No! You cannot leave a 1-star review on a book you have not read. I said "no!" Stop it... stop! I had to firmly make this point to a reviewer recently who admitted, in her three-sentence review, that she did not get through the first chapter of a book (not mine) because she encountered the word "anyways." Her unpithy review:
I couldnt even gt through one chapter. Someone please tell this author that "anyways" is not a word. Enough said.
No, gentle reviewer, enough certainly has not been said. Quite the opposite, actually. My pithy response:
I searched my copy for use of the word "anyways" and found only one, in a bit of dialogue. It may not be an official word, but it is slang that is used by teenagers--who are the main characters in this book--so this complaint is a bit ridiculous. If one doesn't approve of the way teenagers speak, perhaps one shouldn't read YA paranormal fantasy.
That should have shut her up, no? No. Her most unpithy reply:
I will stick with the YA authors who leave the usage of slang to dialog, where slang is appropriate. Books like Harry Potter and the Twilight series.
And, after I recovered from an exploded brain, my most excellent, pithier remark:
I suppose I didn't make the first statement in my reply clear enough. The only instance of the word you objected to, "anyways," is in a line of dialogue. I find it odd that you encountered this single use of the word and it stopped you cold, made you put the book down and upset you so much that you decided to leave a three-sentence, one-star review that gives potential readers absolutely no information about the book. Perhaps the forty-eight positive reviews indicate that you should read past the first chapter before deciding that the entire effort deserves only one star. I do not wish to pick on you specifically, but it is reviews like this that make me suspicious of all of a given person's reviews. It is an abuse of the ratings system to review a book you have not read, and it is highly unfair. As I said, I do not wish to pick on you, but I see far too many reviews like this on Amazon. Would you review an album after listening to part of a single song? Would you review a movie after watching the first few minutes? I'm sorry, but unless you can actually make intelligent, informed comments about a book, you have no business reviewing it. If you don't like the writing style and decide not to read further, that is fine. But you cannot, in good conscience, review a book which you have not read.And that, for those of you who are keeping track, is "enough said." She has yet to reply. How much do you believe one should read before leaving a review? 25%? 50%? 100%?
Addendum: Some people think this is a review left on one of my books and have advised me against interacting with negative reviewers. This is not the case. It is a review I came across on another book. I of course know that it is not wise to respond to negative reviews on one's own work, but in my capacity as a reader who buys books on Amazon, it is fully justifiable to take other reviewers to task when their reviews are pointless and unfair to the author.