Very well said. I'd be eager to discuss this book with someone who truly didn't like it, but everyone I know loves it. And the "people" (I use that term loosely) as we all know they are all the same person never read this book and are just writing 1-star reviews to attack Tino.
I have absolutley no problem with Amazon tracking my IP much as Roger, Flubu, CJ, Deborah, Stig, Dark Clarissa, Misfit, Mark (not Twain) and Avid Reader won't either as we are not the ones with something to hide.
How are fake one star reviews (if they are fake) different from fake five star reviews? Check out all these on Powell's site, http://www.powells.com/biblio/9780595464333?page=customercomments#page.
What's really fun is one of those reviewers has a bunch of other reviews recommending The Fates and many of those have a striking similarity in style (but they are virtually identical, except for that last sentence) to Amazon's #1 reviewer.
As a consumer, one needs to be cautious of any review, albeit one star or five star unless it's a reviewer you "know" from previous books you've had in common (love Amazon US's friends and interesting people -- very easy to track what others are reading with same tastes as you). Even then, not everyone has the same reading taste. Example, go to Rhett Butler's People on Amazon US. See how many of those glowing five star reviews are from reviewers with only one review. Probably the publisher's friends and family opening up accounts to help prop up a poorly recieved book. Same for the one stars, I believe it's common practice in the romance field to attack a competitor's product.
Personally, if I'm not 100% sure I'm going to love a book, or it's an unknown author I get it from the library first. And since they have just about everything but the oddball out of print book (which I can usually obtain through an interlibrary loan), I find that a safer way to test a new author. Interesting that my county library system which carries just about everything (and most especially all the newest publications in fiction) doesn't have The Fates. Wonder why -- maybe its not that run away best seller, is it?
Agreed, Misfit. However, with regard to getting stuff through the library, here in the UK libraries do not always stock US authors in a particular genre - my own library is very small and even though they will find a book for you, if an author you like isn't on their list, you can't get it. So some of us do resort to trusting reviewers, particularly when a book receives a lot of good reviews. Which is how I came to buy this book. I gave it a one-star review based on the fact that: (a) this is a genre I am familiar with; (b) the author claimed to have a degree in historical studies, and therefore I expected some link to a history I would recognise; (c) the plot of the story was pedestrian; (d) the characters were mostly very poorly developed; (e) the lack of editing irritated me; (f) the grammar, the random insertion of phrases in Greek (which were uttered by Turks!), and the vocabulary were dire; (f) I usually get through a book like this within an evening or two - this book took me almost three weeks to read as I kept putting it down because it irritated me (NB only continued to read it because I thought there was going to be some major development which would suddenly lift the plot to the realms of interest). And finally I gave it one star because I felt cheated, seeing so many claims for this amazing book. My guess on reading other one-star reviews is that many other reviewers felt similarly.
Avid Reader, it's too bad about the library situation and US authors. I am so lucky, our county system is pretty much everything but the City of Seattle itself and with major employers like Boeing and Microsoft they are well funded and most of the populace is well read. My favorite perk, no matter which branch in the county has the book, I place my hold on line, and it comes to MY branch to pick up. Heaven :-)
A couple of good resources to check out unknown books/authors are the HF discussions at Amazon US, http://www.amazon.com/tag/historical%20fiction/forum/ref=cm_cd_dp_gf/002-5252214-5336844?%5Fencoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx1GAYRAS8PX4CC&cdPage=1&cdAnchor=1877853585 and www.historicalfiction.org. Both places have people from all over the globe posting, and you'll see some HF author's participating on the hf.org site.
Happy reading -- and yes I've learned the hard way to pat attention to those one star reviews, not everyone feels the same about a book and one needs to make their own decision.
This has certainly been a learning curve in terms of trust. There are some reviewers' names that I know now and will be interested to see what they say about a particular book. If it's a reviewer I don't know, but I like the review, then I might check their history to see if they have reviewed books that I have already read and, if so, see whether our opinions are alike or differ. If I see a glowing 5-star review now, I am more likely to be highly suspicious of it - and I have written some myself! But reviews or no reviews, I will rarely buy a book now unless I can flick through it first.
I feel the same.I love browsing in bookshops,high street or second hand,even though it's absolutely fatal for my bank account.I really prefer to buy books that way,particularly fiction,or at least choose them that way, unless something's recommended to me by someone whose tastes I share and trust or well reviewed in a newspaper I read.Until now the books I've bought from Amazon have mainly been factual reference books.Like Deborah though I feel that all this has also introduced me to some Amazon reviewers i would now trust.But boy! Have my eyes been opened.