I just finished my first book by an author friend, and I'm in a quandary.
I bought her book partially because she publicly praised one of mine. I thought that since she so obviously had good taste (;^) ), I might find her work enjoyable. I actually don't *buy* erotic romance all that often. Much of what I read comes as review copies or comp copies from authors. However, give the fact that this author apparently did shell out the cash for my book, I wanted to return the favor.
Alas, I was not very impressed her novel. It wasn't a bad book, but overall I found it weak. As appropriate for a romance, my friend lavished her attention on the two protagonists and their relationship. That aspect worked well. The characters were vivid and I especially liked her use of physical actions to convey emotion. (At one point one of the characters punches another in the face!)
However, other aspects of the story seemed to get short shrift. Although set in a fictional future world, the language, technology and belief systems seemed indistinguishable from 21st century America. The plot felt confused and inconsistent. The villain's motivation struck me as implausible and overdone. One of my mentors taught me that villains should not be 100% evil or they lose their interest. This guy was almost a caricature.
I had intended to write a review of this book. But now, I don't think I can, because I really don't want to hurt this author who has been so supportive of my own work. I thought, "Well, I'll just rate it as a 3 on Goodreads." I'm starting to feel that I shouldn't even do that, however. In our modern world, when all our opinions are public, every judgment risks offense or worse. Our opinions have perhaps inappropriate power, because they can do real damage. I don't want to negatively impact her sales. I'm sure that many readers would love this book.
Which begs the question, if we can't share our honest opinions, what are they worth?
I don't have an answer.