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Semi-Famous 40k Intellect
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What i'm eager to know is this:

What type of rating scale do you use when you review books? Be it an "alpha" system containing letters, or a numerical system (i.e. a 5 or 10 point scale), what do your choices mean?

Is there an explanation for each notch? How does a 3 differ from an 8? Everybody feels differently on this topic, so i want to see your views.

Post your system with an explanation/description of what it stands for. Then we can compare/contrast/question. Within reason of course. :)

CP
 

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Well I use a 10/10 scale for full novels and series as a whole, and a 5/5 scale for short stories because in a 10/10 scale it'd be very hard to pin down a good score.


0/10 - Unranked, everything has something that deserves a score even if its just a 1/10.

1/10 - Abysmal, an utter waste of time and something that should not be read again, or even published again and whoever wrote it should very much re-evaluate what they did and make sure to never do it again.
Example: Haven't read a book like this or ever heard of one, and hope that neither ever happens.

2/10 - Terrible, not worth the time it took to read, one or two good things may be pulled from it but they are fleeting and cannot undo the bad.
Example: Also have not read a book like this yet, and I hope I never do.

3/10 - Bad, when you read it and are let down by tediousness and bad writing, there may be something in here that you enjoyed briefly and gave you hope but that was it.
Example: Warrior Coven by C.S Goto.

4/10 - Disappointing, sometimes a book can be bad but contains a good beginning that makes you anticipate the ending only to be let down.
Example: Rynn's World by Steve Parker.

5/10 - Neutral, a book that leaves you with good and bad, a tough one to score but these are rare, nearly every book has more good then bad, or more bad then good.
Example: As I said these are rare, so I haven't read one like this yet which is either good or bad, hard to tell.

6/10 - Fair, a book that isn't great but contains some good moments that you enjoyed but is let down by its flaws. Don't go out of your way to read these but at least consider them.
Example: Descent of Angels by Mitchel Scanlon.

7/10 - Good, a decent enough novel that while it has its flaws its worth the read and has some memorable moments in it that you will enjoy.
Example: Hunt for Voldorius by Andy Hoare.

8/10, Great, a book that impresses and that you will enjoy, its flaws are there and you may notice them but the good far outweighs the bad. Something that should definitely be considered.
Example: Salamander by Nick Kyme.

9/10 - Grand, a book that brings an engaging story, well-developed characters and new ideas to the table, it may have a flaw or two but they are either needed or few and in-between.
Example: Dark Disciple by Anthony Reynolds.

10/10 - Masterpiece, a novel where the flaws do not bother you, when your too impressed and enjoying the book too much to notice them. Containing epic moments that burn themselves into your mind and invoke your imagination, and with a wide cast of characters that are likeable, rather then just a protagonist and side-kick that you enjoy, but an entire cast, and action scenes that define what it is to be in 40k rather then just bolters clattering and chainswords screaming.
Example: A Thousand Sons by Graham McNeill and The First Heretic by Aaron Dembski-Bowden.


Thats how I rank my books. Ive included two examples for 10/10 because I feel those are the only two 10/10s in Black Library, at least that ive read, and their both Horus Heresy, spells nothing but good for the acclaimed series and I hope that Prospero Burns will continue the proud lineage. Helsreach by Aaron Dembski-Bowden may be there as well but thats something to work out another time.


Lord of the Night
 

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Craw-Daddy
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1-4 are a bit tricky as these are rarely used, so I'm sorry if they don't make sense.

1/10- Short story has little to do with the fluff universe, without this novel there would probably be a better depiction of this universe. Poorly Written.

2/10- Relevant to the Universe, but to tedious to read. So much to the fact, that I had to pause multiple times. More than 5 times thinking about not finishing this novel. Without this novel there would probably be a better depiction of this universe

3/10- Has certain aspects to the warhammer/40k universe. However this short story has in many ways come in conflict with previous fluff and/or the fluff is just random. I wish I had not read this short story.

4/10- Has certain aspects to the warhammer/40k universe. However this story has in many ways come in conflict with previous fluff and/or the fluff is just random. I wish I had not read this story. Unlike a 1, 2, or 3 I think a 4 is basically a trick read. Where there was hype built on the previous story before. That you were almost forced to read the rest of the series. A 1, 2, or 3 are an epic fail which people often don't read to being with.
The Chapter's Due


5/10- Overall story is part of the Wahammer and 40k fluff, however it failed to achieve its overall objective to the reader. Story is best described as a terrible disapointment more so that the story revolves around a bigger story like the Heresy Series or any others that have started off in a high note.
The Battle of the Abyss

6/10- Overall story is part of the 40k/fantasy world however it failed to achieve its overall objective to the reader. Story is best described as a terrible disapointment. However, kind of expected the novel to not be well due to the plot summary before hand. Or, story has passed off as a reasonable story. Not a story that I would read again. And its fluff will have little impact in the warhammer/40k world.

