I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. I read a lot, I always have, but now I have started writing reviews it has made me think about each book in an analytical way. A lot of books I have read are ok but miss out on one of the major factors they must all have. The three important things I believe a book should have are;
You might think this is obvious but I have recently given up on a book that was very well written with interesting characters it was just not much of a story to speak of, every little adventure was concluded quickly with no twist. Without a decent pot the book is just bland. An example of a book with a solid plot is Soul Siphon by James Harrington, (yes I know I have mentioned that book again!) the plot marches on with a few decent twists keeping you in the edge of your seat. For me I don’t just want one plot I want other sub plots going on at the same time, a book that has more sub plots and surprises than Tesla has volts, is The Pearseus series by Nicolas C. Rossi.
Another thing any great book for me must have, I have to be able to believe in them and think they can be real. Last year I wasted two months of my life reading a four book series filled with most unbelievable characters who changed conveniently almost chapter by chapter to suit the very weak plot. I don’t mind quirky or odd either. The Story of a Porter Girl by Lucy Brazier is a great example of a book filled with quirky characters. Conor Kelly and the Four Treasures of Eiren by Ali Isaac is also filled with great characters that you care about and want to know what’s happens to them. For me the best characters can be found in the Disc World, I’ve not read anyone with can come up with the vast range of people that have sprung from Terry Pratchett’s mind.
Even the best plot and most amazing characters can be ruined if the writing is second rate or worse. If an author spends all his or her time telling rather than showing or jumping POV like a kangaroo on speed. Jack Eason’s Goblin Tales is an excellent example of a well written book, it’s the sort of prose and phasing I would give my left arm to be able to write. I think this is one of the biggest mistakes self-publishers make, the have a great plot, brilliant characters but don’t spend enough time crafting their books. I’ve read books ruined by POV jumps like a Kangaroo on speed, over telling the same scene or plot point and not enough showing. In some ways this one is the easiest to fix it just take time patience and a good editor.
Another book I loved which managed all three would be The Fair and Foul by Allie Potts, not normally the sort of book I like but because the managed all three factors brilliantly I thought it was a great book.
Nearly all the books I have mentioned I’ve also reviewed if you want to check out what I said in more detail, see the links bellow. I managed a whole article about great books without mentioning Harry Potter books, which are of course the best thing ever written. Well that’s what I think, what makes a book good for you?