I assume most people reading this blog know that elsewhere, in another life, I review books - generally ones sent out specifically by the publishers but also old favourites and ones I track down myself through the library. So, having heard a new debut novel having its praises sung all over the web, I ordered it from the library and looked forward to reading it.
It turned up last week and I started.... and hoped it might improve.... and thought I'd get into it further on... Sadly I found it not to be the magical bewitching tale I'd expected but dull and flat.
Now the big question is: Do I review it?
If it had been sent for review, there's no question - the publisher/publicist/author has taken a risk and sent it for review, they expect an honest opinion and after all no one can be expected to like everything ever written.
If it had been by an established author or a winner of major awards I'd be quite happy to say my argumentative bit - after all I make no bones about not liking Terry Pratchett's work or that I found The Life of Pi to be a drag or that I've never really understood the fuss about Harry Potter. No author can suit all of the people, all of the time no matter how popular they are.
But to knock the work of a debut author, all flushed with the wonderful reception their novel's received? Is it fair to burst their bubble? I've learned through talking to them on Twitter and Facebook that authors, perhaps contrary to popular opinion, have very fragile egos - a misplaced word can darken their mood for days; a bad review lingers in their mind a lot longer than all the complimentary ones.
For now, the review is written - but saved. In 5 years time when this novel has broken all sales records, I might come clean and say I didn't see its appeal - till then it's my little secret.