Writing a book review -The dos and donts

Regardless of whichever platform you’d be reviewing a book, whether in a paper column or the likes of Novelcat and Webnovel or even on a blog etc. you should have it in mind that what you are going to write down must contain useful information and be helpful.

Now understand that you will be writing a book review for either of the following reasons

  • It doesn’t meet my expectation, it’s not worth the hype
  • It meets my expectation it’s what the hype

Following the tips below it’d be guaranteed that which of the above reason you’ve picked would be expressed flawlessly not just to prove your point alone but also to guide reasons owing  to the fact that originally a review was/is/should be configured to serve that purpose

The features of a good review must contain.

  • A hook
  • Information
  • Summary of plot
  • Critique and commendation
  • Recommendation
  • Rating.

How do you go about with a hook? And why is this even needed for a review that wouldn’t even completely cover an entire A4 paper?

First off,  the art of placing a pen on paper or your fingers on a keyboard with the desire to expel your take on literally everything is called writing and if you desire to be heard what you are writing must have a hook- it must have catchy lines that would provoke the attention of your audience.

Note: while writing a hook, make it as provocative and compelling as humanly possible you can even sort to make it in form of a question. Start with simple comprehendible sentences and statements

Example: could it be that the death of Conrad proves the existence of an ancestral spirit who abhorred the relationship he had with Isabelle while they were still in the castle? (Castle of Otranto) or it is very difficult to ignore the fact that Horace Walpole was trying to bring to light the existence of an ancestral spirit living in the castle with the unexplainable occurrence that led to the death of Conrad, the giant hand and foot that suddenly materialize in the great chamber


“It is evident that society was what amplified the killing urge of bigger Thomas” {Native son)- this would want readers to know-how, then you can proceed with the next phase of the review.

Relaying vital book information

Share with readers information that ordinarily, you would want to find about a book you haven’t read a good start would probably be the author of the book and the year of the book’s publication if it’s in instalment, a franchise, in a series relay it to readers and also if it would be of utmost need to read the prequels, or forward with sequels.

Summary of plot

Deliver a high-class summary of the book’s plot so as to enable the audience to have an insight into what is inscribed inside A.H Mohammed’s “last days in Focardos high” or Chukwuemeka’s  “Potter’s wheel”. Do not include the climax or the resolution so as not to completely ruin the book for readers, remember it’s a review not a chapter-by-chapter analysis.

Like, don’t reveal the episode that Jimi discovered that Efua is a lesbian and how she shockingly affirmed his conformation, don’t tell them that Darth Vader in star wars is the father of Anakin Skywalker, keep Spoilers like that out of the way.

Critique and commendation

The importance of this section cannot be overemphasized this is the portion everyone looks out for, some people don’t have individual discernable directions and independent reasoning so they depend on what others think to pilot their own ship into decision making, upon summarizing the plot, which any person with the ability to read and write can do, give out your peculiar take on the book.

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This part supersedes simply saying “it was good”, “it was bad”, readers actually want to know what you think made it horrible or why it is worth reading, that’s where the pointer comes in as I earlier stated, not everybody can be individually discernable. Your take helps them cultivate their own opinion on whether they will enjoy the book if they eventually purchase it.

How do you go around with this, try answering the following based on how you feel about its presentation

  • Who was your favourite character and why?
  • Did the characters portray realism to you?
  • Where did they cliffhangers, did it leave you guessing your way to the end?
  • Which part in the book was your favourite?
  • Did specific scenes come out the way they were intended to was the whole Jimi Solade’s mother’s death sober to you as it was initially created to be? Was Aloho’s lack of discernment and obstinacy to the simple warning by Ogenyi provocative and annoying to you?

A personal take on a scene in Richard Wright Native son- “I was pushed to the edge of my seat while biting my nails, the court trial of Bigger Thomas got me sweating on places that I didn’t know I even had, would he be executed? David Buckley was pulling a stiff-neck argument his willingness to parade over 60 witnesses against bigger really got me unhinged, it appeared so real that I shouted

No!”  as a reader you’d understand that the above excerpt hinted at the intense state of that particular scene

Do not forget to write what turned you off about the book

  • Did the story breed emotions in you?
  • Was there an event that played out other than it shouldn’t?
  • Was it too freaky for your liking or was it central to a theme you don’t find interesting?
  • The language and style adopted was it appreciable?
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Example:” the writing was mesmerizing the manner at which words were used was mind-blowing and within split-seconds, I was in another world, but there were minor setbacks though, some of the dialogues didn’t add up”

“The writing was a bit rough, most of the sentences contained words I couldn’t  relate to, so understanding the whole book was quite difficult”


This must come after you have vent out your critiques and otherwise. Inform readers about your conclusions, which calibre of people do you feel would enjoy the book?

Is it worth reading?


Sites mostly encourage reviews to engage their products on a scale of 1-5 stars, now while giving a 3-star rating or a 4-star rating be sure to let your readers know the reason for doing so.

What to consider while writing the review

  • Pay caution to the length and be sure there are no fluff words, readers can eventually get bored reading a lengthy review
  • Pay caution to grammar and spellings, endeavor to proofread, having a review plagued with errors would make it difficult for readers to understand anything
  • Although the gospel truth and brutal honesty would be required try not to be mean and inconsiderate, put in mind that it was another person’s effort.


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