I will say this. It made me smile. I laughed out loud. I cried. Not because of any particular sad moment, but because sometimes the shape a story makes is like a key turning inside me and I cannot do anything but weep.
I know this feeling so well. I have strong emotional reactions to great books, too: I laugh. I cry. Most often of all, I get chills. The best art—not just books, but music, movies, you name it—will often generate strong emotion. It’s an almost physical reaction. It’s involuntary. It’s the high all readers chase after, I think, and for some it gets ever more elusive.
I try to cover different angles in my reviews. Some basic description of plot and characters. Some interpretation, or an attempt at such at least, without spoiling too much—themes, imagery, and so on. I include, obviously, my own opinion—a recommendation to read the book, or not.
I believe my writing style can sometimes be a bit distant, reserved maybe—because I try to focus on the book and keep my personality out of the mix. It’s not about me, it’s about the book.
However, the very best books make this impossible, as Patrick Rothfuss so eloquently said in his post, and I don’t think there’s ever anything wrong with expressing that strong a reaction in a review. I felt that way when I reviewed Catherynne M. Valente’s Six-Gun Snow White earlier this year, and more recently when I read Kevin Barry’s City of Bohane, which I’ll be reviewing here and at Tor.com soon.
So while I often edit my own emotions out of my reviews before posting, replacing them with a relatively lame “highly recommended” or something like it, they’ll sometimes, inevitably, sneak in after all. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.