Here at Genre Junkies we firmly believe that every book deserves to be read by the ones who will enjoy it, and that you are never wrong for loving it.
We also know that there are very real human beings behind the works that we discuss that put true care into their craft. Any review, by anyone, can have a quantifiable effect on the success of someone’s personal hard work. We want to promote a positive, accepting atmosphere where everyone feels like they are valued.
With this in mind, we are still reviewers and openly provide our opinions. We typically give a series of “ratings” in an attempt to define the works we are discussing. We want to get books into the right hands, and we are developing a way to uniquely explain our views. This article is an attempt to explain these metrics.
This is the most non-objective score there is: what was our personal experience with this book? Books of all types and objective quality fall anywhere on this scale. For example, one of the greatest struggles I have ever had with a book is with Grapes of Wrath, but I also consider it to be a masterpiece. Alternatively, there have been a large number of stories that I simply couldn’t put down that were… well… of questionable merit.
An unparalleled story that you simply can not stop until it’s over. You probably stay up all night to finish and will re-read regularly. You tell everyone who will listen to read it.
Can’t put it down. Each page is devoured with relish and keeps you up later at night than is probably advisable.
A solid story that is genuinely enjoyable. It is appreciated even if it’s not in your wheelhouse and you look forward to opening back up to your bookmark.
An enjoyable story, if maybe somewhat forgettable. Not likely to reread or display on a shelf.
Difficult to get through. This could be based on a variety of factors including writing style, quality of the plot or the general subject matter.
We feel that this is important when discussing genre fiction: how big is the target audience? There is an incomprehensible number of outstanding horror/sci-fi/fantasy literature out there to dig into – if you really like the style. If your typical read is by Sue Grafton or John Grisham however (two outstanding authors in their own right!) many of those stories might not click with you. This is our opinion on how likely a book is to capture someone outside of it’s genre’s core audience.
Written for a very small audience of enthusiasts. This story is unlikely to interest anyone not already invested in the specific genre or author.
Has merits that can be appreciated by someone with an open mind or passing interest. Someone who doesn’t read “those kind of books” likely won’t be converted but has the potential to capture a wider audience.
Anyone who is a regular reader will likely appreciate this book. It has universal themes and a compelling story that all but the most stubbornly opposed will enjoy.
The story is so reader-friendly that practically anyone can get into it. These typically cross boundaries between different genres or introduces brand new ideas in a digestible package. These are the stories that create cultural zeitgeists.
The world is built on it: how many doodads out of whats-its is it? It seems silly to put a letter grade, or some number of stars, or anything other score to what is ultimately art and say, “here is an ‘objective’ metric by which this can be judged.” Books are very personal to each of us and nobody can tell someone else that they are wrong for liking (or disliking) a given story. There are generally accepted rules with storytelling, however, and when broken must be done deliberately and with purpose to be effective.
Truly a masterpiece. This story is a classic and stands as a cornerstone to it’s kind.
Excellent execution. Shows a mastery in it’s creation, but there are small misteps.
Nails quite a few things and is a solid story, but something about it is lacking.
Not terribly well executed or limited in scope. Could have used some extra time in the oven. Or an editor.
Little redeeming qualities in plot, characters or prose. Still may have avid fans, but even they will admit to it’s flaws.
Incomplete. One of us didn’t finish it, or couldn’t comprehend it enough to provide a real score.
This is rare, but some books just aren’t for everyone.
Special Note: Our Final Scores are not necessarily reflective of what we might give a book on a third party website. User-driven star systems tend to be a very binary environment where a 4-star review can have just as much a negative impact as a 1-star review. If you do enough digging, you’re sure to find Sandra or I giving something 5-stars somewhere when we’ve rated it 4 (or even 3) on our show.