re/their/there words. It’s rare because I have a little 1-2 minute debate in my head over what usage the sentence calls for. I haven’t written many rant reviews, but the ones I have written would’ve gone on forever if I didn’t cut it off at some point. A fantasy book is not a good fantasy without good world building.


  3. I’m with you – I really don’t think it’s acceptable to announce ‘I don’t like it’. But I have also read very long reviews (yours are not included in this btw) where frankly I’ve lost the will to live halfway through. The purpose of a review should be to inform the reader whether the book was enjoyable and the reason why it is, or isn’t, as clearly as possible. So I’m not a fan of the very academic, obtuse review, either.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Ah, thanks but you didn’t have to include the (yours not included in this btw) as I wouldn’t have taken offence if you did include my reviews as I know myself that I have a tendency to babble on.๐Ÿ˜‚

      I’m not a massive fan of the academic style review either.

      I don’t mind reading “I don’t like it” in reviews as we can’t all like the same books and we all have to respect that even when it’s a book we like but it needs to be backed up with the why didn’t you like it, if you didn’t like it then I want to know why, likewise I want to know the reasons why you liked the book to.

      Unfortunately the review that started my rant, let’s call it a discussion as it sounds better was so bad, hence why I ended up writing this post.๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hehe, I feel like I am missing out on something or haven’t reviewed to my best potential if it is less that 500 words (I know it makes no logical sense, but that’s how I end up feeling)

    I guess my reviews average around 650 words.. so anything around 1200+ words are my longer reviews. My long reviews end up reading like a lot of repetitive rambling sometimes, so I have a hard time trying to sort and edit everything. If I can’t decide what to do, I just split them into more paragraphs :p . Recently, I just highlighted some text in bold face, because I didn’t know what else to do to make it more readable.

    I don’t have any word count preferences when it comes to reading others’ reviews though..

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Lol I think lots of mine are repetitive rambling to.๐Ÿ˜‚

      Ah, splitting into more paragraphs, a quality idea and way to make reading more manageable.๐Ÿ˜€

      It does make logical sense about reviewing to your best potential, I like fantasy and I ramble but I’d attempt at least 100 words for world building, 100 for characters, 100 for story and 100 for the writing and my thoughts of the book and that’s 400 and I ramble so it confuses me when people write 300 words or less!๐Ÿ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t really think about length when writing mine, but I’ve seen some reviews that I feel are too long or short. Mine are short, I think, but I want to be concise ๐Ÿ˜€ And if I didn’t like a book, it’s easy to find bad things to say haha

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh it’s always easy to find bad things to say/rant!๐Ÿ˜‚

      Your reviews maybe concise, but that works well for you and from your reviews I’ve read you can tell you put effort into writing them and explain things, etc.๐Ÿ˜€ Some of the really short reviews I’ve read are just too short and don’t really contain anything that explains why the reviewer did or didn’t like the book.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a very interesting post! I try to write my reviews somewhere between 500-750 words but sometimes they can go longer. I find I have the most difficulty writing reviews for books I give a 3 star to because while I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it and often it’s hard to put the reasons into words.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I try not to worry too much about the word count as long as what I’m saying is relevant (at least to myself) but I always know if a review I’ve written is too short for my liking and I try to go more in depth.
    I think it just depends on the person, I don’t mind a short review as long as the points it makes are clear and reasonable; if it’s just I didn’t like it then I don’t really count it as a review personally. However in saying that I also have read reviews where I’ve given up half way through because they are long but uninteresting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, you definitely have a point about the points being clear and reasonable, it’s short reviews that simply state “I really liked the book” or “I didn’t like the book” that get to me as I want to know why they liked or didn’t like it.๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t think the length of a book review matters too much but I do want to find out a rough idea of what the book is about and reasons why someone did or didn’t like it. I don’t actually know how long my own book reviews are but I do find that the longer or more detailed the book, the longer my review can be. I DO find it harder (a bit) to write a review for a book I really loved. I think I am always ready to state what was wrong with a book, what could have been better, I often dedicate a paragraph to saying what was wrong with a book so when I can’t write that paragraph because the book was really great, I struggle to write such a long review.
    I think long reviews that are very boring or which tell spoilers annoy me however I do like to read the longer reviews as I can find out whether I’d enjoy the book or not and a really short review just won’t tell me that.
    Interesting use of the…er…toilet story! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ lol
    What irritates me about a book review is when somebody leaves an almost generic ‘I liked/didn’t like it’ sort of review. It DOES annoy me more when such people have clearly been offered a free copy of the book and leave a review of little value. It also annoys me when people list a rant review but again not the reason why, or worse I’ve seen a couple of reviews where somebody analysed the content and started going into some political discussion (in their review) over why the viewpoint of a character was wrong…it was historical fiction I think and I can’t remember now which book but it was just fiction and the guy went crazy over analysing.
    Anyway, there’s a way-too-big response to your post :p ! A great an interesting post. I like when you create discussion :).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you.๐Ÿ˜€ And, your comment is longer than some reviews I’ve seen!๐Ÿ˜‚

