I’ve been thinking about reviews lately. I’ve been lucky to have had some that lifted my spirits and encouraged me to write more. And it’s interesting what some readers look for while others notice different things. I have to admit, I noticed this more when I chose a few books by OTHER writers I admired and read THEIR reviews. I could be more objective:) And the things that hooked me in a book didn’t always matter to other readers. They focused on something else. So it made me wonder. If you prefer a certain genre, does it affect what you look for when you read?
I’m at heart a mystery fan. I want clues that add up to something that’s coming. When I read a romance, I look for subtle signs of how the relationship is changing and what’s going to get it in trouble. I know it’s going to end in HEA, but what hurdles does it have to overcome? Same goes for fantasy. Urban fantasy and paranormal anything would be a close second on my list of favorites, but I still want to see cause and effects that add up to the big showdown near the end of the book. Characters hook me and keep me reading, but I still want a solid plot with inner motivations that lead to actions.
That made me consider what readers of other genres might look for. I’m guessing romance readers take relationships seriously. And they probably hope for a HEA. In the last book I finished, I was hoping for one, too, but it didn’t happen. The ending was pretty darn realistic. In the book before that in the series, the relationship went bust at the end of the book, too. Would that bother a romance reader, or would she take that in her stride and look forward to the next book?
Do fantasy/sci-fi readers focus more on world building than I do? Probably. I read C.S. Boyack’s GRINDERS, and a lot of readers commented on his vision of a future San Francisco. And he did a great job on that, but what I focused on was the two cops trying to find the grinder who was experimenting on and using rats to find a cure for his wife. That plot hung me up more than the cops themselves, who were also well done.
And what about horror fans? What do they focus on? I really doubt they’d ever read a cozy. I’m thinking they want a story with emotional impact and lots of tension. Tone and mood play a big part in setting things up. And then I’d guess they need that adrenaline rush when a good guy is about to meet his end.
Thriller fans? They need a lot of tension, too. Good guy versus bad guy often leads to a ticking clock. Will the protagonist save the (whatever) in time? A few dead bodies usually pave the way to the end. But let’s face it, in lots of mystery fiction…and sometimes a few other stories…there’s nothing like a dead body to pick up the pace of the story.
What do you think? Do you have a favorite genre? Are there things that make you like one book more than another? Great characters can hook all of us, but what else keeps you turning pages?