How a One-Star Review Convinced Me to Read ‘Kings of the Wyld’

This week, I marvel at:

  • The irony of the situation
  • The brilliance of Nicholas Eames
  • How funny the word ‘titillation’ sounds

One-star reviews

We have all read one-star reviews.

Some of us read them for fun.

I also read at least one five-star and one one-star review of a book if I can’t decide whether to buy it or not.

It helps me to get an idea of what sort of people like and don’t like it, as well as why they like and don’t like it.

Ranting in reviews

Ranting and raving about how much you hated a book is not necessarily a kind thing to do.

And it’s not necessarily constructive.

A lot of review rants are almost unintelligible, poorly-written and nonsensical.

It shows, actually, that you’re letting your knee-jerk emotional response get the better of your reason.

In fact, one-star rants can have the opposite effect from the one the reviewer intended.

Why I’m suspicious of rants in reviews

I have a deep suspicion of any review that states ‘I didn’t like this book, it’s rubbish’. 

I suspect the reviewer actually doesn’t know whether it’s a good book at all; they’re just spewing hatred because they didn’t like it.

Just because you don’t like it, doesn’t actually mean it’s bad.  There are loads of great books out there that really aren’t to my taste.

Ironically, I’m more likely to give the book a shot if the negative reviews are badly written; if people can’t write accurate, thoughtful reviews (even if they are negative), then they’re probably not the sort of people I want to listen to.

Check out my blog post ‘How to Write a Review of a Book: accuracy, opinion and kindness’ for more information about structuring reviews, being accurate and giving your opinion in a reasonable way.

Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames

Kings of the Wyld is an Epic Fantasy novel by Nicholas Eames, published in 2017.

It has won numerous awards, which kind of goes to show how brilliant it is, but I didn’t know any of that when I bought it and started reading it.

The review

I came across this review because Nicholas Eames tweeted a screen-shot of it, which was in turn re-tweeted by an author I followed at the time.  It meant I saw this one-star review without ever having encountered the author.  I knew nothing about his book until this moment.

You’ll see exactly why I was so intrigued.

This is the review that I saw:

In case you’re using a screen reader or other access requirements to read this blog, this is what the review says:

“Stopped reading once it turned out the wizard had a “husband” and every other “hero” character is a submissive beta male. If this kind of stuff titillates your progressive mind – this book is for you. If you are a normal red blooded male – stay away from this crap.”

Why I instantly bought that book

No word of a lie, I bought that book right there and then.

My first thought was:

I have a progressive mind in need of titillation!

The review told me everything I needed to know about Kings of the Wyld.

It even told me things that the blurb couldn’t.

I knew instantly that:

  • This wasn’t going to be yet another misogynistic Fantasy book
  • It had (positive) queer representation (I couldn’t be absolutely sure it was positive until I read it)
  • It probably wasn’t going to depict ‘normal, red-blooded’ male assaults on women
  • Any book that could wind this guy up has to be worth a read

How happy I was that I did


I was so happy I read this book because it was filled with literally-snorting-with-laughter moments, a wonderful, varied, flawed cast of characters coming together to overcome a common foe, all kinds of Fantasy creatures, and a Moog.

I recommend it to you, too, if this sounds like your sort of thing.  No pressure.

Let me know what you think

I’d love to know if you’ve ever bought a book based on a one-star review!  I bet it’s more common than people realise.

Let me know in the comments section below.

And, if you love Kings of the Wyld, give me a shout.

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