7/10- Overall story achieved its goal and represented reasonable fluff. I don't treat this as a good or bad rating. But certainly, this rating would me think twice on whether I would read this book as solo work. As part of a bigger and better project I would definitley read it.
Fallen Angels(Heresy Novels), Sons of Dorn

8/10- A well written novel, certainly written well. I was intrigued with this novel the whole way through. I expect the fluff in this novel to play a major roll in the 40k and Warhammer world. As a single piece of work, definitley a novel I would look back into. As a piece part of a series, I definitly think it contributes to the success of the Series. As a whole, this rating describes a fun read.
Warrior of Ultramar, Daemon World

9/10- Great Novel! A must read novel for both a series or for solo works. These novels have great information that impact the fluff in the warhammer/40k world. Difference between a 9/10 and a 10/10 is that these novels often work as pieces of their own work. Well written pieces that don't necessarly work coherently with the rest of the warhammer/40k world.
Storm of Iron, Horus Rising, Path of the Warrior, Soul Hunter

10/10- Masterpiece! Novel contributes very coherently with the rest of the story line. Very well written and carefully thought out. Its fluff not only plays a key roll, but without it much is lost in the overall 40k, and warhammer world.
Fulgrim, A Thousand Son, The First Heretic
 

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When I do ratings I tend to work with the following scale:

10/10: Perfect, written by god or some deity on a platinum tablet in flaming gold script; nothing will ever be its equal or better. You'll find many things epic, but believe me there will always be something down the road that beats it. If your giving something a 10, you've gone from being objective to gushing and tacking additional praise where it is not needed.

9/10: Epic; absolutely glorious, you will be hard pressed to find anything wrong unless you are one of those people who go around doing just that. It'll bring you much joy, you'll definitely recommend it to others, and you will walk away having felt you spent your time well.

8/10: Awesome; not quite epic material but a cut above great. You walk away with your fill and then some, this is worth the time spent as the good almost eclipses the bad.

7/10: Great; better than good but not quite awesome. You will be thoroughly pleased with the end result and feel time well spent, but deep down there is a feeling that something is missing or could have been improved. End of the day though, its great and you had a blast.

6/10: Good; the good shift from neutral, has more good aspects than bad, and you can walk away happy but wanting more

5/10: Neutral; neither good nor bad, its the middle ground that most things should start at. It has an equal measure of positives and negatives, maybe a little skewed to one side but not enough to warrant placing higher or lower.

4/10: Bad; the bad shift from neutral, has more bad aspect than good, and while you may not walk away happy you do realize that there are far worse things.

3/10: Terrible; a swan dive from bad, however something contained within is still worth the buy. When asked about this, you will make mention that you found it to be very bad and would advise against unless people are looking for object X contained within.

2/10: God-awful; you got no joy, and actually walk away feeling cheated. You will not recommend this to others, you will likely spend that time warning them against it in an attempt to save them time or money or both.

1/10: Waste of time; exactly as it sounds, there is nothing redeeming about this, or if there is it is buried by so much bad that you are likely just wasting your time.

0/10: Unrated; in my opinion even bad work deserves some credit, so to me giving something a rating of 0 is more of an indicator of not reading or being led by the nose by some opinions or bias. Its not a fair rating, its not objective, to me its no good.
 

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Deathwing Commissar
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I rate books like I rate the ladies.

Too many people hear someone called a "five" and think she must be ugly. In fact, a "five" is average. It's the average woman you see walking down the street everyday. You probably wouldn't chase after a "five" in a bar and buy her drinks, but if the "five" sat next to you and bought you a drink, I don't think you'd get up and leave out of principle. A lot of the books you read are "fives". They're not bad; they're just not good, either. If your house burnt down, chances are you wouldn't shout out "My copy of... was in there!" Chances are you wouldn't even remember it was in there until months later.

"Sixes" and "sevens" are generally what you end up settling with for the night. They're cute, but not beautiful. They have personality, but not to the point that you'll let them go on, and on, and on. Ten years ago, they were your stand-by until you met someone better. Ten years from now, you'll be thinking how nice it would be to land one of them. Your book-equivalents are kind of the same way. You're not excited about them, but you enjoy them nonetheless. You find yourself thinking of a half-dozen or more ways they could be better, but, again, you're still enjoying yourself.

An "eight", in my opinion, is a woman that could make money off her looks. Based on where she ranked, decimal-wise, between 8 and 9, you'd be thrilled if she gave you the time of day. Similarly, an "eight" for a book is (or should be?) good enough for a writer to not worry about choosing writing as his or her vocation.

