Over the past 9 months of this blog I have been slowly increasing the number of reviews I have been doing. Yet, how to review a book is something I have struggled with. I am a Scientist it has been over 13 years since I have done a book review in school. I want my reviews to reflect my feelings towards the work instead of being a rehash of the blurb and I want to get across what I loved,liked and wasn’t a fan of about a particular work in a clear manor so that those reading them can make their own choice if the book is for them or not.
The reviews I trust on Goodreads focus on various aspects of the book without giving away the plot and without talking to much about the story-line itself and that’s what I would like my reviews to contain. I want them to be spoiler free advice for those that wish to use it to inform their decision to read.
Therefore, I sat down and asked myself what is important to me? What makes me go yes this is a great book? This yielded a few categories that after some fiddling I managed to invent the handy acronym of ESCAPE
What Does ESCAPE stand for?
Was the ending fitting/satisfying/leave me wanting more? Was it an enjoyable end to the book? Did it round out the plot well? If it was a cliffhanger was it suitable and does it encourage me to want to read on in the series? Or did the end make me want to throw the book across the room (in a good way or a bad way)?
Style and pace of writing
How much did I enjoy the writing style? Did it add or deter from the story? Was it info dumpy or did we get the right amount of information at the right times? If from multiple perspectives were all enjoyable? Were there too many or not enough points of view? Was the overall pace engaging or discouraging?
Were the main characters fully fleshed out, did I get a sense of who they were? Did they have enough information/growth to feel invested in the story. Were the side characters three-dimensional did they feel more than just a convenience to move the story along?
Atmosphere and worldbuilding
Was the world building fullfilling? Does it feel fully structured and explained or are there holes in its development? Does it feel like it is another character with its own stories etc or is it merely just a setting?
Is the over all Plot intriguing/engaging/entertaining? is it complete? Were there any major plot holes that were distracting for the story-line, or could they be forgiven as the story is still awesome?
My personal enjoyment of the book. Did I enjoy reading the book? did I get bored? would I recommend the book? Would I re-read the book?
Each category will be given a rating out of 10 to give a total score out of 60 Points
Converting from ESCAPE to a 5 star system?
We all wrestle with the Goodreads 5 Star system at some point as it just doesn’t seem nuanced enough to fully let us show just how much we liked the book but as it is the primary at a glance system used my most online retailers too we are kinda stuck with it.
Converting from escape to the 5 star system is quite straight forward.
|ESCAPE Points||Star Rating|
|> 50||5||Written Review|
|20-29||2||No Review Written|
Every Review in 2019 will follow the ESCAPE system and hopefully it will make my reviews more consistent and maybe even help with end of the year deliberations etc. It may take some time for me to gage the levels I am going to run a couple of books I have previously rated through the system again to work out any bugs but so far I am happy with it.
I would love to chat all thinks Bookish wither here in the comments or on Goodreads and Twitter.