Language and Linguistics

Literary review characteristics function and examples

Literary review

The literary review is an evaluation that is carried out around a literary text, which can be done orally or in writing. Another way to define it is as a criticism that an expert makes about a book in order to publicize the positive and negative aspects. On the other hand, this type of review makes strong arguments about the author and the work.

For example, you can make a literary review of the work of George RR Martin Clash of the Kings. The author of the literary review would explain what he thought of the novel, giving the reasons for his opinion, whether positive or negative.

The literary review can promote the reading of a certain work if the critic’s assessment is positive. Otherwise, the reader who examines the review may decide not to read the book because he trusts the judgment of the specialist. The reviews cover different spaces, therefore they can be about music, cinema, art, theater, among others.

On the other hand, the literary review is characterized by being brief, objective and neutral. The objectivity of the review is justified because the reviewer must be able to expose the good and the bad of the content they refer to. The author of the review must also be specific and precise about the points to be developed.

Regarding the structure of the literary review, it is composed of a title that is associated with the subject to be reviewed, it is also made up of an introduction , a body or development, a conclusion and, if necessary, bibliographic references. This variety of review can be given in a descriptive and informative way.

Characteristics of the literary review

The literary review is characterized by the following aspects:


The literary review is a short document, since the information disclosed must be concrete and synthesized for a better understanding. Some experts suggest that it should develop in approximately one and a half pages . Literary review characteristics function


The literary reviews are objective. This means that whoever performs it must put aside their personal opinions and own tastes. The neutral nature of these texts makes it possible for the reviewer to recognize the negative and positive aspects of the work they review.


Another characteristic of the literary review is that it is summarized, so you can focus on important aspects of the work. The reviewer’s capacity for synthesis arouses greater attention in the reading public and condenses the information.


The realization of a review of this type leads to an investigation of the aspects or themes that the author develops in the work. There its analytical character comes into play since the elements that will be developed throughout the review are discussed. Literary review characteristics function

Supported opinion

Although in previous paragraphs the objectivity of the literary review was explained, it is necessary to emphasize that in case the author wants to express his opinion. If so, it must be supported and based on solid, verifiable and real arguments. Otherwise, the review would lose credibility.

Parts of the literary review

Every literary review is structured by the following parts:

– Qualification

The title identifies the review and must be related to the content to be developed. The idea is that the title is attractive so that it captures the reading public, so it should be short.

On the other hand, if it bears the name of the work being reviewed, it must be accompanied by a striking word or phrase.

– Introduction

The introduction of the literary review is headed by the technical sheet of the work to be developed. This section contains the name of the author, the publishing house, the original title of the work, the number of pages, the year and the place of publication, among other aspects.

– Developing

In this part of the literary review, the synthesized and objective information of the work in question is exposed. The reviewer makes a kind of summary of the content and complements it with background related to the author and the book.

In addition, you can refer to the strategies, objectives and sources that the writer applied to carry out his literary text.

Criticism of the work

Within the development of the review, the critical arguments in relation to the work are exposed. In this section, the reviewer explains the strengths and weaknesses of the text based on previous research. In this part, the objectivity and neutrality of the person making the review is revealed.

– Conclution

The closing of the literary review consists of making a summary of all the points made in the previous sections. The creator of the review adds comments and recommendations taken from the work itself, preventing their personal opinions from being imposed and biasing the content developed.

– Facts about the reviewer

This part refers to the exposure of the data and information of the creator of the review. Either your name, profession, professional experience, previous reviews and contacts in social networks or email.

– Bibliography

The bibliography is based on placing the data from the sources consulted by the reviewer to carry out the review. It is usually located at the end of the work developed.


The function of the literary review is based on a criticism or evaluation of a specific literary work. The reviewer objectively argues the advantages and disadvantages, the positive and negative aspects and helps the reader to develop their own criteria to decide whether or not to read the literary work.

How to write a literary review

The steps to follow to prepare a literary review are described below:


The first step in conducting a literary review is to organize and plan how the storylines of the work will be explained. The reviewer must devise the intention and purpose of the work, as well as the audience to which it is going to be addressed and the title that it will give to its writing. The organization involves researching the work and the author.


Before preparing the definitive review, it is important to make a draft in which all the ideas are reflected, in this way the aspects and arguments that consolidate the literary review can be modified. In this step, the reviewer shapes all the elements previously investigated in relation to the work.

On the other hand, the director of the review presents his views on the work objectively and with support. It also reveals the positive and negative characteristics and makes possible recommendations. Literary review characteristics function

Preparation of the review

Once the author of the review has adjusted all the details in the draft, corrected and revised all the developed aspects, he should proceed to the final and final elaboration. It is important that you use a cultured, coherent, clear and easily understood language for the public.

The final preparation of the literary review must comply with the structure described in previous paragraphs. In this way, the text will have a logical sense and at the same time organized, together with the parts that make up the review, it will be more attractive to the reader.

Brief examples

– Xanina, the little fairy from the fountain by Isabel Fernández Bernaldo de Quirós

Editorial Grupo Tierra Trivium.

Year 2019.

Illustrations by Rosa Ureña.

“… Isabel Fernández presents us the adventures of Xanina, a little fairy who has lost her mother. This absence forces the little girl to assume obligations, so to speak, as adults, in her case taking care of a fountain and the group of animals that swarm around …

“But even though she is a fairy, Xanina is still a child, and as such she needs to experience new things, go on adventures, enter the world of the unexpected… She decides to get out of her comfort zone to find out where the water that reaches the source comes from…

“This element, that of estrangement, is not new in children’s stories. Not surprisingly, the Russian anthropologist and linguist Vladimir Propp chose the element of ‘detachment’ … as the first of his 31 narrative functions …

“In Xanina, the little fairy of the fountain, that distance, advised against by the wise men of the place … is going to bring him some or other displeasure, but also satisfactions …”.

– Confusing labyrinth by Javier Sánchez Menéndez

Editorial Renacimiento.

Year 2016.

“Javier Sánchez Menéndez’s writing is easily recognizable because throughout his various works he has developed a style that defines him. His poetic prose, his fixation for details and at the same time for the universal, his philosophical character and his pictorial narrative is evident in each of his books.

“In the case of (Ed. Renacimiento 2016) we find a halo of nostalgia that surrounds the work from beginning to end. The doubling of the self, duality (angel-devil, light-darkness, among others), the weight of the past, everyday life or philosophical thought are also part of this work in which the author places us in points such as Mexico and Argentina, or take us to places like Lake Constance, Paris, Cádiz or Moguer … Literary review characteristics function

“… Confusing labyrinth also lives up to its title, where much of what is described corresponds to a chaotic whole where the intangible … and the invisible … become vitally important.”

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