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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-09-12, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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Default What's your criteria for giving a book a great rating?

Inspired by people like myself who post that they are tired/disappointed with the HH series...

The Horus Heresy is epic... no if's ands or butts...

So why such greatly mixed reviews? I think it's because we all have different criteria and expectations. Because the HH is so epic, I feel like some of the writers of the HH books got lazy and rather than make it feel epic just decided it is epic so the fact that it's a HH book makes it epic without the effort.

Probably my greatest criteria is the authors ability to channel his story into my psyche and make me feel like I am experiencing part of a much larger story. On a macro level, I think some authors can achieve this by simply hearing news about what else is going on in the imperium while the people being written about are enroute to somewhere else... while our guys are gearing up for a mission, the seventh legion passed by on a war footing... blah blah blah... There are lots of ways of doing this. edit: On a micro level, a character dealing with his own personal battles, his fears and his own agenda that keeps getting in the way. Even a small character encountering a large character. Personally, I think that the best way to encounter a primarch is through the eyes of a smaller character, but that's just me.

Then of course, how well can we identify with the characters? It is something I have noticed with Graham McNiell in his Ultra Marine series. He tells us that the Chapter Master is great, but somehow he never makes me feel like he is... whereas Abnett can make a small player feel large. ABD writes about the Night Lords, and while I always hope that they get their asses handed to them by the loyalists, I can't help but to think that they are noble in their own way, that while I root against them, I still kinda like them. They aren't just Chaos Marines, they are characters overcome by deep seated resentments, guided by their own conflicted agendas that I can relate to which makes me feel bad even when one of their number gets wasted. Most of the HH series books just failed to make me care who lives and who dies.

I just wanted to ask the question and then say a couple things without writing a book on it... I suppose part of this could be who is your favorite author and why...

Last edited by cheeto; 12-09-12 at 10:03 PM.
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-09-12, 10:50 PM
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If it wasn't 00:49 right now I'd be all over this thread. As it stands I will wait until tomorrow afternoon during lunch
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-09-12, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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For example...

A great moment in Titanicus... When the primarch and his crew are linking into their engine. In that moment the Titan goes from being an engine driven by it's crew to a God Machine! The crew links in, a second consciousness overcomes it's crew, the machine is waking from a long slumber while in transit as it flexes it's weaponized limbs and instantly desires destruction...

That moment before the legio went into battle fired me up for the battle to come!

An example of a character link I'm thinking is Gaunt taking on the mousey mortician. The guy lost his dad in the battle Balhaut , and he tells Gaunt under the belief that he was just a small soldier and that Gaunt wouldn't know him. Then the book ends with a scene from that battle where Gaunt is charging the Oligarchy Gate and he meets up with a random pdf officer at that critical moment. Faced with the weapons Asphodel, mounted on the Plutocrat tower the young PDF officer cheerfully suggests taking the tower down. Impressed, the later famous Gaunt introduces himself and the man turns out to be the morticians father. It's barely a page and a half, and yet it pulled mah heart strings...
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-10-12, 01:13 AM
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8-10 is great.

My criteria for putting any novel in this category is a combination of character development and great plot I would also put "relevance" in there too. But to be fair I guess anyone can say if you have the first two, you can pull off a "great" novel. The lack of any of the two really makes me look down on a book. I think the reason for mixed reviews is because some can ignore one aspect of the two.
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-10-12, 02:12 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckcrawford View Post
8-10 is great.

My criteria for putting any novel in this category is a combination of character development and great plot I would also put "relevance" in there too. But to be fair I guess anyone can say if you have the first two, you can pull off a "great" novel. The lack of any of the two really makes me look down on a book. I think the reason for mixed reviews is because some can ignore one aspect of the two.
Without a doubt... but that's part of the problem. Not everyone is very good with character development or plot. In my experience, Graham McNeill can be good with character development, but he really suffers with developing secondary characters. My example about the Ultra Marine Chapter Commander. We are told directly he is a great warrior and leader, but he doesn't take the time to let us find these things out for ourselves. At the end of the series, Calgar comes across to me like a toon in a video game. He has stats, but no depth of character. The reason I believe is because we were told how great he was without his leadership telling the story instead.
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-10-12, 06:35 AM
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Many people have different grading criteria. There's already a thread about it here.

Mine, following the Goodreads rating system:

1 - I didn't Like it
2 - OK
3 - I Liked it
4 - I really liked it
5 - It was Amazing
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-10-12, 10:15 AM
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I use a 10 point scale that is based on the grading system for college papers / essays in my country. I start out at a 10 and subtract from there.

