Wednesday, June 29, 2011

what did i miss?

I've had an odd experience regarding the last book I read and reviewed, The Constantine Codex. I was less than impressed with the book, though I did find some good things to say about it. So I posted the review on my blog and then went to Amazon to post my review there. And what I saw absolutely astounded me! Of the 15 other reviews, 10 are 5 star--which is the highest ranking Amazon allows reviewers to give, 3 are 4 star, and 2 are 3 star. My review is the lone two-star review.

This is the first time that I can remember having an opinion so very different from other reviewers. Sure, some of the items I've reviewed have been met with mixed feelings by other reviewers. But here, the opinions are so overwhelmingly positive that I'm left with four possible conclusions:
  1. Reviewers are afraid to give a negative review, so they either disguise their true opinions or don't post their review on Amazon. I sincerely hope this isn't the case, but I can see how it could be--especially if people are concerned with their Amazon reviewer ranking. Sometimes, supporters of a product, be it book, movie, or other item, will vote "no" to Amazon's "was this review helpful" question when a reviewer has something negative to say about the product. It's petty, but it happens. And honestly, the thought did cross my mind that I may get "no" votes on my review which would hurt my "helpful vote" percentage. I posted anyway, though my reasons weren't entirely altruistic--this book is part of Tyndale's Summer Reading Program, and in order to get credit for reading a book, participants must post a review in three places. Amazon was one of my three. (If you'd like to give my review some love--or hate--you can find it here.)
  2. It's a case of "Christian movie syndrome" ... you know, where Christian films are truly terrible as works of art due to bad acting, bad editing, and--in some cases--bad story lines, yet Christians buy and watch them because they are "safe" and have good messages. I'm not afraid to give a Christian movie a slot in my Netflix queue ... yet I apparently don't have the same tolerance for Christian books. I (as you're well aware if you've been a reader of this blog for more than a week) read mountains of Christian fiction. Most of it is well written, entertaining, and thought provoking. So when I come across one that doesn't quite live up to my expectations, I'm disappointed, and I'm not willing to "give it a pass" just because it's Christian.
  3. It's still early, and the more critical reviews will come later. The blog tour for this book is going on today, so more people will probably be posting reviews throughout the day (though a review on Amazon isn't a must). As more people read the book, more will review it, and there are bound to be others who see the book the way I did.
  4. I missed something. It's entirely possible that these other reviewers truly loved the book, and I just didn't get it.
If you read The Constantine Codex, what did you think? Am I on track, or did I miss something important? Do you hold Christian books to a higher standard than Christian films? Why or why not?


  1. looks like you've got someone agreeing with you now - a 2nd 2star review!

  2. I am glad that you are honest in your reviews. There is nothing worse than buying a book that you think you will love because all the reviews are "glowing" and then you end up hating it.

  3. I am glad you gave an honest review. This book is on my list for the summer reading program too - but now I know to put it on the bottom of my list. So I may read it, but I may not. :)


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