You may or may not have seen it, but in my last published review (Angelfall by Susan Ee) I added a little extra thing to my review. Some sort of “sub-ratings“. I actually wanted to write a post about this to explain you why I’m doing this and how much these little aspects mean to me. I hope you will enjoy this!
There may be times that you enjoy a book a lot, despite his many flaws. You can fall in love with the characters and yet hate the plot or writing style. Or the opposite: you can fly thought the pages because it’s addictive, but dislike the main character so much. That’s why I’ve wanted to change my way to review books. I’ve actually wanted to do this for quite a while now, because lately I’ve been a bit torn regarding how I rate my books.
I’ve settled on five aspects that are important to me and I’ve explained shortly why I picked them and how I would want it:
Now, before you throw the quote “Don’t judge a book by its cover” at my face, just be honest with yourself first too. We all judge the covers! It’s the first thing you see and it should convince you to take a look at it and read the back. But this criterion is just about me liking the cover or not, I’m not judging the book 🙂 I love colorful covers with a gorgeous font for the title and those little ‘touchy effects’ when you rub them (you do know what I mean, right?). Ugly covers that seem to be put together by a five year old are less likely (but not impossible!) to be picked up. And I know, sometimes good books are unfortunate to have an “ugly” cover… But yeah, this is just about me liking the cover or not.
The writing style should grip me from the start. If it’s too detailed, slow-paced and plain, it won’t work for me. A good written book should have a fair amount of dialogue, is quick/easy to read and should be able to captivate the reader’s attention. And of course: too long /short sentences are undesirable and can be very annoying.
Other things that are important to me: the scenery, the length of the chapters, the length of the book, …
The characters are extremely important. Authors who ruin a plot with a lot of potential with boring characters are the worst thing ever. I think it’s essential to feel somewhat connected to the main character. Whether it is because of your similar personality or the hate towards that one character/thing. A character development through the book is also something I’m very fond of.
Another aspect that’s quite crucial to me is how the voice of the main character reflects her/his age. If a 15 year old speaks or thinks like a full grown adult by using unpronounceable words (or the opposite), well… obviously it will annoy me to death.
Originality is a very rare thing these days. A predictable plot does not motivate you to read until the end. There are so many topics that are constantly used as a so-called “unexpected twist”. The boyfriend has a rare sickness, a long lost family member, a love triangle, a lost Princess… Using a “common” topic is not bad, it just needs a little twist of the author that we, as reader, will remember.
Suspenseful and fast-paced books are awesome. Romantic and cheesy books are required regularly (to me at least). But it must be well-built by the author. If it’s a fantasy novel, then the scenery must be well thought. It doesn’t have to be super detailed (that’s why we have our imagination), but it should at least have a few good descriptions of the scenery.
I think it’s obvious how the ending affects your judgment towards the book. The ending to a standalone or series should have all my questions answered. Unfinished plot lines is a things that bothers me so much! When there will be a next book in the series, I don’t mind a good cliffhanger though.
The best situation is: when I’m so connected to the characters that I don’t realize I’m not the main character and I’m not fighting those supernatural creatures or when you don’t notice your surroundings anymore because you’re so into it. Or even when not reading it is torture and you can’t stop thinking about it until you’ve finished the book/series. So, the average of the four aspects mentioned above will define my overall rating for a book.