What's interesting is how diverse they can be. Take these two for example, both written about Psion Beta, and both less than a month ago:
"....I have ever read anything that was so powerful in action and character development.
It was beautifully written with few flaws.
But all together brilliant."
"... The characters had no real depth to them. By the end, I couldn't really tell you much about them...aside from the fact that Sammy's love interest is not a likeable character."
Crazy, huh? Part of the process of being a writer is learning that once your work is available for consumption, you lose some ownership over it. Whoever buys it owns their own interpretation of it. They become a part of the artistic process in that they are the end receiver. And ultimately, their opinion matters. That doesn't mean it's the authors fault, necessarily, what they think of it, but that it matters nonetheless.
I have learned that reviews should be discarded and forgotten individually. Some people will love it too much, some people will hate it too much. But through them collectively an author can learn. Here's some things I learned from Psion Beta reviews:
1. I was not successful in conveying the Jeffie I saw in my mind. I like her as a character. I like her flaws and her strengths. Many readers did not. That is on me.
2. People's political and religious opinions will impose themselves upon the material that they read. Some people think Psion Beta is anti-American. Others think it is pro-American.
3. Some readers hate cliffhangers (even going so far as to be offended by them), others don't mind them.
4. While I thought Psion Beta had a fast awesome start, many readers struggled with the beginning up until chapter 3.
These nuggets of info came from reading hundreds of reviews, something many writers aren't fortunate enough to receive. However, there is another way to receive feedback, and that is to ask people to read your work and give it to them for free. I've found measuring feedback to be a very delicate matter. A writer can't take every piece of feedback to heart, because he will give up some level of control over his work. On the other hand, when receiving the same piece of advice from multiple people, serious consideration should be given to their counsel.
Speaking of writing, Psion Omega is going well. I'm closing in on 50K words!