Book Reviews and Recommendations

Over the last year, I’ve spent a large part of my time catching up on reading fantasy novels that I’ve missed over the years. Some of these novels are ones I’ve felt obligated to pick up and study due to their popularity, such as the Sword of Truth series. Others have been from genres I’ve simply shied away from in the past, such as urban fantasy novels. Finally, I’ve also been reading a lot of books simply out of personal interest or from recommendations from friends.

I’d estimate that I’ve rolled through about twenty or so novels in the last year. Not anything close to a record, I’m sure, but more than I’m personally used to reading in a short period. The process has gotten me interested in sharing some of these novels with others – and while word of mouth works for that to some extent, I’ve decided to try something a little broader in scope.

I’m going to be posting book reviews on my blog, starting soon. Not for every book I read; just ones where I think my opinions might sway someone for or against picking a novel up. I realize that there are a quintillion other sources for book reviews out there, but I’d like to think that my opinions might differ – or perhaps at least encourage a bit of discussion. I do love to talk about books.

I had to pause for a minute when my spell check *didn’t* catch the word quintillion. I seriously thought I had just made that word up on the spot. Apparently, it’s real. I had probably heard the word muttered in a math class or server room at some point, but really, it was pretty jarring regardless.

Anyway, book reviews. Due to the nature of my own interests, I will mostly be reviewing books I liked. This is simply because I don’t usually read books without a recommendation or hearing about them to some extent in advance. There will probably be exceptions, like those aforementioned books that I read out of a sense of obligation – but hey, I liked some of those, too. Some books are popular for a reason.

Some of these book reviews will contain spoiler elements. I will try to keep these to a minimum, but everyone has different standards about what what means. Suffice to say that I’m not going to describe the ending or give great detail about how and when the entire cast is eaten by zombie dragicorns. I may, in fact, mention said dragicorns even if they don’t appear in the book, however. This is to keep the book interesting.

I’m considering rating certain specific qualities of the book, but I probably will not use a numeric scale.

Characters: This rating will involve how compelling the characters are, the level of development they display, etc.

World: This represents my feelings on how the setting of the story is represented.

Writing: This number represents how much I liked the prose, mechanics, voice, etc. This also includes my feelings about the pacing of the story.

Concept: How much I liked the premise/hook of the story. This has a lot of overlap with some other categories, but I still find it important enough to set aside in my arbitrary rating system. This also will include my level of desire to see sequels, if applicable.

Originality: My rating for the creativity put into the book. This could involve unique world or character development, taking new directions with common subjects, avoiding common tropes or inverting them, etc. This will overlap with the other categories to some extent.

Immersion: Here, I’m going to be rating the depth of the story and how much the book managed to pull me in. If the book made me laugh aloud, cry, or hit a wall – that’s going to go into this category. Connection.

Overall: This is a catch-all category for how much I enjoyed the book. It also lets me add in other factors the previous categories may not have covered.

Seven categories, up to seven points in each. The gods like it.

All these ratings are simply opinions; I’m not holding myself to any kind of hard criteria at the moment. Additionally, if this system proves flawed, I’ll probably change it.

First on the list: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

The first review should be coming soon.

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