As a reader and a reviewer, I look for certain elements in a book, which compel me to rate it 5 stars. They are listed as follows –
- A good story – Story is at the heart of all good writing. A good story engages its readers and makes them eager to know what happens next. I don’t care if the author didn’t put dazzling sentences in each page. I don’t care if the book is a mishmash of fairy tale & detective genres. What matters to me is an impressive story that doesn’t let me go, once I’m hooked, since these are the stories, I tend to remember months or even years later.
- A smoothly flowing narrative – A coherent/fluid storyline is important to get me interested in the book. Awkward sentences, choppy dialogues, and last but not the least, poor grammar make reading a chore for me, and thus drives me away from the book. In other cases, long-winded responses with too perfect grammar can be spoilsport too. Confusing timelines can also prove as impediments to the creation of a seamless narrative.
- An immersive storyline – I love reading atmospheric stories and stories with rich description. Reason? These help me to completely lose myself in the world created by the author. Among the short number of books, I have read, I have tossed aside books that failed to create a full-fledged world for me to escape to. I am willing to make an effort to read a book, but if the story isn’t engrossing enough, sorry, I have got better books to read.
- Unique characters – Three-dimensional, relatable characters are the crux of any story. Interesting characters breathe life into a story while cardboard characters can make an otherwise good story fall flat on its face. If I don’t get invested in a character’s journey, chances are, I am going to stop reading the book after a while. Hence, creating memorable characters is an absolute must to earn a 5-star rating form me.
As far as an original narrative is concerned, it is an icing on the cake but not a necessary criteria for me to get invested in a book. Conventional storylines, if rendered well, can win readers’ hearts. At a time, when hundreds of books are hitting the market, it’s unrealistic to expect unique stories from each of them. However, the author should lead me to the climax in a fantastic way. That more than compensates for a rehashed story.
These are the factors I want in a great book. On which factors, do you rate a book? Let me know in the comments below.