Qualities of a “5 Star Review”?

A truly great book holds different meanings for all of us readers. Many times we try to review the books we read. So just exactly what constitutes a “5 Star Review”?  Well, I think the answer to that is as diverse and broad as there are authors, genres, and books to read. Here are a few of my thoughts on the qualities of a “5 Star Review”.

Parts of the book, literally make you pace as you read.

I am guilty of this, though no fault of my own. I find myself so entrenched in certain revelations of a book that as moments heat up, my pulse (and pace), quicken. Due to an author’s manipulation of words to set up powerful scenes and tribulations of key characters ultimately can really draw me into a book, captivating me. A book that unconsciously propels me to do this definitely gets a “5 Star Review” from me.

Favorite examples:

  • The Name of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.
    • Rothfuss displays such descriptive and engaging uses of his well-thought magic system in this tremendous book.
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora” by Scott Lynch.
    •  The political intrigue and deviousness found in the world of Locke Lamora is quite entertaining and engaged me throughout his constant engagements.


Has one or more chapters that you have to re-read.

I honestly have not found where this occurred too many times throughout the countless books I have read. But when it does, it is powerful and exciting.

Favorite example:

  • Lord of Chaos” by Robert Jordan.
    • The sixth novel, Lord of Chaos,  in Robert Jordan’s epic Wheel of Time, series is one such book. Chapter 55, “Battle of Dumai’s Wells” is just flat-out killer fantasy. Maybe the best single chapter of fantasy I’ve ever read. What makes this particular chapter so outstanding, and saddening at the same time, is for me, Jordan did not have more of these chapters in the series. But man oh man, this chapter had some of his best work in my opinion and his description of the use of his powerful and unique magic system, and those who wield it left me foaming at the mouth for more. The entire build-up leading to that chapter, fully engaged me, creating a memorable read. Devoted as I was to the series, at times I found myself having to “slug it” through the accompanying novels of the story, ultimately progressing in a “hit and miss” manner. Broadly the series is absolutely worth reading, and I would recommend it to new fantasy readers that are looking to invest in a huge tale of original world building and characterization. Regardless, Lord of Chaos get’s a “5 Star Review” from me.


Saddens you that the book, but not necessarily the tale is over.

Books that are composed to form a series are some of my absolute favorites since I normally lean more to series myself, opposed to a standalone. Becoming attached to a book so much that you hate to see it end, even if you are relatively certain another one of the series is coming eventually one day, indicates craft mastery by the author.

Favorite example:

  • The Name of The Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss.
    • Personally, I think Patrick Rothfuss has such a unique writing style. I find it difficult to describe just why his manipulation of words, resonates so loud with me. The Name of the Wind will forever live on in my mind as to what great writing can be. I recommended this book to my relatives and in-laws, that enjoy reading, with this pitch. “You don’t even have to really like fantasy to appreciate this book. It has everything you will enjoy reading about. Magic, love, hardships and excitement are all so well structured and present, that you cannot help but like it.” That’s how I felt about it myself. Needless, to say The Name of the Wind received a well-deserved “5 Star Review” from me.


The story-telling flows so much, it has to be running out of a faucet.

Authors who possess this gift, get labeled by my mind’s dictionary as “Flow Masters”.

Favorite examples:

  • Curse of the Mistwraith” by Janny Wurts.
    • Such a masterful display of this rare craft, without a doubt receiving a “5 Star Review” from me. Her storytelling mesmerized me, plain and simple. Incredibly her weaving of words, leaves me thinking I possibly just somehow finished the sentence I began five pages ago. This book literally does that to me. Her ability to convey attention to some of the most minute of things, has such a profound impact as a whole, on what is being portrayed and planted in your mind. The description will put you right there, slap in the middle of her world, just where she wants you.
  • Riddle-Master” by Patricia A. McKillip.
    • Another example of this writing magic, the sheer originality of the names of characters and places contained within the rich setting, is unmatched in my opinion and without a doubt, earns a “5 Star Review”. If you have a love of deep and original fantasy writing, I highly recommend getting lost in the entire Riddle-Master trilogy. The world there just feels genuine, as from an old-time, long since forgotten yet happily remembered when the words upon the pages, kindle a spark of imagination deep within you.


My hope is that if you took the time to read this post, you would share with me
and others alike, your definition or idea of what a “5 Star Review” means to
you. These are just my feelings on a “5 Star Review” of fantasy, not holy writ or any type of standard. What speaks to me won’t always speak to others. I look forward to reading what you would list of great examples of your system for rating and review those fantasy novels that happen to be some of your favorites and why they stand out in your mind. Thank you for reading.

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