Should you review a book that you haven’t finished?


Recently, I’ve had several books that I did not finish, I didn’t review them because I’m stuck between whether it’s right or wrong to review books you haven’t finished. For me, I don’t like to review a book if it hasn’t been read completely, because I simply don’t know if it does get any better, or how it ends. Sometimes a book can completely redeem itself, but I wouldn’t know.

If you’re reading a book for review, I think it’s important to try and finish it so that your review is informed and you can criticise it with confidence. I understand though that some books are so bad that people just have to write a DNF (did not finish) review. I know quite a few people that do review books they DNF, they state why they didn’t finish it and review it based on what they did read. The book bloggers I know do give the book a good chance. I think DNF reviews are good because when you are so honest your readership tend to respect that honesty. Also, if you are upfront about not finishing a book and it does get better the book blogging community can give their opinions on the book and let you know if you should give the book another chance.

The thing that baffles me the most is when I see reviews on Amazon that state they didn’t read the book at all. Why on earth are they leaving a review then?

What do you think? Do you review books that you did not finish? Is it fair to the author?

6 thoughts on “Should you review a book that you haven’t finished?

  1. I don’t think it’s fair to review a book you haven’t finished for obvious reasons, but I do appreciate it when the reader leaves a comment saying why that happened. Sometimes, it allows me to make a decision on whether or not I’ll read the book based on how much I have in common with the particular reader.

    I hate to leave books unfinished and rarely do. The last book I couldn’t finish was Alan Holinghurst’s Booker winner – The Line of Beauty, and I wrote about why in my comments on the book. However nowadays, I rarely read reviews of books I want to read before I read them for fear of being affected by bias 😛

    • That’s how I feel too. I don’t like to review a book that I haven’t finished as I really feel bad for the author. However, I guess authors have to get used to negative criticism. I do really admire book bloggers that can eloquently say why they didn’t finish a book!

      I’ve discussed giving up on books before, and I have to say I do it occasionally but I don’t take that decision lightly. I usually try and give the book a good 100-200 or so pages before I give up!

      Thank you so much for your response!

  2. I do write DNF reviews, however I try my best to give these books a fair chance. If after 200+ pages I’m still not convinced I think I’ve had a good go and giving the book the opportunity to win me over. In the nearly 200 reviews I’ve written (either on my blog or Goodreads) I’ve only had 3 DNF and only written reviews for 2 of them.

    Some books have, in the past, completely won me over at the end (Unhooking the Moon is the perfect example) I very rarely give up of them. But then I end up resenting the time I’ve lost forcing myself to read these books when I could have been enjoying something else.

    I do not understand reviewing a book you haven’t read, that makes no sense. Personally I feel I’m fair in reviewing DNF books but I think there is a difference between explaining why a book didn’t work for you and saying it’s awful FullStop. Hope that makes sense 😉

    • Yes, I’ve read some of your DNF reviews before and I’ve always admired the way you say what exactly it was that didn’t make you finish the book. I do think it’s fair to write DNF reviews, as long as it’s not completely slating the book with no thought out critique!

      Thanks for your comment 🙂

  3. I have written a post on a book I DNF but it was clearly marked as that rather than as a review. It was more about my decision to give up on the book and my thoughts on what I had read than a full review. It doesn’t appear in my review list.

    • I think that’s fair enough 🙂 As I said, I’m never sure whether to discuss my thoughts or not. Maybe that’s what I could do, a discussion rather than a review as such. Thank you for your thoughts!

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