When I read a book I usually just know how I feel about it if it’s a 5-star read, but breaking down my why’s? That’s tougher.
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Reasons I Rate A Book 5-Stars:
World building is really important to me, especially because I predominantly read fantasy books. I want to learn all about the magic system, the land, and completely immerse myself in this new, fantastical land.
Likable characters can make or break a story. If I can’t bond with the characters in the story and even identify with one of them strongly enough to feel like I have a stake in their story, then I am not going to love the story – so having those fantastic, diverse, and relatable characters is a must.
Yes, we’ve got the fantastic characters but now they have to have well developed relationships. I’m not talking romantic, although that’s included. I want everything, family (or a backstory for why they’re not relevant), friendships that show that the characters will do whatever it takes for one another, etc.
If you don’t have a good plot, then you’re going to have a bored reader. I want my plots to have a balance of action and scenes where the author can develop their world, characters, or relationships – that’s why I tend towards more action-heavy genres like fantasy or science fiction because contemporary and historical fiction novels will almost never have the same tension and builds (for me) that would lead to them being a 5-star read.
Now, this is going to predominantly be for fantasy, but magic is important. I love magic so I want your magic system to be unique or really well developed. If I keep noticing errors, like this person who magically can’t be injured or hurt at all having chapped lips (I mean come on Furyborn, consistency) it will alter my feelings about the book, even if only a little bit.
Bonus: The Narrator
Since I listen to audiobooks all the time, I thought this was a necessary addition. An audiobook narrator can make or break a story. If I don’t enjoy their style, tone, emotions, etc (sorry QoAaD), then I am just not going to enjoy the book as much. If I fall in love with a narrator’s style and get completely pulled into a book (like Sorcery of Thorns or Gemina), I will also fall more deeply into the book than I might have otherwise.
What makes you rate a book 5-stars (or not)? Let me know in the comments!