      I think for me, I ramble on and so my reviews always tend to be quite long and I admit I’m not a fan of short reviews, I find writing a review hard and lack belief in my writing ability, give me dark and meaningful poetry to post and I’m good but a book review, I always question it and I started seeing so many short reviews 300 – 400 words in length and quite a lot were for books in series and the reviewer hadn’t read the other books so the first 100+ words were stating that they didn’t know what was going on, etc and it just annoyed me but I have seen lots of short reviews to now that are well wrote and explain why the person did/didn’t like the book, etc and I realised that not all short reviews are bad. The one that made me write this though was so bad, 158 word review for a 850 page book was terrible!๐Ÿ˜ข

      Ha, thanks, the toilet is a bit of humour and no offence is meant with it, I try to add my own take on what I write and inject some humour – saying that I have a fantasy trope post planned which is constant humour.๐Ÿ˜‚

      Thanks to, discussion is only something I occasionally dabble in as I find it hard to think of discussion posts!๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Don’t put down your writing or feel unsure. Whenever you write you do it well, whether it’s a discussion, rant, review or poetry you write really well :). Don’t doubt yourself. :D! I confess I don’t know how to write a short reviews either even for simple items on amazon lol ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Love that you brought this up! It is a touchy area for me. A lot of it has to do with how well the review is written and the opinion of the reviewer for me. This is how my brain works:

    If the reviewer can actually write well (such as yourself) I love a substantially long review.

    Other times, we hit the 1000 word mark and I am just trying not to give up (of course maybe I should unfollow?) Some just don’t have the ability to dive that far into a review and keep it “well articulated”. They derail after a certain point.

    If a reviewer simply, utterly disliked a title and is trying to follow through with their commitment while avoiding a full bashing of the author’s hard work, I can understand keeping it light at times. Although 150 words seems extra light?!

    I have also seen a few clever blogs that have a gimmick where they post a review in a set number of words or only gifs and when done right, actually works pretty well.

    So while, I am 95% in favor of longer reviews, I do have a small amount of appreciation for shorter ones depending on the approach ๐Ÿ™‚

    *Also I write mini-reviews for short stories, those do not count haha ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Excellent post Drew!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you.๐Ÿ˜€

      Ha, thanks but I definitely wouldn’t say I can write well!๐Ÿค”

      150 words well 158 is a shocking amount, especially for a 850 page book! “I didn’t like it but I don’t like that, if you liked that then you’ll like this” – that was the review gist and it doesn’t help anyone.๐Ÿ˜ข

      Yeah, the number of words and gifs do work well.๐Ÿ˜€

      Your mini-reviews are longer than some “real” reviews though!๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmm, what’s this backing out thing about? :’) Does it involve a cat? Guys, I can only say so much while being on parole here, as Drew so aptly called it earlier :’)