10 is for an excellent read. I believe this should be a perfectly achievable score, and should not be reserved for Nobel prize material. Ten is the standard BL should strive to keep to. (Legion of the Damned, Void Stalker, The Emperor's Gift, Horus Rising, Thousand Sons, Helsreach)

9 is for a great read with a few major screw-ups (False Gods, Know No Fear), or multiple smaller ones (Legion)

6 - 8 are either good books with a lot of problems (Fear to Tread), or average books that make up for that by covering interesting topics (Angel of Fire, Mechanicum) or expanding background by a great deal (Nemesis, Outcast Dead)

5 is completely mediocre This is usually the lowest grade you could score and still pass the exam, so any book scoring this will at least have some sort of redeeming quality. (Battle for the Abyss, Descent of Angels, Rynn's World, Hunt for Voldorius)

2 - 4 is simply a bad book that doesn't justify the time or money spent reading it. (Sons of Dorn)

1 is the disqualification grade (outright plagiarism, blatantly ignoring guidelines established by the background, failing to respect the bare minimum concepts of writing a book, etc) and you shouldn't be seeing that very often. The Dawn of War books as contained by the omnibus would be this, if I ever bothered to review them. They'd otherwise qualify for a 5, but I simply cannot reconcile the existing background with things such as Dark Reapers dueling terminators in melee, and storing their soulstones on their own ship rather than the Infinity circuit of their craftworld.

Last edited by Lupe; 12-10-12 at 12:43 PM.
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-10-12, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lupe View Post
10 is for an excellent read. I believe this should be a perfectly achievable score, and should not be reserved for Nobel prize material. Ten is the standard BL should strive to keep to. (Legion of the Damned, Void Stalker, The Emperor's Gift, Horus Rising, Thousand Sons, Helsreach)
Yes oh yes. 10 is an attainable score people!


As for the criteria I use this is it.

1 - Terrible. Not worth buying or reading. (Haven't read one yet, hope I never do.)

2 - Poor. A book that is not worth reading unless you are morbidly curious. (Warrior Coven)

3 - Bad. A book that is just bad, it's interesting subject matter that has been let down by a poor telling of the story, flat characters, etc. (Sword of Caledor)

4 - Below average. A book that falls short of being average by having one too many flaws. (Warrior Brood)

5 - Average. Meh. Simply that. A book that is not good or bad. (Faith and Fire)

6 - Above average. A book that surpasses being average but not by enough to be considered good. (Malediction)

7 - Good. A book that has its flaw but on the whole is a book you can enjoy reading and not regret reading. (Nightbringer)

8 - Great. A book that is a damn enjoyable read and one that will stick with you. (Salamander)

9 - Excellent. A book that you should read, one that is worth talking about whenever you get the chance and that is something you will remember. (Legion of the Damned)

10 - Flawless (Figuratively). A book that ticks every box, that has the characters, plot, action and everything that you wanted from the novel and that is just so awesome that you find it hard to put it down, and when it's over you want more and more. (Void Stalker, A Thousand Sons, The Siege of Castellax.)


And of course I use a .0 system to show how far along a book is along each of those points and how close it is to the next point.


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Last edited by Lord of the Night; 12-13-12 at 11:19 AM.
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-10-12, 02:23 PM
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I don't tend to grade the HH books with a score, I still know which ones are worth reading and what ones are not and it's been 5 long years of reading.

A good HH book is..

- One that progresses the story and keeps moving it forward.

- One that has Marine characters that symbolize their legions personality. So Garro, Loken, Ventanus, Argel Tal, even super arrogant jerk Lucius.

- One that has human characters or near enough humans that give us mere humans, IE the reader, a POV into how it is to be a human in those times. Great examples IMO are Ignace Karkasy, Hurtado Bronzi, Koriel Zeth.

- One that doesn't leave even more questions at the end. I like endings that convey the happenings of an event and then stop and don't stretch the damn thing out.

A bad HH book has..

- Nothing but Brother Generic marine in every role that isn't the main Marine role. Nor do I like generic stereotype marines that EVERY legion seems to have, Brother overly abrasive, Brother light hearted, Brother whiny, Brother red shirt, and so forth.

- Human Space Marines and/or assassins. If you have emotions that affect your judgement, you shouldn't be in the uniform. You shouldn't be having feelings and emotions that jeopardize battle's, reports, even making tea. Writers that do this have missed the point of what it means to be Astartes or a super highly skilled assassin.

- An area of the HH that is not important enough to warrant a book so early in the series. Or is of an event that has no hugely significant impact on the story and is (or at least feels like) pure stocking filler.

- Pages and pages of Bolter porn. We get it, marines roll in, things die, marines do amazing things. Does it help visualize how marines perform war? Yes a little, but as the HH is more of a mature story rather than comic book I expect the HH books to know when to put the toys away.

- Moments of Primarch emo crap. Super beings with great wisdom and martial prowess turning into unsure, unconfident teenagers and with the onset of world of warcraft social outcast syndrome can leave their baggage at the door thanks.


I'm sure this is not all of my reasoning but for the moment that will do
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-10-12, 02:28 PM
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Ive yet read anything from BL that would make me give it perfect 10. I can maybe think of maybe 4-5 books ever released that would warrant score this high.

Some reviewers just put ten to every third or fourth book and lots of nines along aswell. Numerical review system quickly loses its true meaning, many seem to be just so excited after reading something they really liked, but give it straight 10 only just after read it aint good. To give some book 10, you gotta read it few times and really think about it. Safest way is to go for a 8-9 scale. Same way has been with movies. I would walk out of theater and think wow this movie was about perfect 10 but seeing it second time, can see many flaws in it.

I think invidual HH books so far has gone from 4-9 scale. As series its among my top 5 ive ever read, but i would propably give it an 7 or most likely 8.
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