If you've read my blog for a relatively short amount of time, you'll see that I don't really post a lot of negative reviews. In fact, I may be able to count the ones I have posted on my hands--in over two years of blogging. That's not because I refrain from posting negative reviews; I just tend to like the books I read. That could be because I'm easily pleased, but I like to think it has more to do with the fact that I pick books I know I'm going to like. Every so often, one disappoints me, but for the most part I predict well.
That being said, I sometimes worry when I do post a negative review. I try very hard--even if I really disliked a book--to find something positive to highlight, because I know there's an audience out there for just about everything. Just because I hated something doesn't mean you will too. But when I post my review, even when I've pointed out good features, I'm always a little afraid that someone is going take offense. For a long time, I thought that fear was unwarranted, but with all of the drama going around with authors and fans attacking reviewers for negative reviews, obviously my fear is legitimate. Even so, I stand behind every single review I've written here or on Goodreads--especially the negative ones. I know I work harder to write those and I know when I post them that someone's not going to be happy with them. But, I write reviews completely impartially and absolutely without bashing anyone.
I don't know if y'all are like me, but I put a lot more stock in reviews that are at least somewhat critical than those that are positively glowing. Yes, I write glowing reviews at times, and I read a lot of very positive reviews. But, in general, those that are willing to point out flaws are those that make or break my decision to read a book or not. Many times I even read the one or two star reviews to see if what those reviewers didn't like are things that I don't mind.
I guess I'm saying that negative reviews have just as much value as positive reviews. Yes, you want--and readers want to see--those five star reviews that declare the book an instant classic, but negative reviews are, at least in my opinion, useful and inevitable--so long as they're constructive and not out to bash someone.
Do you agree? Do you read positive or negative (or both!) reviews of a book to decide if you should read? Do you avoid writing negative reviews? Do you trust reviewers who only write positive reviews?