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View Poll Results: Do the opinions on Amazon have any bearing on whether you pick up a book?
Yes, i trust everyone on there implicitly, they are all studious, well read, and eclectic of taste. 2 5.88%
No, they're all a bunch of inbred Ohio pig herders who award a book five stars because they've actually managed to finish it. 4 11.76%
Some are idiots, some are enlightening, but i read what i was going to read anyway. 28 82.35%
Voters: 34. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11th Oct 2003, 17:01   #1
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Default The best crap reviews in Amazon

You know the score, you've read a book that's so unutterably shite that you can't quite believe it's been published. You have a peek on Amazon to view the carnage making reviews that it deserves, and you get some people saying 'It was a genius work of literary fiction - better than Shakespeare' or something to that effect.

Well here's my favourite:-

The book: Lives of The Monster Dogs, by Kirsten Bakis

Just to set the scene, it is the worst book i have ever read, by quite some margin. It is as bad as it sounds, it is about dogs living as humans in NY city dressed in smoking jackets and eventually all wiping themselves out. It's awful, so awful i can't even portray how awful. The blurb tells us of how the author Kirsten Bakis had just graduated from her creative writing course in NY city before she got a deal for this sack of shit. It reads like the effort for her first set of homework; like a GCSE essay, but without the panache of the school thicko. AWFUL, BAD, bordering on illiterate. Unsurprisingly, it is her first and ONLY book to date.

The reviews (and there are some beauties):

An incredible literary work!, 3 January, 1999
Reviewer: from Westchester, New York

Kirsten Bakis takes on the chalenge (sic) of creating a beleivible (sic) novel about the fantastic and pulls it of masterfuly (sic). Diving into the mind of a madman or the emotions of a manmade race of human-dogs on the edge of demise, she writes her first novel with an incredible feeling of sympathy and awe of the bizzare and thought-provoking, the acts of the human mind and the longing to belong. Lives of the Monster Dogs is a masterpiece of its time.

Haunting. Written on Two levels of masterwork., 29 August, 1998
Reviewer: from Connecticut
This novel gave me chills. It was beautifully written. This book is one that must be read more than once. This is because of the minute detail- the symbolisim (sic), the thematic ties. It must be read deeply and read over to see these situations- shadows of Nazi Germany and the AIDS epidemic. It is a meaningful ending, not hallucinatory as one might think at first glance, but symbolic. I found it to be powerful and richly written- this is not really a story about talking dogs. Like Orwell's classic Animal Farm, this book goes beyond its animal qualities. Strip them away, and you are left with a moving fable for our times.

I loved this book! Very creative!, 23 August, 1998
Reviewer: from Texas, USA
I seldom read novels anymore, because my time is usually spent reading "serious" subjects, either technical magazines or news. But this book caught my eye after reading a book review, and I had to read it over the Christmas holiday. I predict that this book will be the successor to Bram Stoker's Dracula and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

I've saved the best for last

The best book I've ever read!, 25 March, 1998
Reviewer: A reader from Ausralia (sic)
I LOVED this book, and usually I won't spend over ten dollars on a book, but it was worth it for this one. It was wonderfuly written and I would recremend (sic) it for every one to read.

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Old 11th Oct 2003, 17:22   #2
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There's a thread on the Guardian talkboards dedicated to "hilariously bad Amazon reviews" which is worth a look.

Here are some reviews of Jeffrey Archer books from Amazon's UK site:

This book is an excellent introduction to Jeffery Archer especially if you hesitate to read long books. It will make you want to read everything else he has written. I read it a number of years ago but I hadn't visited London then. I never re-read books but after I visited London I re-read this one and it was still just as good.

Jeffrey Archer is one of the best authors of our time. I never use to read thick books until I started reading Jeffrey Archer's book. (A pattern develops - or was "thick" a pun?)

The best book i've ever read and i think it alwyas will be!

This book was a excellent read I found myself being swept along in this excellent SC-Fi (about The Eleventh Commandment, a political/espionage thriller)

A masterpiece of modern literature

We'll leave it there thanks. I suppose the reason these people write reviews online rather than sending letters of praise to the publisher is because they're not allowed anything sharp in there. So Jeffrey Archer novels qualify. Boom boom.
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Old 11th Oct 2003, 17:36   #3
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This for one of my worst books this year - Quadehar the Sorcerer - which someone loaned me under the impression I like all fantasy books. What's worse, a five star review on Amazon from someone in my county (but not the loaner of the book, I don't think). I'd give it a hefty minus twenty or so (granted that it is for children).

