I would argue that reviewers should not.
Why not? Here’s my reasoning.
I could review literary fiction. I’m qualified. I have a bachelors in English as a writing art. I understand the conventions of literary fiction. I’m versed in its themes and structure.
However, since I don’t *like* those conventions, I would bemoan the lack of plot, the passive actions of the characters and the use of language which draws attention to the words and not the story. I would, in short, criticize the very aspects of the work that readers of literary fiction enjoy, while ignoring the qualities potential readers need to know to make the decision to buy.
Recently, I read a review of a book in which the reviewer stated from the first paragraph that she was uncomfortable with the sub-genre of the book. That for whatever reason, she was too distracted by the conventions of the sub-genre to “get in” to the book.
At the end, the review was fairly positive, but this overlying factor, the reviewer’s personal bias, made it very difficult for a reader of the review to get a good sense of whether it was worthwhile to read the book or not, and that after all is the whole point of a review.
I’m not trying to say reviewers aren’t at liberty to give a bad review. If we, as readers are to trust reviewers, they must be honest in their opinions, but reviewing in a genre we don’t like does a disservice to both us and the reader. The reviewer loses the time spent reading the book and writing the review and the reader is exactly where she started before she read the review.
What do you think? Should we review sub-genres were don’t like?