Are You Trying to Rate a Book 5 Stars?
Well, aren’t we all trying to rate a book 5 stars? That would certainly be nice, encountering more 5 star reads. But what makes something worth that many stars anyway? Thankfully, Shanah @ Bionic Bookworm did the asking this week, and Top 5 Tuesday is BACK with an answer!
So. What makes a book worth all those precious stars to me? My picks today don’t guarantee 5 stars as individual features, but more often than not, seeing them in combination with one another pushes them closer!
On a personal level, seeing positive, well-written rep for any of my own marginalized identities always strikes me and impacts my perception of a book, usually for the positive. And learning from OwnVoices reviewers of identities other than my own that a book does a good job offering them representation does the same! I think it’s incredibly important to have diverse books out there, and from a variety of OV authors, since no one experience is the same as another. Seeing this carried out well in a book is always a plus.
Plot Twists That Shock Me
If you’ve been around my blog for any length of time, you’ve probably heard that I’m really good at guessing plot twists. Of course, when an author can sneak in a plot twist that both surprises me and makes perfect sense in hindsight, I’m super impressed! There’s a sense of satisfaction to guessing where a book will go, but there’s real joy in only catching up right as the plot twist unfurls!
Masterful Plot Progression
Even if there isn’t a plot twist that hits me in the face like a ton of bricks, I like a solid plot all the same. Make it a tight plot, without any gaping holes, and make it make sense. And when we’re talking series plots, make it tie into a greater arc even when the current problem gets solved! When an author ties all the pieces together smoothly, I tend to boost a book’s rating.
Vibrant Characters All Around
I don’t just mean the main cast (though a lively set of protagonists is always good). I want to see antagonists with full personalities, minor characters who feel like more than props. Hell, the main character’s pet cat should have some personality, too! Really, while not every character can be the star of the show, I love seeing casts that feel fully fleshed out instead of existing as convenient plot props. If they feel like they probably have lives beyond the plot of the book, we’re on the right track.
Enticing, Thriving Settings
If I can keep dreaming about the setting of a book, or even better, imagine myself writing fic set in that environment, the author has aced it. In some ways, setting is its own character, and I don’t want a vague sense of where the characters are. I want to be able to picture it vividly. Sometimes that means knowing every detail, but more often than not, it means being able to fill in the blanks. Give me enough to work with that I don’t second guess the image in my head!
But what makes you rate a book 5 stars? And which books have you given that coveted rating to? Most recently, I’ve labeled Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson and The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen as 5 star reads, but I’m hoping for more this year! Tell me what your latest 5 stars were, though. Let’s chat!