Let's get one thing clear; it's wrong. An author has nothing to do with the books they write. There's also a difference between reviewing an author, and reviewing his book. Lately, however, I noticed I'm prone to form a general opinion on a book based on it's author.
It all started with Hugh Howey's controversy. Wool was one of the books I considered as interesting. Honestly, it wasn't on my TBR list, but after reading the post? There's a slim chance it will ever be. Now, I'm sure Hugh Howey is brilliant. He's a self published author who made it. Big time. And for that, he's got my respect. I can't however imagine reading his book. Why? Basically I'm one of those people who have utter respect for the person who writes books. Self published or not, the lone act of finishing a book gains my respect. More over, I like to read a book and go "Holy shit, this author is brilliant!" This is the reason I enjoy books. It's the authors. Their brilliance and imagination is what makes a book what it is. While Hugh might be all those things, he also revealed a side of him that takes out of the "perfect author" image I usually like to conjure.
Now I know I might be playing in risky water here, but here's another example: Cassandra Clare. Cassandra is probably one of the most successful YA writers in recent years. She has a fandom. Like an actual fandom. When I watch her interviews, you can tell she's a pretty sweet person. So what's the problem, you ask? Well, there is this whole plagiarism deal. I only read about if after finishing City of Bones, but that's not my point here. Whether you agree City of Bones in fact contains plagiarized ideas is up to you. My problem is the insane amount of books that are constantly being written in that series. A prequel, a sequel, a graphic novel, a movie franchise, a companion series, AND a spinoff? Seriously? This series has turned into a cash machine. I previously talked about how much I dislike it when any form of art is turned into a way of making bucks. What I meant back then was books being turned into movies. Now, I'm talking about books turning into.. well? More books! Again, I can't imagine reading a series that is based on such materialistic means. While most authors write for a living, most of them also write because they want to. What sets apart being an author is that it takes talent. Much like singing, or for example acting. When an actor is all about the money, he'll agree to do mainstream movies. Sure, he'll make good bucks, but will people remember him/her in 10 year's time? I doubt it. Now I wouldn't lie and say I didn't enjoy City of Bones or City of Ashes. I did. But will I remember it in two years time? I doubt it.
Pardon me, I kinda strayed off of my original point. Which is, does that mean I'm judging the book by it's author? Moreover, should I judge a book by it's author? Well, let me answer both questions separately.
Am I judging the book by it's author?
Frankly, it's kind of hard to answer that question. For one, I'm pretty sure I'm biased. The answer that first comes to me is hell no, I don't! Well, how about I lay the facts and you be the judge? My initial rating for CoB was 5 stars. However, after giving it some thought, it went down to 4 stars. This might be because of the whole plagiarism thing, which yes, I read about after finishing CoB, or because I had changed my opinion after a while. Granted, CoB was the one of the first fantasy/ paranormal I read. I had no experience in the genre, or in reviewing all in all. Once I had other books to compare it too, things got a little different. I could tell the "ok" writing from the good writing. I could point out the plot holes in both City of Bones and City of Ashes. Is this all a result of my opinion of the author? Am I being super critical of the story because of the author?
Should I judge the book by it's author?
Here's the easy answer: No. Let me get it out first that there is a difference between judging a book and reviewing it. Sounds stupid, eh? Let me explain. Say if the reason I didn't like the book was in fact due to the author, what does that leave for the review? Well, the complete truth, ofcourse. I don't review authors, I review their books. If, however, the aforementioned situation occurs, I'll state it in my review. I'll say guys, this book is pretty cool, the reason it got a bad rating, is because I've got mixed feelings about the author. It's the least a reviewer can do. Let the reader be the judge. This includes every other reviewer out there. If your opinion is affected by your feelings, the least you can do is admit it. Personally, I don't read books that I have a prejudicial opinion on.
So the moral of the story? Try to be as unbiased a reviewer as you can. We all slip once in a while and mix things, myself included. I'm admitting that sometimes, deep deep down, I'm judging a book by it's author. But the first step to recovery is admitting your problem, right? (or something less dramatic, perhaps.)