The 4 Things That Earn 5-Star Book Reviews

An open book

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.

Let’s Chat

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.

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Author: debjani6ghosh

I started this blog to discuss books that I read and movies that I watch. But the blog may not be purely restricted to that!

28 thoughts on “The 4 Things That Earn 5-Star Book Reviews”

  1. I agree with all of these. One thing that’s critical for me to rate a book 5 stars is an emotional connection to the story and characters. Any book that makes me cry is probably going to be 5 stars!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s hard to see a good plot and prose at the same time in books . And good prose is the first thing that hooks me up on a book. I hateee bland character’s so there’s that too. I feel like all elements make up a book and even if one of them is missing it’ll seem good but not amazing. Great post ☀🌠

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s a great rundown, and also a good rule of thumb to rate books and it’s also close to the set of guidelines I follow! I read so many books in a year though that I ended up adding a fifth thing – how it affects me emotionally. Like, if a book makes me cry, I might consider bumping it up to a 5 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I find that the language, or you can call it the writing style, is essential to a 5 star novel for me. If it feels stilted, and doesn’t conjure up pictures in my head, it won’t get that last half star from me. Of course, if that’s perfect, sometimes a plot hole or confusing characters or problematic timelines will also keep me from giving it a full five stars.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this list and I completely agree! I need a good story and characters I feel connected to, but most of all, an immersive storyline is so important. The only difficult thing is that my ability to be immersed in a story sometimes has to do with external factors too, like how distracted I am while reading, or in how many times I read the book…. and it’s a little sad that that can make the difference between a 4 and 5 star rating, while it’s not necessarily because of the book.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post Debjani. I agree with all five, but not necessarily the order. I love a great story, but it does not flow well for me, I might put it aside. I have also read books that grabbed me based on the descriptions an settings, but it didn’t have the best story line. I have read books whose characters, I do not like, but I am still able to connect in some way. I love how you put this post together. It made me think.

    Liked by 1 person

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