No two people read the same book, and one person can never read the same book twice. Because the moment of each reading, in itself, is so important to how we view a book, I’m going to weigh that heavily in my reviews.

For me, the overall reading experience outweighs any individual elements of a book, from craft and style, to characters and plot, to world-building and detail.

Here is my system, so you understand where my reviews are coming from. I’m considering five different categories, and while there is certainly overlap between them, I think they’re worth considering separately:

  1. Enjoyment
  2. Style and Content
  3. The Author
  4. Recommendations
  5. Compatibility: If This Book Was a Person…

Enjoyment

What was the reading experience like?

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I loved it. Every moment was a pleasure. Couldn’t put it down, didn’t want it to end, my mind is blown.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It was lovely, “a pleasure to have in (reading) class.” I definitely got what I hoped for in a reading experience.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I liked it. It may not have been my ideal reading experience, but it was worth the time I spent on it.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

So, I didn’t like it. It wasn’t fun to read, or at least not fun to finish. I want to rant about it, and I’m disappointed.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

I straight up hated it. I’m angry, and can’t decide if I wish I hadn’t put myself through reading it, or if I’m glad I did because now I know to avoid more like it.


Style and Content

How do I feel about the author’s stylistic choices? Their use of characters, plot, world, imagery, and narrative techniques?

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Perfection. Was there anything I didn’t like?
If I really wanted to nitpick… but nah. This work of art is exactly what I like to see. Truly brilliant.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This writer knows what they’re doing, and they have some tricks up their sleeve. Their stylistic choices definitely pay off. Are there a few things I didn’t love? Sure. But that didn’t get in my way.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I appreciate what I got out of this book, but the things I didn’t like annoyed me enough to distract from the things I did like. I may or may not have a bone to pick with this author as far as craft is concerned.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

The bad outweighs the good to the point I’m not sure the good is even there…? If it is, it isn’t worth the effort of finding it. Whatever the author is trying to do, it’s not working for me.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

This book isn’t so much stylistically unpleasant as it is straight up problematic, either because of bigotry or because it isn’t transparent about ratings, triggers, and general maturity of content, to the point that I consider it irresponsible or harmful.


The Author

In light of this read, how do I feel about the author?

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Tell me there’s more. I can’t wait to read more by this human. If they weren’t one of my faves before, they are now. Absolute masterclass in authorship.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’d 100% read more stuff written by this human.
I trust them to deliver a good story, and I like both falling into and analyzing their craft.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I may not go out of my way to read this author again, but there’s no ill-will. I’m neutral on them for now. Maybe another book of theirs would change my mind one way or another.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I probably wouldn’t read this author again. It just doesn’t seem worth the effort, because my tastes don’t align with theirs. Oh well.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

I have issues with this human, to some degree or other. I don’t want to support them, and may discourage others from supporting them as well.


Recommendations

Would I recommend this book, and if so, to whom?

Rating: 5 out of 5.

You’re telling me to shut up about this book.
Ok, everyone is telling me to shut up about this book. But seriously, you should read it. Right now. I dare you.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’ve probably mentioned this book to you, at least once. If I think it’s your cup of tea, I will tell you to read it. Maybe I’ll buy it for you for your birthday. Please pretend to be surprised.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I might recommend this book to specific people I think would appreciate it, but any recommendation would be accompanied by caveats. I have a reputation to maintain.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I wouldn’t recommend this book, and if it comes up in conversation I’ll tell people why I wouldn’t. But I’m not going to tell people not to read it.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

I will actively discourage other people from reading this book. Just… trust me. It’s not worth your time.


Compatibility

If this book were a person…

Rating: 5 out of 5.

…we’d totally be soulmates. Their kiss would wake me from an enchanted sleep. I would break the curse that ‘binds’ them. (Get it? Binds them?)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

…I would want to be their friend. I’d seek out opportunities to talk to them one-on-one at parties. I’d add them on all the socials. I would definitely want them to like me.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

…we probably wouldn’t make good roommates.
We could be productive, friendly coworkers. We could share a friend group. But we’d probably never be best buds. We’re just a little too different.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

…we’d annoy the hell out of each other. Like, they’re not my arch-nemesis or anything, but I don’t like them. It’s probably best for everyone if the two of us just keep our distance from one another.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

…we’d be actual, literal enemies. This is the kind of person who throws up so many red flags I feel like I’ve stumbled into the Soviet Union. Our fundamental values are at odds with each other, and I don’t trust them for a second.

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