Definitely one to add to your collection., 18 June, 2003 Reviewer: A reader from durham, Co durham United Kingdom
It is said 'you can't judge a book by its cover' but this book's wonderful cover gives the reader a true glimpse of the story within.
The short chapters carry you through at a pace which never flags or gets boged down as so many otherwise great books do. The main characters are well rounded and believable and Master Quadehar, Sorcerer of the Guild is especially memorable even though his appearance is fairly limited.
The book is set in The Lost Isle a world which is a mixture of modern (computers), and medieval, (knights on horseback) as well as magic. Eric L'Homme gives enough information to bring it and The Uncertain World, the other world the characters travel to, into clarity with out going over board.
The storyline is as compelling as The Healers Keep by Victoria Hanley or Song Quest by Katherine Roberts yet more streamline and focused than either. This is the first book in the 'Book of the Stars' series and it leaves lots of questions to be answered but is complete and satisfying in itself.
The only flaw in my opinion was there were some very short pieces of dialogue between the young heroes which was, well immature! Realistic no doubt but realism isn't always best in dialogue! But these exchanges were few and short and so did not spoil the whole.
Personally I can't wait to get my hands on the next book. Quadehar is one of those characters like Sparrowhawk in A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin, who gets under your skin. It has left me expecting great things from him in the next installment.
If you are looking for an entertaining, compelling and easy to read but not so easy to put down book try this one.
I won't even go near reviews of The Year of Wonders
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Old 3rd Mar 2006, 13:51   #4
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Default Re: The best crap reviews in Amazon

I have to admit sometimes I'm swayed by the reviews, sometimes I buy anyway. How about a sometimes option in the poll?
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Old 4th Mar 2006, 0:01   #5
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Default Re: The best crap reviews in Amazon

well i say it's always good to keep yourself from being boged down.
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Old 4th Mar 2006, 0:49   #6
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Default Re: The best crap reviews in Amazon

No, because I tend to buy randomly available second-hand books first and then read reviews afterwards. And then mostly when I have not enjoyed the book just to reassure myself that I'm not the only person in the world who thought whatever it was was shite.
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Old 12th Jun 2007, 17:53   #7
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Default Re: The best crap reviews in Amazon

Having just bought Ben Elton's The First Casualty, which uses the Battle of Passchendaele as it's backdrop, I did a bit of a trawl over Amazon to see what people had written.

How's about this for ham-fisted:

Thought Provoking But Stereotypical In Areas, 30 May 2007
By Chris C "manxdude87" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews

I wouldn't have put it past Ben Elton to write a thriller in any sense; the co-creator of The Young Ones, the host of Saturday Night Live; but one can't help but wonder how the story flows.

Based in the early twentieth century, 'Casualty' follows the tale of rogue police officer Kingsley who is forced to investigate the murder of a British soldier.

There are plenty of twists and turns throughout the story and its good cause it gives the reader his or her own idea of how its going to end up. It could be argued the whole idea of false identities, framed persons, love in war etc is a very typical war crime story, but nonetheless its only a minor thing.

It may not be for everyones taste, but with great dialogue, some quite extreme imagery and an ever twisting storyline, The First Casualty is a treat.
Love it: 'quite exteme'; 'its good cause it gives the reader his or her own idea of how its going to end up'; 'one can't help but wonder how the story flows' (or that sentence, Chris, frankly).

And how about ' Based in the early twentieth century' as opposed to 'The Great War'? THE EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY!!!?
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Old 12th Jun 2007, 18:18   #8
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Default Re: The best crap reviews in Amazon

I'm intrigued by the concept of a police officer being forced to investigate a murder.
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Old 12th Jun 2007, 22:26   #9
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Default Re: The best crap reviews in Amazon

Originally Posted by MisterHobgoblin View Post
I'm intrigued by the concept of a police officer being forced to investigate a murder.
I think I know who did it.
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Old 13th Jun 2007, 10:49   #10
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Default Re: The best crap reviews in Amazon

I voted yes on the poll because I find nearly all the reviews enlightening - especially the ones that are obviously written by semi-literate chimpanzee teenagers - I just do the opposite of what they recommend. If they love a book, I won't. If they hate a book, I think it might be worth exploring.
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