I rate the books I review out of 5. 1 being the lowest rating and 5 being the highest rating. I mark books on the following categories: Writing style, originality, entertainment and character development; I then give an overall rating based on these categories (which is not based on maths from the numbers I give but from personal overall feeling) and state whether I would ultimately recommend the book or not. For example:
Writing Style: 5/5
Character Development: 4/5
Would I recommend this book? Yes!
Here is an idea of how I decide on the mark I give each category:
Writing style: This is not just down to whether a book is technically written well or grammatically correct, but also how well the writing flows, if it has any flair or a distinct style, and most importantly, if it is engaging and draws the reader in.
Originality: This may seem like an odd category, as almost nothing in the bookish world is original and takes inspiration from something! However, when I mark originality, I am looking at whether the book feels fresh, but most importantly if an author has put their own spin on the story. A story can be as cliche as boy meets girl, but if it is completely owned by the author and written in a fresh way, it can get 5/5 for originality!
Entertainment: This is the category that holds the most weight for me when I consider my overall impression of a book. At the end of the day, something can be the most intelligent novel ever written, but if I didn’t enjoy it or it didn’t make me feel anything, that’s a problem! I feel that the main purpose of a book is that it makes you either feel something or question your views.
Character development: This is not based on whether a character is likable, but on how well rounded a character is. They need to be more than a stereotype or caricature, with likes and dislikes, and character flaws other than clumsiness! This goes for secondary characters too, ideally they will have their own personality and motives, and won’t simply be there to bring about a plot point.
My Overall Impression ratings can be interpreted as follows:
1/5 – This book was a complete disaster! I don’t have even one good thing to say about it and I have no idea how this book got past the publishers. It never gives me pleasure to give out a 1 star rating, but I feel it is very important to be honest.
2/5 – This book was pretty boring or written terribly, and there was nothing particularly good about it. It wasn’t completely awful and had a few limited shining moments, but I wouldn’t recommend it to a friend.
3/5 – This book was good! But it had some serious flaws, or it lost the story a bit somewhere in the middle, however it is probably still worth a read, but might be a bit forgettable in comparison to other novels. Additionally, it may be more enjoyable for some readers than for others….
4/5 – This book was excellent! But it still had a couple of flaws, e.g. I didn’t like a character or the plot took a while to get going. It’s almost perfect but not quite there. I would definitely recommend it to a friend! (I consider 4 stars to be an extremely good rating, not a mediocre one.)
5/5 – This book was absolutely amazing! I either couldn’t fault it at any point, or I could fault it for a couple of things but I enjoyed it so much that I no longer cared. It’s up there with the greats like J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter, J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights! This is a rare find so go and buy it right now!