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Sometimes I feel my reviews can be a bit too long. I can relate when it comes to writing reviews for books that I loved to the point of rendering me speechless smh, I find it especially hard for those. I’m weary of book reviews in general, I’ll read reviews from trusted bloggers for books that I am interested in because they’ll offer some insight w/out spoiling anything. I’d say I like my reviews not too long & not too small lol, somewhere in the middle. I’m still getting the hang of writing reviews & it takes me FOREVER to hit publish. I’m currently dreading writing a review for a book I just finished & loved to pieces because I know it will take me 3 times as long smh. I enjoy reading reviews from bloggers who write well (won’t go too into detail lol) otherwise I quickly lose interest & click off. The writing will keep me even if the review is lengthy ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Does this happen to be about The Graveyard Book? Because I keep pushing back my giveaway date because I want to post the review first, but I have no clue where to start :’)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No, I’m about 82% into The Graveyard Book…I’m procrastinating on my Heartless review cuz I loved it to pieces LOL. As for Graveyard, I haven’t a clue yet either. Usually I never do when I love a book, til I’m sitting at my desk. I go from saying I have no words to writing a novel ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I was at 95% for 3 days :’). Kewl!! I expect it to be in the next Owlcrate shipping, so I can read it too then! โค Lmao, I know what that's like! :') :')

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Do you have it in conversations as well btw? I go from being a silent Sally to having verbal diarrhea in no time as soon as I get ‘inspired’ :’).

        Liked by 1 person

  11. A great post, so funny (I’m not going to take it personal either saying that older people have de facto a bad memory.. Not!)! Personally I like reading short reviews better than long ones. Sometimes the long ones can’t keep my attention and I start skimming. It’s just me though, even in everyday life I want people to get to the point sooner. I don’t really think about my own reviews, when I’ve said my piece I stop and sometimes it’s longer or shorter. I’ve had reviews flowing right out of me, usually about amazing books, but also reviews that were hard to pen down even though they were great books. It’s also really not that evident to write about a psychological thriller with amazing twists and plotlines and not being able to talk about what is so great about it at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Interesting post I am still new to anyone actually reading my reviews, But I have never really thought about length. For me I don’t like to tell the plot if that is what someone wanted they could read the blurb.(that being said I like to read long reviews, just not write them.) I usually just give a basic setup and tell about the prose and type of PoV. Then I will kind of talk about my feelings ……wow that sounds bad coming out of my face, but I am not being sarcastic. Even though according to my soon to be Ex-wife that I was married to for over 20 years I have no feelings. Oh and I add in some humor …well I try to anyway.
    But I totally get what your saying about books you don’t like being so much easier to write. My longest was a 3rd book in a trilogy that I loved the first 2 and that one sucked I wrote a essay on every little inconsistency and typo and everything else. .

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I guess it depends on how I’m feeling really. A recent book review took me ages to write and I rewrote it about 4 times and was still unhappy. I just couldn’t make myself coherent and in the end I thought I’d leave it to another day. The thing for me is I find I like to review the book almost immediately, if I leave it for a week or two I just lose my momentum completely and forget half of the things that I wanted to say.
    On average I’d say my reviews span from 700 – 1500 words but I don’t have a set in stone figure in mind – I just go with the flow.
    I do quite enjoy reading some of the mini reviews that just set out to give you a flavour of the book.
    And, I do like to justify my reasonings – I don’t simply say ‘I love it’ – I tell people why and hopefully try and do the same for the reverse.
    Lynn ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  14. A wonderful post, as always! I have SO much more trouble writing for books I love than books I dislike. (Example: I’m still sitting on a review for a YA General Fiction that I read a week or two ago.) I don’t count words when I’m writing my review… but I tend to prefer reading the ones that are about the length you write them. That way I know all vital information is there along with some saucy opinions ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  15. “The actual review was very poor and merely stated that the blogger didnโ€™t like the book”

    Who died and made you the review god?

    I am really glad you posted this. That attitude is EXACTLY why I left Goodreads back in ’13. Good day sir…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Who says reviewers can’t review reviews? If you pour your heart and soul into a review, while another blogger just can’t be arsed to come up with more than three sentences, heck, who wouldn’t get frustrated over that? Anywho, this is a discussion post, so everyone their own opinion right.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. “Well, as long as the review is shorter than the title of this post, itโ€™s all good.” Wouldn’t that be the other way around? :’) Love the steaming pile reference (duh)! So I’m having a hard time with seeing the extremely short reviews. I will send you the link of a blog where every review is even shorter and less explained than the one you’re talking about here. You know I don’t care about the ARC privileges in general, but when I see something like that, I tend to grind my teeth as well. I frantically try to keep my reviews < 1000 words. But sometimes the Goodreads blurb is really long, or I've got more to say about stuff, and it becomes 1200. 1200 is my max though because I feel like I'm just starting to repeat myself again and again afterwards :D. There's no limit for me when it comes to reader other's people's reviews. As long as it's structured and infused with a bit of personality. Academic reviews are dreadfully boring imho.
    I guess the real answer to "Does size matter to you?" is what the answer always should be to it: as long as it's not too big or too small and/or knows what the hell it's doing, it's all good! XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, the title of the post is my attempt at failed humour as the title of the post is mega long! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I think ARC prvileges are irrelevant as such but the idea of an ARC is to review it and if someone just writes they didn’t like it or they likes it then either way it’s not a helpful review as we need to know why they liked/disliked the book not just that they did.

