Negative reviews are absolutely for the reader and no one else. This is a hill most people would happily die on.
I have seen many arguments about negative reviews in my years of blogging and it usually ends up coming down to who reviews are for and if authors should know about them.
It’s quite easy to start reviewing books and thinking the author needs to know your thoughts or how will they improve their writing next time, right?
Some authors hate any sort of criticism even if the rest of the review is glowing, some authors think anything under five star is crap and most can agree they don’t like to be tagged as they can’t respond/do anything about the criticism being offered.
After all the book is published now, they can’t go back and edit it.
This entire argument is nuanced and there’s been bad behaviour by both authors and readers alike so my advice is simply this: Don’t stop writing negative reviews, just stop making authors aware of them.
So while I enjoy negative reviews immensely I have learned that my reviews are for me and you and no one else.
My reasons for loving negative reviews are:
They are very often hilarious
Most of the reviews I read that genuinely make me laugh out loud are negative reviews. Nothing gets people inspired like a book they hated. I’ve genuinely laughed at negative reviews for books I thought were amazing. Just because I love something doesn’t mean I can’t see it’s flaws. A perfect example of this is Readwithcindy’s reviews on ACOTAR, which had me crying actual tears despite the fact I really like that series.
What you hate I might love
A review that says everything is amazing is great for the author but doesn’t really help me discern if I will like that book. I usually know better what I won’t like than what I will like. So if someone writes an essay-like rant on a book series that they felt had too much fan service, that tells me that I probably won’t enjoy the book either. As I hate when a book series ends up playing up to the fans and loses itself.
Negative reviews can inspire new readers
Negative reviews can have the opposite effect and inspire people to pick up a book rather than put it down. I am very much a “I would rather see for myself kind of person” and I am not usually put off by negative reviews unless they mention specific tropes or themes I don’t like. EVEN THEN I might read it for the hell of it.
I think negative reviews in general appeal to a certain type of reader. I myself don’t generally read reviews until after I have already read the book. I am usually just looking to see if anyone else has the same opinion as me.