December 23, 2011
I was going to try to write this post without using the word blogosphere. But see, I can’t make it even 15 words without resorting to such vocabulary. Oh, the blogosphere is a powerful sphere these days, right up there with the Southern Hemisphere, the troposphere, and Sphere by Michael Cricthon. And I have to acknowledge that power, or else they’ll hunt me down and take me out like this was a Dan Brown book and they were renegade nuns and I was a dashing Sanskrit expert (that’s the sort of thing that happens in Dan Brown books, right?).
What I’m getting at is this: in a market flooded with books, not every author can expect a Charlie Rose interview, a Today Show spot and a New Yorker feature to help get the word out about his/her hardback baby. Thankfully there is a passionate community of fans and critics who are doing the heavy lifting for free. There’s nothing like coming across a review online and knowing that someone out there not only read and thought about your story, but is now expanding on it. Because that’s what good criticism is: a continuation of the story, even when it’s negative criticism. I tend to read criticism after I read a book, or watch a movie, or listen to an album. I want to see if others shared in my experience or had a wildly different point of view. It helps me see more of the story. It gives it a fuller shape. Sure, it sometimes leads to me shaking my fist and screaming “Moron!” or “Philistine!” but most things in life do.
So blogosophere, I salute you. Amazon is okay (with its “best book eva!” and “this book is the root of all evil!” reviews) and Goodreads can be endlessly fascinating and frustrating (I’m fine with one star, just tell me why!). But give me a blog review any day of the week. I’m serious. If you have a blog…give me a review! Even on a Tuesday! Follow the lead of these 10 trailblazers who–despite a dabbling in SPOILERS!–have not only shared my book with the world, but have given me new insights into what I wrote. They have made my story even longer:
- Mother Reader: “One, I’m calling this as a movie waiting to be made. Two, this book would make a perfect gift…”
- Charlotte’s Library (spoiler at end): “It’s the best sort of upper middle grade book–ie, great for an eleven year old child, and for the mg reading grown-up.”
- Parenthetical (mild spoilers): “This is a weird, amazing, amazingly weird book.”
- Librarian in the Middle: “Part science fiction, part mystery, this well-crafted story was moving in ways I didn’t see coming. This is one that will stick with me for a long time.”
- Snarky and Sweet: “I can only talk in the vaguest terms about the plot because one of the absolute strengths of the book for me was its unpredictability. The reader really is taken for a ride and cannot know what happens next.”
- MSBPL Books (spoilers aplenty): “Starmer’s characters and story premise were engaging and thoughtful and I recommend this book to readers who are interested in human nature and science fantasy.”
- West Virginia Red Reads: “The end of the world doesn’t make children into monsters but it does make them into adults with both good and bad sides.”
- Karissa’s Reading Reviews: “Fans of well written mysteries with a little magic and sci-fi should look here. Fans of post-apocalyptic fiction with a more subtle touch to it and a lot of mystery should also give this book a read.”
- Alamosa Books: “A brilliant fairy tale for the modern age.”
- Bettina’s Book Club (some spoilers): “The premise was fascinating, the characters were unique, funny, believable and relatable, and by the time I was done reading it I was thinking, ‘Whoa, this is some deep stuff…’”
There are of course some reviews from newspapers, magazines and journals over here. And there are other blog reviews out there that I know I missed and others that are on the horizon (or so I hope). If you have one, just let me know. I’ll spread the word.