Why yes, there is a difference between a review and a critique. In fact, there are quite a lot of things that are different about the two.
Most people can say a review is opinionated while a critique isn’t since it focuses more on the technical side of writing.
However, I want to point out the 10 key things I think are important to understanding what makes a review different from a critique.
Someone Experienced Gives A Critique
The person who helps critique an author’s story is usually another writer or an editor.
The critic understands story structure, proper grammar usage, and usually has experience with writing themselves. This person is someone who knows how to spot flaws in a story and can suggest a solution to solve it.
That’s why they must be experienced with writing techniques.
Anyone Can Give A Review
Anyone can give a book review.
Someone who reviews a book can be a writer, reader, or anyone who read the book. They don’t need to have written their own book to review someone else’s.
A Critique Is Objective
A critic isn’t focused on telling the author what they personally like or dislike in the story.
They’re focused on seeing the issues in the story. Their job is to point out plot holes, inconsistencies, grammar errors, and everything that is flawed in the story.
A critic should be objective because their only job is to help the author improve the story, not make the author rewrite it to fit their personal preferences.
A Review Is Subjective
A review can be opinionated because it’s not focused on improving the novel.
The reviewer can point out if they like a certain character or a scene. They don’t need to suggest how to fix any problems in the story to make it better.
A Critique Happens Before The Book Is Published
A critique usually happens before the book is published.
This is so the author knows if their story has any mistakes and needs some revisions.
A Review Comes After The Book Is Released
A review usually happens after the book has already been published.
The author no longer needs any revisions because the book is already released. This means anyone can buy it, read it, and review it. By this point, there is no need for a critique.
A Critique Offers A Detailed Analysis
A critique is usually very in depth and detailed.
It deconstructs the story and analyzes what works or doesn’t work, what’s wrong with a character or plot, and gives constructive feedback that can help the author improve her story.
A critique doesn’t rely on broad feedback like, “I liked this character” or “I don’t like the villain.”
It’s more detailed and points out why the critic felt the way they did towards a certain story element. The critique gives descriptive feedback like, “I like this character because no matter what situation she’s thrown in, she always finds a way out of it,” or “I didn’t like this villain because she had an overused and cliche goal.”
A Review Gives An Overall Impression
A review can be considered an analysis, but all in all, it’s the reader’s impression of the story.
The reviewer can give their opinion on whether they liked or disliked something. They can be biased and be detailed about what they loved or hated, but it’s more of a personal view.
Something along the lines of, “I loved the main character, but I hated the love interest. I didn’t buy their relationship. I thought some minor characters were memorable, but the villain just wasn’t bad enough for me to believe she was a threat.”
A Critique Provides Constructive Feedback
Critiques should happen before the book is published because it provides feedback the author can use to improve the story.
A critic shouldn’t give personal feedback, but experienced feedback. What I mean is that they give feedback along the lines of, “In my experience, it’s better to give the protagonist a disadvantage so the audience cares about her.”
It’s not the same as giving a biased opinion like, “I don’t like the protagonist because she has red hair.”
A Review Helps Spread The Word
Now, there is nothing wrong with biased opinions.
This is why they go into a book review and rightly so. A review should be biased. It should be opinionated. The reader gives their opinion on the book, usually summarizing the story and main characters, and giving their view on the book.
Whether they liked or didn’t like the book is all up to them. This helps spread word about the book and provides a perspective for others to decide if they want to read it or not.
And there you have it, the 10 key things I think are important to understanding the difference between a review and a critique.
Were any of these key points useful to you? Or did you disagree with any of them? Leave a comment below and let me know.
Or if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, leave them down in the comment section and I will be more than happy to get back to you.
Regards, BK Scotther