I really want to start doing some book reviews, but trying to pull things out of my head is actually pretty hard. So I’m coming up with some categories I want to brush for different books. Ratings will be out of ten for all categories. Spoilers in reviews will be common, but I’ll try to note when/if I need to discuss something majorly spoilery, I’ll mark the appropriate section.
Did it have a good plot? Was everything strung together, with subplots adding instead of distracting or bogging things down? Did it surprise me? Was it supposed to surprise me? How many times have I read this plot before? If so, did it do anything new with an old plot? Did it at least do a good job with straight run of an old plot?
Did I like the characters? Were they interesting and well rounded with flaws and personalities? Were there any characters that didn’t fit my expectations? Were there any ‘Pants’ characters present? Who were my favorite characters? The last will not directly affect rating, but I’ll make a note because I find that fun.
How well designed is the world? Did I have fun with the world? Does it feel like a complete world, even if I didn’t get all the details? Did I buy it? Where did it break? Did it break to the point where I spent an hour bitching at my roommate about the breakage? High score indicates a well thought out, carefully constructed world that adds to the story instead of distracting. Low scores indicate something fundamentally broken in the world that kept distracting me.
Straight up, how well written is it? I will also include the narrative style (first, third, etc), because that can actually change my mind, as a reader, on whether I want to pick up some books. (Third person limited is my favorite, but hardly a deal breaker if its not. And clinically well written first will get lots of smiles out of me.)
Gibbs Grin Points:
This is a category to cover how much I flat out enjoyed or didn’t enjoy the book. This is because sometimes a book can be clinically awful, but be an utter delight to read. This category will also get bonus points for having some of my favorite things.
How healthy are the relationships? Are unhealthy relationships treated as unhealthy and problematic in the work, or are bad behaviors rewarded? This isn’t a matter of how creepy the book is supposed to be. A horror novel can have a low creep factor, because this category is about unintentional creep. Horror novels are supposed to be full of warning stories and bad relationships. Creep factor here is about things put in the story that are creepy or deeply unhealthy that the author doesn’t seem to be aware of. Twilight, for example, has a ridiculously high creep factor. Not because of vampires. But because stalker-abuser as the Perfect Man is a terrible message to give to teenage girls, making the book incredibly creepy.
Is there romance? How central to the plot is it? Does the romance feel more important than the world saving that is supposed to be the plot? High ase-scores mean less romance. Ten would be a complete plot with no romance whatsoever, relationships are all familial or platonic. Nine might have already withstanding married characters whose relationship is not the focus of the story, but are present as romantically involved. Anything with romance as a significant piece of the story will get no higher than a five. Most things put on the romance shelf will get a very low ase-score. This is not because they are bad books, but because they have a lot of romance. And I am sick of the vast amount of romance stories in the world, so I’d like a category to highlight works that are not romance focused. Some books may score a twee higher in this category for putting in atypical romances, such as poly relationships or homosexual romances.
I will average the above and give a final rating, as well as any last thoughts I have on the book.