      Ha, no academic reviews here that would imply academy and education and alas that’s not gonna happen here! ๐Ÿ™‚

      LOL why am I not surprised you had to put something like “knows what the hell it’s doing” – quality! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Ha, thanks, the steaming pile reference was another attempt at humour – not sure how well it came across but oh well, I shall try again with my next post like this which I have sarcasmed the hell out of! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Yes, I know that ya silly! ๐Ÿ˜€ I was referring towards your dislike for really short reviews. But I didn’t think it through because I’m confused myself now *strokes chin*. Deep. Shit.

    Exactly! You saw the link I sent you, it’s those kinds of reviews that really piss me off because a lot of thought goes into mine and then someone just takes a few words from the blurb, slaps 5 stars onto it and calls it a day >.<

    Hehehe, you're obviously asking for it with a post title like this :').

    I like steaming pile references! I think it's the only synonym for poo that I haven't used yet myself :') :').

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, the title is abit of a mouthful! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Those reviews were really bad, I can’t believe they were for actual arc’s from publishers to! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

      Steaming pile is probably a bit to polite for you, you’d jut go steaming in and say it! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m late to the party as always… ๐Ÿ™‚
    I agree with some of the commenters above… if it’s concise and the points are brought across i don’t care how short or long it is… I wouldn’t even mind a one-liner but in THAT CASE it would have to be a seriously well thought out and well written one-liner ๐Ÿ™‚

    I try to keep mine as short as possible, even though it doesn’t always work out that way. And I try to keep mine shortER simply because I don’t always like reading extremely long-winded reviews either…

    But I don’t know… I have good days, I have bad days with the reviews… It certainly is easier and more fun to write a review for a book I didn’t really like that much… Sometimes I seriously struggle trying to put a review into something that makes sense at all-at all and that’s bloody frustrating… I think I overanalyze things sometimes and have to remind myself to go back to ‘basics’- I sometimes ask myself when reviewing- OK, if I had to explain and recommend this book to a friend, what would I say? And that’s usually my starting point…

    Great discusson as always! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh god.. no, that’s impossible.. but I know Donna is a Queen of One-Liners ๐Ÿ™‚ She has surprised me a few times how aptly she manages to just nail it… it sure is a difficult thing though, to write shortly…


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  19. Wonderful discussion post, darling! ๐Ÿ™‚ You know about my dislike of short reviews. I feel like it’s not only cheating the author out of a fair review but also the people who are reading it. I don’t have a lot of free time anymore and I definitely don’t want to spend it reading a short review about nothing other than I like or didn’t like this book. That’s not enough of an explanation for me. What really irks me is when I see a 200 word review for an ARC. And it’s always a book that’s 400 plus pages. That really gets me. Sometimes reviews can be too long. If they’re just rambling on about nonsense, then I think I would appreciate a shorter review. I’ve read some mini reviews from bloggers who write them well, but they’re a lot harder to find than a medium length review that’s well written.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I totally agree. My own reviews are often around 1000 word range, and I know that’s actually too long for some people who are, I guess, trying to get through a lot of blogs quickly or just prefer reading shorter content online. But I think you’re right that about 500 words is probably the edge around which the review starts to be long enough it’s saying something I would actually find helpful.

