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An Introductory Post

PhoenixReads
This is the book review blog of PhoenixFalls. It's all book reviews, all the time, mostly of science fiction and fantasy novels, and while I will endeavor to post at least one review a week I make no promises as of yet.

My reviews will be broken up into four sections, the first three of which should be self-explanatory, but the last of which I felt I should unpack a bit. So a standard book review will look something like this:

Section One
All the important info about the book: cover image, title, author, series info, publisher, # of pages, and genre & subgenre.

Section Two
The jacket description, word for word.

Section Three
My review, as much as possible without spoilers. (If I simply cannot discuss a book without spoilers then I'll put them behind a cut.)

Section Four
My rating, and the part I want to discuss in more detail. I will be using the standard 5-star rating system, complete with half-stars, but I will be rating three different components of the book: my level of intellectual satisfaction, my level of emotional satisfaction, and my overall satisfaction. Most of the time the overall rating will be the average of the intellectual and emotional ratings, but I reserve the right to give either component more weight in my overall rating if I feel like it. If you want to see all the books I have given a certain star rating to, they'll be tagged appropriately.

But that's not all! After the ratings I will also break down to the barest essentials the reason you should or should not read the book. So, for instance, if I think the book has really impressively drawn characters, I will say "Read this for: The Characters." If I think the book's weakest element is its sentence-by-sentence or paragraph-by-paragraph writing, I will say "Don't read this for: The Prose." And then you will be able to find all the books that have great characters by clicking the tag "Strong Characters," but because I am a nice person I won't be tagging the element I thought weakest. At the moment, the elements I foresee using in this fashion are Characters, Ideas, Mystery, Plot, Prose, Structure, Theme, and World-Building; but of course I reserve the right to add elements as needed.

Below that I will include a few titles that I was reminded of while reading the book; take this exactly at face value. Most of the time they will be books that are fairly similar, so if you like one you will probably like the other; but with more complex or more singular books they may get quite a bit more idiosyncratic. In truth they're simply books that inhabit the same head space for me, so they should be taken with a hefty dose of salt.

Finally, I'll note whether or not I plan to read more by the author, which to me is the truest indication of how much I liked the book.

2/26/11, ETA:
I am adding a category in the "Read this for" and "Don't read this for" sections; I will now be differentiating between plot in general and the mystery-specific plot, because I tend to read a lot of SF/F novels with a mystery subplot, and writing a mystery plot is a different skill from writing an action plot, so I can envision a novel where the author was good at one of those but not the other.

Comments

phoenixreads
Feb. 20th, 2011 09:03 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

It's still probably a work in progress. . . I won't feel confident that all the pieces work until I've got several reviews under my belt. So feel free to chime in with any input!

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