How I Will Be Judging Reviews

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I’ve been asked what my “benchmarks” are for a 10 in each category and if I’ll be including them as a reference. That’s a great idea, but it took me a while to figure out which authors/books I’d use for an example. Not everyone will agree with my 10’s, but of course, most everything about books is subjective.

I would also like to point out 36/60 (65%) and above is a good score, it’s going to be difficult to get 10’s from me. 36+ equates to 3 stars and up on GR, I’ve gone back and scored about 15 books from my most recent reviews and my 5 star books and so far the highest score is 89%


I’m going to be trying out a new grading system on my blog, I may or may not be keeping it – we’ll see.

I don’t like the Goodreads rating system, it’s too vague – a 4 star from me covers anything from a 3.5 – 4.5, and honestly, that’s a wide range. I’ve come up with my own rating system that rate 6 aspects of books I find to be the most important to me. Each book will get a score out of 10 for each section.

If I like how this turns out, I’ll be going back through my group of 15 top books and assigning them grading as well. It would be just too much to go back through all 65 I’ve read so far, however.

Here’s how I’ll be rating books.


10/10 = I loved all the characters, the good, the evil and the side characters. Everyone felt fleshed out, everything felt real, I was completely and utterly immersed in the character arcs and felt connected to them.

7 -9/10 = The main characters were great, but problems with side characters or other things. Perhaps a few bland characters here and there but otherwise well done.

5 – 6/10 = The characters were okay. I didn’t dislike them, but I wasn’t taken with them either

3 – 4/10 = Characters need work, the voices are the same or the personalities too close together. Not enough character arc, not enough to hook me.

0 – 2/10 = What is even going on with these people?

BENCHMARK 10: Terry Pratchett’s characters.


10/10 = I could not put the book down, I lost sleep over this, OMG.

7 – 9/10 = This was really well done, it was a page-turner and I read it quickly

5 – 6/10 = The pacing was okay, in some parts I was speeding along, but in other parts it slowed down, but not enough to kill enjoyment.

3 – 4/10 = long areas of slog, lots of info dumping

0 -2/10 = it was difficult to get through

BENCHMARK 10: Sufficiently Advanced Magic Andrew Rowe

This one was the hardest to figure out a ’10’, but this book is 600 pages and I flew through it in a day or so.


10/10 = This feels like it was published with the best editors involved, absolutely clean and perfect

7 – 9/10 = There were just a handful of errors or less

5 – 6/10 = There were more than a handful of errors, but less than a dozen

3 – 4/10 = There was over a dozen of errors, and/or lots of overused words

0 – 2/10 = Duplicated paragraphs, multiple errors, overused words, basically a hot mess

A small bit of the writing score will also be about writing style and how ‘professional’ it felt, but that’s really hard to gauge.

BENCHMARK 10: Senlin Ascends Josiah Bancroft

World Building:

10/10 = I was completely engrossed in a fully realized world with complete consistency. Extensive world building in many aspects –  lore, history, culture, geography, economy etc

7 – 9/10 = Solid world building with many aspects of a real world represented, but maybe not over the top this is a “10”

5 – 6/10 = There was good world building, but it was light – OR – it was inconsistent

3 – 4/10 = World building wasn’t done much at all, – OR – was wildly inconsistent

0 – 2/10 = Nothing made sense, total confusion




10/10 = I’ve seen so many tropes turned on their heads or brand new ideas I’ve never seen done that my brain is spinning

7 – 9/10 = Unique fresh ideas that I’ve rarely seen done, not necessarily things like brand new fantasy races or environments (those would count), but, old tropes can be re-imagined fresh and count as well.

5 – 6/10 = A mix of things that have been done before, but has still much of the authors’ imagination

3 – 4/10 = I’ve seen most of this, and I’m kind of bored with it

0 – 2/10 = This may as well be plagiarism

BENCHMARK 10: Chaos Trims My Beard Brett Herman


10/10 = I was totally invested in all of the plots great and small. There were no plot holes, no loose ends, great twists and things I never saw coming, all of it logical and flowing naturally.

7 – 9/10 = Great plot, I liked most aspects of the plot and/or was fully invested in some plots and moderately interested in others.

5 – 6/10 = The plot was okay, it wasn’t great or terrible. And/or I was really invested in it up until a point where it fell apart. Either a plot hole, or saving the hero at the last minute kind of thing.

3 – 4/10 = There were lots of last-minute saves, things timed too conveniently, lots of plot holes or unexplained things  and things that just didn’t make sense

0 – 2/10 = I have no idea what’s going on.

BENCHMARK 10: The Thousand Names Django Wexler

Final Score Breakdown

I’m not sure I’ve ever read a 60/60 – maybe Night Watch or Thud from Discworld. I also don’t think I’ve ever read a 0 either.

51 – 60 = 5 stars

42 – 50 = 4 stars

31 – 41 = 3 stars

20 – 30 = 2 stars

0  –  19 = 1 star

I round up, so a 3.5 would be a 4 on my Goodreads, so I use that to make this scale.

I don’t know if I’ve ever read a 60/60 book before, maybe A Storm of Swords or Night Watch/Thud.






  1. That’s great idea. I won’t lie. I love grades. usually I don’t even read reviews that don’t have ratings. Your system sounds very reasonable. Can’t wait to see it in action 🙂

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