    I have seen some very, very short reviews and don’t read those blogs. Yes, it’s a preference thing, but a review that short, as you point out, is mainly going to be a quick statement of the blogger’s feelings (“This book was great! Read it!”) without much elaboration to help any other readers decide whether they would agree. I need reviewers to offer me evidence and details. And, not to name names, but I have run across one or two people who post a 100 word review every day, or more than once a day. Short, vague reviews and unusually fast “reading?” My first assumption is that those people are not actually reading the reviews they say they are–which is why they have nothing concrete to say about the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As an added note, I teach a writing course, and some of the shorter homework assignments ask the students to write a response to articles they read in about 200-250 words. Many of the students instinctively go over this to about 400 words because they feel they can’t say anything in 200 words. And, honestly, when I do come across a response that really is 200 words, I often first think “Wow, this seems short, and the student didn’t really say anything.” If 200 words is too short to respond to a short article, it’s probably too short to respond thoughtfully to an entire book. (The word count for the homework is suggested by the department, and homework is mainly graded on completion. It’s basically to ensure students have done the reading and processed it, if you’re wondering why I’d stick with a word count that doesn’t seem to accomplish much.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you got it when you wrote ‘thoughtfully’ to an entire book with the 200 word reviews (no offence to the bloggers who write them is meant) but there just doesn’t seem much thought goes into writing them and whether ARC’s or bought books I’d think people would try and write the best review they can not the quickest.


    2. Thanks.

      I know review length can be a touchy subject as we all review differently in both length and style, which is why I tried to go down the slightly humorous route with the post so no one took offence.

      I’m one of these weird people who like reading reviews even when the review is for a book that doesn’t appeal to me but, I need something to keep me reading and you just don’t get that with some very short reviews. I like to know why the reviewer liked the characters or world building, etc, not just that they did and/or why they had issues with the book.

      The review I read that made me write the post was very short, 158 words and the book was 850 pages in length! I know that a books length is irrelevant to the actual review length but for something that long I’d have expected more words! It was shorter than the books synopsis! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Another blogger actually sent me a link via DM on Twitter after the post and it was to a blog full of less than 100 word reviews all for ARC’s and posted near daily!

      You definitely have a valid point about short and vague reviews going along with quick reading though!


      1. I’ve written some mini reviews myself, and I think it is possible to say something quick and interesting in a short review, but it’s a skill. I also think you can only really make one major point in 100-200 words, so I often wouldn’t consider it a “full” review so much as a comment on one aspect of the book.

        My experiences in academia–both as a student and a teacher–have made me so suspicious of lack of specificity. I’ve been in hour long discussions where I watched other students make a dozen comments and yet never mention a single event that actually occurred in the novel being discussed. As a teacher, I receive responses that muse generally on the assigned topic (say, friendship) and never mention once the assigned reading (say, an article about friendship in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight). It’s so clear these people didn’t do the reading. It’s impossible to talk at length about a book/article and not ACCIDENTALLY mention something specific it said.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I didn’t mean that every short review is poor, apologies if it came across that way as it wasn’t my intention.

        I’ve seen quite a few mini reviews that are well written and thought out. I guess on some blogs though that they class their post as ‘mini reviews’ and because of the label you expect a shorter, more to the point review whereas others are just labelled reviews and sometimes the actual review is very short.

        You can definitely say something interesting in a short review and as you say it’s a skill, some of us, myself included are just destined to babble on. But just like you can say something interesting in a short review there’s also long length reviews out there that also tell you nothing about the book and the reasons behind why the person did/didn’t like it.


      3. Oh, no! I didn’t think you were saying that! I actually thought MY comment sounded like I was insulting all short reviews, so I wanted to clarify. :p

        But, yes, now that you mention it, I have also read long reviews that don’t really say much in the end. Sometimes being concise is good!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. No, your comment didn’t come across as though you were insulting all short reviews, I thought mine did, hence the apology as I didn’t want to offend anyone who writes them and I know I occasionally have a tendency to not always word things correctly.๐Ÿ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

  21. I think that kind of review is way too short. I tend to write 300-600 words, depending on how much I actually have to say. I also find it important to say that the author didn’t fail but rather, I didn’t like it. But I would never say ‘don’t buy that book it’s awful ‘.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Great post! I don’t have a set length for my reviews or for reviews that I read. I just start typing and see what happens!
    I generally will not read a super-lengthy review on a book I haven’t read yet. It just seems that the longer the review, the more likely something will be spoiled for me. But while I might not read everything in the review, I do appreciate the time it takes to write something so long! I’m far more likely to read that long post if it’s on a book that I’ve already read.
    I sometimes will write “mini reviews” when I don’t have much to say about a book. There are books that I absolutely loved and I was not able to write more than a short blurb about the book. Same thing with some books I disliked! It just depends. When I do mini-reviews I do try to post around 3 of them at a time, so the whole post is a bit longer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. You definitely have a point about long reviews and the possibility of them having spoilers sneaked in unexpectedly somewhere though I guess that depends if the blogger/reviewer includes them in their reviews but then again, I always think if they do then they should tell you that there’s spoilers at the top! – Yeah, I’m not a massive spoiler fan if you can tell as I once had a book spoiled for me when a review went into detail about the ending.๐Ÿ˜‚

