Reviewers Attack and Counter-Attack

By Anne Marble: Molly X. Chang is one of those authors whose upcoming book (To Gaze Upon Wicked Gods) was first attacked (review-bombed) by Cait Corrain. Now, she is being attacked by some reviewers. And they claimed her fans were attacking them over their negative reviews of her ARC.

Reportedly, it started when Chang had issues with some early one-star reviews (because she figured out that one of the reviewers was related to another author with an upcoming debut). She was worried about being review-bombed yet again. So some reviewers claimed they were being attacked by Chang’s followers. Some wonder if that was true, as shown in this tweet:

Chang was accused of “doxing” a reviewer. But from what I can tell, all Chang did was link the identity of a Goodreads reviewer to her Instagram account. That is not doxing. Chang did not post her address, phone number, etc. But now, that reviewer is allegedly telling people to post one-star reviews of the Chang book. What?!

Some of these reviewers accused Chang of writing a “colonizer” romance inspired by her grandfather’s horrible experiences in China (during the Second Sino-Japanese War). These “reviewers” are giving everyone the impression that the bad guys are based on the Japanese — and that the book is about the notorious Unit 731. But others have pointed out that the book is a fantasy novel — and the bad guys are based on the Roman Empire.

The reviewers might have great points. Maybe the book isn’t great. Maybe it is not nuanced in the way it deals with trauma.

But those points got lost in this mess.  Especially once people started sending racist and violent posts to Chang. Also, people have had to point out that … Writers are allowed to write about dark things that are inspired by their ancestors’ pasts. Just because they do that doesn’t mean they are “normalizing” those things or “fetishizing” them or whatever the claim is this time.

Chang was forced to comment on these accusations — and provide spoilers for her book to settle some of the controversies. She had to spoil that the book is not an “enemies-to-lovers” romance. That the “love interest” in this book is not the actual love interest in the series, and that the heroine comes to realize how terrible he is.

Here are some of her tweets:

There is a Reddit discussion here: “Does anyone know what’s up with To Gaze Upon Wicked Gods on Goodreads?”

Some people have started taking notes on these so-called reviewers — not only questioning their claims but also questioning their motives.

Here is a screencap of one of Chang’s posts.

Also, here is a post from someone claiming the reviewers have been harassed:

Andrea Stewart commented on X: