Reviews are undeniably subjective. Although the twelve classics in this article have stood the test of time (as well as their critics’ opinions) a damning review might prove fatal – we writers are sensitive folk and often extremely thin-skinned so a horrible review could cut a promising career off at the pass.
So do reviewers have responsibilities? If the writing is under par, the story not engaging, the characters undeveloped, the voice poorly constructed, and so on – should the reviewer tell it as it is? As they see it? If so, what about the subjectivity of reviewing/judging?
Is a reviewer obligated to find merit? What if there is none? Should they steer clear of reviewing books they dislike? Does it make a difference if the reviewer is also a writer, conscious that a bad review might some day boomerang?
Have you had a bad review? If so, how did you survive? I’d love to hear your thoughts.