      That’s true to, it’s certainly sometimes hard to know what to write and if you don’t have much to say then it’s best to keep the actual review short.

      Grouped mini reviews is a good idea.๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  23. There’s a very popular blogger AND blog that has reviews that are barely even 150 words, and they sound just like you were saying. But they get all the ARCs. It makes no sense because the review has no substance: just, I didn’t like this but I liked that, and then a rating out of 10. It’s appalling, really.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I’ve seen that blog, it’s not the one I saw that review on but another blogger sent a link after reading this post to a blog full of 150 word reviews that were all for ARC’s, ARC’s from big publishers to!

      It’s OK saying you didn’t like this or you liked that in reviews, it’s what most of us do, our personal opinion on the book we’ve read but it’s nice to know the reason why the blogger liked and disliked certain things about the book, not just that they did.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, good! I thought it might have been who you are talking about, but yes, she gets a ton of books from the big publishers, and I don’t get it! There’s nothing of substance being said AT ALL. Great, you don’t like so-and-so, who we don’t know bc WE HAVEN’T READ THE FREAKIN BOOK YET! What good does that information do ME??
        And then an arbitrary rating out of ten. No explanation…just 6 out of 10. Does that mean it’s good? Do you recommend it? Oh, I’m so glad you wrote this post because I have seen these reviews and they drive me INSANE.
        You don’t have to write a novel to be helpful. Share your personal feelings on the characters if you want, but tell us MORE. We need more from a book review…I never take her reviews seriously and instead just shake my head and skip them. I like your reviews: detail and description. And some semblance of “reviewness” to them.
        You’re writing a book review, not a grade school book report.
        Great, now I’m ranting again. Sorry, I tend to do that. Just really irks me.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No, it wasn’t who I was talking about, I’m not to sure what blog I found the review that set me of writing this post on, only that it was 158 words for a 840 page ๐Ÿ™‚

        Thanks, I go for the more informal sort of review style I have to admit, someone once wrote that they like my reviews as it comes across like I’m talking about the book to them and that’s what I try to do, I also tend to stay away from spoilers as I can’t stand them. minor ones are fine but or if the review says that it contains spoilers but I once had a book I had been looking forward to ruined by reading a review that completely ruined the ending and they hadn’t said at the start it included spoilers, ggrrr! It is sometimes hard to review a book without mentioning much of the story though, especially if it’s a series which is why mine sometimes lack much “reviewness” though I always try to explain why I either like or dislike things and not just write that I did.

        No worries, about ranting, it’s all good. ๐Ÿ™‚


  24. My rule of thumb is it has to be over 300 words – actual review itself – generally 300 words is good for minimum SEO. I take that a step further with insisting that 300 of the words of the total post be for the review. The rest is just bonus.

    That’s it, and that’s the only reason I care about length at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. This is a hard topic but I’d say between 400-1000 for me. I don’t like to write reviews longer than that and I don’t actually get much of a response to posts that are longer than that. Of course for an epic fantasy I’d say the review would be longer but a standard 300 page book I’d not post more than 1000 words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have a point, though I don’t get much of a response on review posts anyway regardless of length. But yeah, 1000 words for a 300 page book is more than enough, I’ve written reviews for epic fantasy under that, I guess length is irrelevant, well, that’s what I’ve come to realise, as long as you’ve wrote and put across the points you want that’s all that really matters.๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True that. But I get what you mean. I wrote a really short review today for a book that someone else read (unsolicited copy that I felt bad not reviewing because it wasn’t my kinda book) and I’m very upset at the length of the review. I’ve done my best to interrogate the reader but this is all the info I got. I’m checking that 158 word review now ๐Ÿ˜‚.

        Liked by 1 person

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