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Reviews and Recommendations
> Review criteria - what's "good" and what's "bad"?
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Jun 08, 2012 09:51PM
I'm really curious how everyone goes about determining what books get how many stars and what they end up saying about the book. Like, what are the dimensions you take into account when reviewing?
I'll go first, since I brought it up (although my system is kind of weird).
When I review a book, I discuss what I like, what I didn't like, any relevant information pertaining to the topic based on my own personal knowledge base, thoughts and feelings about characters, any quotes i liked or hated, and usually a couple funny memes.
My rating is based on:
1. How much I liked the book as a whole.
2. How it compares in quality to similar books in the same genre.
3. Whether I would ever consider reading it again (or have already read it to pieces).
4. Whether I would ever consider recommending it to someone else.
5. Whether I would ever want it/or its sequel, so badly that I would be willing to buy it wholesale, hot off the press?
1. Of grammar and syntax.
2. Of the overall prose.
3. Of dialog.
4. Of plot and resolution.
5. Of the characters (do I like them? hate them? have a crush on them? would I want to be their friend? or would I want to defenestrate them from a tenth floor window?).
1. How does the novel compare to his/her other works?
2. Whether this is/was her debut effort?
3. Whether or not I have read the first/previous books in the series (if it is a series)?
4. Whether the novel was published at a legitimate publishing institution, indie press/alternative press institution, or released as an ebook?
1. Is the author a big jerk who harasses his/her reviewers? Or are they nice? Did I win their book from a Goodreads giveaway? Did they--or their publisher--specifically ask me to read and review their book and tell me what kind of feedback they expected? Was it valid?
2. Do they use their book as a mouthpiece to belittle or foist their own personal views upon the reader?
3. Does the author have similar taste in literature to me? Do their own writings reflect this taste? Do they do it well?
So yeah, as you can see, I have a whole system going on. Sorry it's soooooo long. Annnd--sorry I'm a huge nerd. I'm the daughter of an English teacher and hope to become either a teacher or an editor one day (anything word-nerdy), so I guess you could say it kind of runs in my blood. :)
Jun 09, 2012 12:12AM
I'm easily entertained (I don't give 5 stars only to life-changing books - or I'd give none. My life was never changed by books, LOL). So, as long as there's a story, a plot without holes and characters that talk a lot, not too much description and a decent pace, I'm fine.
I overlook typos and grammar on indie authors, but if there's a publisher behind that should have provided editing, I'll say it.
Jun 09, 2012 06:47AM
My first criteria is whether it kept me interested. I seldom give 5 stars, but if I enjoyed it and some imaginative ideas kept me interested it's probably a 4.
I can't say I analyse it extensively or concern myself about the author's personality, but if they push an agenda it will reflect in the book negatively.
If a book is well-written but not my cup of tea, I'll acknowledge the fact.
(last edited Jun 27, 2012 01:15AM)
Jun 27, 2012 12:56AM
I tend to rave about books that I like. I'm a high rater--4.25 average on GR. 'Amazing' usually means that I really, really liked it. Remember that I'm a writer though, I don't read or rate books that I would give lower than three stars to (I liked it).
My pet peeves would have to be telling, instead of showing--drives me batty, makes it dry, makes me skim pages. It's hard as writer to avoid it. If we use it sparingly we can get away with it, but to me it's annoying.
I try to be more accepting of indie authors (I'm one myself), a few typos are fine, but if the book is riddled with them...
I couldn't give a toss about the writer themselves (other than later feelings of admiration etc). It just doesn't come into it as I read the work. (However, in a recent book, I found myself very aware that the author was female and it reflected in her male character. It didn't make me rate it lower, just an interesting observation.)
I also don't give much of a toss about moral issues either. Do I think that Patrick Suskind, the author of 'Perfume', is a twisted and tainted being? What about Nabakov, is he a closet pedophile. Hah! Aren't we taking political correctness too far? They are writers, love it or hate it, but let it flow.
Aug 09, 2012 03:16PM
I review whether I liked it, did it hold my interest and the quality of the writing. Take Fallout: Equestria, for instance, it held my attention for the longest until I mysteriously stopped reading it (that happens when I try to read novels, it's why i stick with short stories).
Dec 07, 2012 08:07AM
I usually rate books pretty high. If I think that it's worthy of only 1 or 2 stars I usually won't finish it. That could depend on several factors. For example,
The Great Stink
is very well written but a chapter or two into it I realised that it's actually all about poo. Turned out to be more description than I care to read. That doesn't mean that it isn't a good book; it just wasn't for me.
I tend to give 5 stars to books which make me think about them long after I've read them.
Ready Player One
was like that for me. Looking at my books on Goodreads, I can see that there were quite a few books which I've put in that category.
Grammar and spelling are definitely factors in my rating system. I don't have a problem with an odd typo here and there, but when a story is riddled with them it pulls me right out of my immersion.
I also hate cliches! If anyone in a story has arms as big as tree trunks or if their eyes get as big as dinner plates, I'll put it down.
I will also stop reading a book if it feels like I'm reading someone's first draft. There's no excuse for not editing your work properly. It may take longer, but I think that it's worth it.
Those are the things I think about when I'm rating something. The story doesn't have to be deep or have any profound meaning; it just has to be a really good story which is well written and has interesting characters.
Dec 07, 2012 08:51PM
Nenia wrote: "I'm really curious how everyone goes about determining what books get how many stars and what they end up saying about the book. Like, what are the dimensions you take into account when reviewing?
Wow, your review system is scary. I'm not too sure I'd want you to review my short story book (no offense intended, but my book isn't constructed like usual books. I'm not too good with prose and...well...it might be too unusual). But your review system is also one that I've seen Top 10 Reviewers on Amazon use. Truth be told, reviews scare me and I am afraid of getting them (but i'm always ready for 'em). I might adopt your review system when I begin reviewing short stories.
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The Great Stink
Ready Player One
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