Tips for Writing a Book Review: How to be Informative

The primary objective of a book review is to inform potential readers of the book of its strengths, weaknesses, and other attributes in a manner in which your audience is able to decide whether or not they want to read the book. However, doing so without spoiling the book may at times seem like a difficult task. Here are some tips for writing a book review that's informative without giving too much information.

Discuss the Setting

The first matter of business is to discuss the setting in which the book's story takes place. This can be done in a few words, or many - how much discussion of the setting is necessary depends largely on the setting itself. Fantasy settings in unusual universes may require more description; common settings for realistic stories require little.

Discuss the Major Characters

Four or five major characters usually merit discussion in a book review. You'll want to describe them individually, and then in relation to one another. But don't go too far - you don't want to discuss the resolution of the conflicts in their relationships, unless you've been assigned a book review that requires a full outline of the plot.

Discuss the Plot

This should include major points of the plot, but not twists or other unforeseen events. Some of these events may need to be mentioned, but this can be done vaguely so that it doesn't give away the book for someone who wants to read it for the first time. For example, if a major character is murdered, you might say "tragedy strikes the party," and then go on to say how this tragedy adds to or takes away from the book's strengths.

Discuss your Opinion

Think of your overall opinion of the book: Did you like it, hate it, have mixed feelings? Then choose three positive aspects and three negative aspects and discuss how these affected your outlook on the book. If it was uplifting, mention why. If it was discouraging, detail the reasons for that. Again, be vague when the reason includes a major twist in the plot.

Discuss the Writing

Take some time to discuss the writing style of the author. Were they verbose, or concise? What level of detail did they use in descriptions? Were their sentences easy to follow, or challenging? Did they use simple or sophisticated vocabulary?