I have seen a lot of bitching about Kirkus Indies reviews recently and given that I have a soap box, I am going to stand on it. Here is what I have seen, and my take on it.
Kirkus is a legit review site that people are impressed by, right?
To some extent: yes. But when it comes to their fee-charging site Kirkus Indies: no. In most cases all that a review from this site proves is that the author had $425 to waste. There are some exceptions where authors who know how to market took advantage of the perceived prestige of the Kirkus name with certain reading audiences.
Kirlkus indies will always trash your books because their reviewers are from rival publishers.
No. You may have paid them money, but that was for the review, not what was in it. The review will be honest, possibly scathingly so, possibly constructed specifically to prevent you from pulling out any positive phrases to use in your marketing efforts. If the reviewer hated your book, they just hated your book. It happens.
Even trade publisher and best-selling authors pay for their Kirkus Review.
No, the don't. They go to the main Kirkus site and submit their book many months before publication in the hope of getting a free review that will be placed on the main website, not the Indies online ghetto. This approach to getting a review is free.