Top Ten Tuesday: Books Too Good to Review Properly

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl


A dog wearing glasses and looking happy while lying on a white bed next to an opened book.

This isn’t my dog, but don’t they look happy?

My comments on certain blogs do not seem to be going through for reasons I haven’t been able to ascertain. If you don’t see reciprocal comments on your site, that is why. I am doing my best each week to say hello to everyone! 

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, it’s rare for me to love a book so much that I can’t review it properly.

I’ve been reviewing books for so many years now that I can write my way out of nearly any dilemma, from figuring out diplomatic ways to word constructive criticisms to gushing about a story for paragraphs on end without giving away any important plot twists.

There are a myriad of ways to discuss most books with kindness and without spoilers.

With that being said, there has been one recent exception to this rule.

It’s a novella I’ve wholeheartedly recommended to everyone I know who has ever so much as glanced in the direction of speculative fiction.

The storytelling was so tightly woven that I didn’t even mind the fact that it seems to be the beginning of a serial.

Normally, I strictly avoid tales that drop off at exciting moments and make you wait for the next instalment to see what happens next.

This one figured out how to pack so much world building and character development into the first instalment that I don’t mind waiting for the sequel, especially since it has had such a hopeful vision of what humanity’s future might look like.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built” by Becky Chambers couldn’t have been better.

“A Psalm for the Wild-Built” by Becky Chambers Book cover. Image on cover shows a robot and some machines in a drawing of a winding road.

I adored the protagonist, a non-binary tea monk who was so restless and dissatisfied with their life they decided to leave the safe zone where humans had lived for generations to see what they might find in the wild forests that covered all of the places humanity had abandoned.

The world they lived in was such a safe, harmonious place. There was no more war or environmental destruction. Everyone lived simply and no one went without what they needed to survive.

I spent the entire novella wondering what the main character would find on their journey. I yearned for it to be something wonderful that they could bring back to show everyone.

There are so many other things I wish I could say about this novella, but I really do have to be careful about giving away thrilling plot twists to anyone who hasn’t read it yet.

Maybe someday soon I’ll figure out a way to discuss this short work in greater detail and properly review it before the sequel comes out this summer!


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54 Responses to Top Ten Tuesday: Books Too Good to Review Properly

  1. I always think novellas are cleverer than full length novels as you have to compress so much into less space. Great review, I”ll have to look out for this one!

  2. Novellas are always a challenge! I found Psalm hard to review too (although for the opposite reason: I liked the world-building but formed a very dim view of Dex, which made it hard to get behind their adventures). Trying to write a critical review of a book by an author you typically love and a book you know most people adored feels very awkward, as it turns out!

  3. Interesting that in all your reading there has only been one that has been so tricky to review!

  4. You have expressed yourself very well with this and it makes me want to read this even more now!

  5. Most of the time, my problem isn’t having NO words but just not having the RIGHT ones to properly convey what I’m trying to say. I always want to express myself perfectly, but that definitely does not always happen!

    I’m not much of a sci-fi/fantasy reader, but I did enjoy the first novella in the Murderbot series. It was the perfect length for me. I don’t think I ever reviewed it, but I get you on the difficulties of trying to properly review books in that format.

    Happy TTT!


  6. Even though you didn’t originally review it, I think you gave it a great review just now.

  7. I loved, loved, loved A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and want to read everything by Becky Chambers!!! So, I definitely need to add this to my TBR, especially now knowing there’s a nonbinary character.

  8. Great post! I didn’t write a review of this book either, and basically for the same reasons. I loved it and thought it was beautiful, and I just couldn’t figure out what to say about it.

  9. I have been seeing this book everywhere! I’m totally going to pick it up but know that a lot of people had a tough time reviewing it. Novella’s are always so hard to review.

  10. I just added A Psalm for the Wild-Built to my TBR. It sounds beautiful. Your “non review” has hooked me.

  11. Novella’s are so tricky! If I love them, I always want them to have been longer, a full novel, which then feels like a criticism. I’ve only read Chambers Long Way to a Small Angry Planet so far, but I really would like to try more. A Psalm for the Wild-Built has been on my radar, between the cover and the cool, new premise.

  12. Oh, I loved Psalm for the Wild-Built also. I know I reviewed it, but I don’t remember at the moment if I was happy with the review I wrote for it.

    My TTT:

  13. I like that you ended up turning this into a review, lol. A Psalm for the Wild-Built sounds really interesting. I might have to look into reading it thanks to your review.

  14. This is high on my priority TBR! I think I’ll save it for Novellas in November!

    I have difficulty with commenting on blogspot blogs. I find that using my laptop for comments on those blogs works better than my iPad.

  15. Sounds interesting! I don’t read many novellas.

  16. I’m glad you found an exception to the pattern you’d found yourself in!

  17. Nice work. I had to change the topic this week.

  18. That’s really impressive that you’ve always been able to review everything you’ve read. I’ve been eyeing that Becky Chambers’ novella and now I’m even more intrigued since it has proven challenging for you to review. It sounds fantastic!

  19. This just sounds incredibly interesting!

  20. Oh I really need to pick this up!

  21. I loved this book! I reviewed it because I got it as an ARC, but it’s definitely a tough book to describe and not reveal too much.

  22. I still haven’t read a Becky Chambers book (I know!) but this one is definitely high up on my list cos I’ve heard amazing things about it. I can tell by your review how much you enjoyed it and hope I do too! 😍 Great post, Lydia!

  23. Novellas can be tricky to review, for sure! For me, some books give me so many thoughts and feelings I feel inadequate when I try to put them into a review. You’re very lucky not to have this kind of writer’s block. 🙂

  24. Oh my, this one sounds so very intriguing.. Love the cover, the title, and your thoughts on it as well.. I am going to look for it

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