― David Mitchell, Black Swan Green
There are two kinds of books in the world: the books you love and the books you rate.
And so, a caveat on my ratings and reviews:
I. On the Nature
Reviews and ratings are personal, that is to say they are rendered and delivered from a certain perspective, distinct and derived from a multitude of factors exclusive to the reviewer. Reviews and ratings should never be treated as conclusive but should be taken in with care, seen from a distance, and critically read. Good reviews offer an insight in the book, as concise and
substantial as possible yet does not unprecedentedly spoil the book. Reviews and ratings are not the book themselves. We READ the book and NOT the reviews.
II. On the Criteria
A. The writing:
one star: ill at ease and tongue tied, fallible dictions, hackneyed phrase
five stars: meaningful, consistent in tone
B. The structure and verisimilitude:
one star: characters behave erratically and inconsistently, sometimes stupidly, sometimes brilliantly without reason or a clear logical explanation to plot, existence of plot holes, recurring plot
five stars: characters and world make sense, characters act according to their personality and psychology, plot is well-paced, transitions smoothly
C. The ideas explored:
one star: inherent contradictions, unexplored ideas, insensible, reliance on author filibustering
five stars: radical idea, well presented through consistent and logical plots and characters, a combination of a voluminous number of perspective, themes and philosophies that coalesce into a story nothing short of perfection