Book Review Terminology for Book Bloggers

Smartie-Pants Review Terminology
Sound Like a Winner Not a Weiner


Antagonist – The character or characters that is against the main character or hero.

Anti-climax, anti-climatic – The opposite of the climactic ending, a fizzle, a disappointment.

Anti-hero – Not a hero – an anti-hero. This is the main character in a story, movie or play who isn’t the good guy. Their actions lack morals, or has very questionable actions. The anti-hero is not a villain.

Archetype – A stereotype of a certain person, thing or situation. Very typical of a certain embodiment. The flawed hero, the Damsel in Distress, star-crossed lovers, the heroic journey, good vs. evil.


Bildungsroman – A novel that covers the growth of a character. Bildungsroman focuses on a young character that progresses into adulthood, a sort of coming of age that follows a character that is looking for answers. DAVID COPERFIELD is a very typical Bildungsroman.


Convention – “The Norm.” This is an established technique, style, structure that is common in novels.


Diction – The style in which the characters speak, the wording and phrasing of the novel.


Fatal Flaw – The thing that leads to the downfall of the character.


Hook – Also called Narrative Hook, this is the thing that keeps readers “hooked” into the book.


Irony – Humorously contrary. When something happens or an event that is opposite of what is expected.


Jargon – Terms and words that are used in a certain way or style within a particular setting, profession or group.


Magical Realism – Contemporary with a few supernatural or extraordinary events or people.

Motif – A symbol within a story. It is a reoccurring idea that pushes the theme of the novel forward, like the central message of the story.


Narrative – The story is the narrative. It is usually told by narration, first-person narration or from a third-person narrator.

Nemesis – The nemesis is from the Greek goddess of revenge. A nemesis is the competitor, not always good or evil.


Paradox – Not what was expected. This is usually used when describing an idea or opinion that is not normal.

Point of View – Which head do you reside within? This is the point of view. The way in which the novel is narrated. There are three accepted POVs, first person, in which the character is telling the story, the use of I, we, us. Second person is probably the least used, it uses the pronoun you. Third person is usually a narrator, he, she, it etc.

Prologue – What came before the story – that is the prologue. Usually a chapter or scene before the novel’s timeline begins.

Prose – The flow of the novel, the flow of the structure of the speech and sentences.

Protagonist – The main character, the hero or heroine.


Rising Action – A series of events or scenes that build action within the plot.


Satire – A way to criticize society, government or general humanity through the use of humor and irony.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy – Actions of a character that lead to an expected end, brought about because the character expected them and acted in a way that led to the ending situation.

Setting – Where the novel takes place. The city or the world.

Stream of Consciousness – Inner/Interior monologue. The thoughts of the character.

Subplot – Just what the term suggest, this is the secondary plot or another level of the novel.

Superlative – A really big description of three or more objects.


Theme – The main thought, idea or meaning of the novel.

Tragic Flaw – See Fatal Flaw. This one leads to the downfall of the character.

Transition – the flow of the sentences in a novel, the transitions are phrases that connect the sentences together.

Trope – Term, image, or word that is used for effect within the novel. Irony is a trope. Trope can also be a cliche within a novel.

Truism – Something accepted as self-evident or true within a story.


Voice – The narrator’s style. Or the author’s writing style. The author’s personality that shows through within the writing is the Voice.

Zoomorphism – Humans acting like animals, objects that have animal attributes.