A "nine" in my eyes is the lady that not only makes money off her looks, she makes considerable amounts of money. If your book is a "nine", it's the equivalent of your Victoria's Secret catalogue models. It's wanted, adored, and flipped through repeatedly. It's in the paper, it makes news when it's bad (behavior-wise, not in terms of quality). People still want it, nonetheless.

A "ten" is Helen of Troy. It doesn't exist; it's a fable--an ideal. The Iliads and the Odysseys of the literary world are "tens". But you know what? Read the Iliad or the Odyssey--I dare you. They're not as good as you imagine. They have captured the imagination, though, and have remained in our consciousness, like Helen, for over twenty five centuries. Centuries. If you're not a statue of a blind man, you haven't written the literary equivalent to the face that launched a thousand ships. And if you are, then guess what: your shit sometimes gets repetitive, and your character conflicts are often telegraphed. So there.

"Fours" and below. Why? WHY? Unless you're completely shit-faced, you shouldn't be messing with one. When you wake up to a four, you should run. If it's a book, throw it away. Don't waste time. Books, like women, are there as a balm to man's soul, to bring joy (not to mention pleasure) in life. If a book hurts to read... move on.
 

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"Fours" and below. Why? WHY? Unless...blah blah blah
Because some people are more interested in personality and intellegence than pure looks and figure. And contrary to what some people want to believe, those beautiful looking people who are also smart, nice, and a decent sort are not in the majority.

From my experiences, the nicer you look the less you have to be because people do fixate on those looks and are more willing to forgive and forget. (Not everyone, and those are the natural enemies of certain people because they are not as easily fooled or lead around.)


However this is book rating scales, not women; so away with that topic and back to the real one if anyone else has something to add to it.


I would like to add something to my own scale, part of the reasoning behind my never using a 10/10. As someone training to become an engineer, I have had the notion that nothing is perfect and that there is always some room for improvement all but embedded within my skull. And when you think about it, its true; nothing is perfect because given enough time we will always find some way to improve that something. Things can be as perfect as we can make them at this time, but perfection doesn't happen. Near perfection happens, and it gets mistaken and held up as perfect.
 

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Deathwing Commissar
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In case the point was missed, half of the above was intended for the purposes of humor.

Additionally, while you might not agree with my dismissal of women I deem unattractive where short-time flings are concerned, the fact remains that my four-and-below grade scale clearly indicated that a reader might not want to invest time in a BOOK that is clearly not enjoyable to them*. Not the cover, but the book. Hence, your inject on the qualities of otherwise physically unattractive women is inapplicable. I can certainly accept critique in regards to me being shallow in my tastes, but it remains a poor comparison all the same.

Finally, where your value judgement is concerned, congratulations for indicating that the stereotype you subscribe to is simply aimed at the other end of the scale. Something about pots, kettles and colors comes to mind. :)

* I apologize for the run-on sentence...
 

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Finally, where your value judgement is concerned, congratulations for indicating that the stereotype you subscribe to is simply aimed at the other end of the scale. Something about pots, kettles and colors comes to mind.
Ack! Please take your well placed arrow of judgment and smugness out of my chest if you would please. :spiteful:

What I posted today explaining my thoughts on the 10/10 only applies to me using the scale I do, and only applies to the 10/10. Look at my scale again, and you'll notice I also don't believe 0/10 is an acceptable rating either.


Though if its the sentiment that nothing is ever truly perfect, I would ask you to choose something man made that is perfect and prove me wrong. Because losing, being taught something new, failure, and being proven wrong are the best ways to learn and improve.
 

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Deathwing Commissar
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If it makes you feel any better, my last paragraph was merely directed toward the statement about attractive women. :)

I wholeheartedly share you views on "perfect" works, hence my qualification of what a "10" would be, and how it typically ends up NOT being a "10" after all. :biggrin:

Cheers,
P.
 

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Bane of Empires
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Too many people hear someone called a "five" and think she must be ugly. In fact, a "five" is average. It's the average woman you see walking down the street everyday. You probably wouldn't chase after a "five" in a bar and buy her drinks, but if the "five" sat next to you and bought you a drink, I don't think you'd get up and leave out of principle. A lot of the books you read are "fives". They're not bad; they're just not good, either. If your house burnt down, chances are you wouldn't shout out "My copy of... was in there!" Chances are you wouldn't even remember it was in there until months later.
If your giving something a 10, you've gone from being objective to gushing and tacking additional praise where it is not needed.
I agree. People seem to think that 5/10 or even as high as 7 or 8/10 would be a criticism of a good book. Well it is in a way, but its certainly doesn't mean that book was bad. 5/10 is average remember kiddies.

Too often I see 10/10's and 1/10's floating around review sites. I can't think of a single book I would rate as 10/10. People really, was it flawless and perfect in everyway (or as close to as to warrant such a rating)? Chances are not. Then why give it a 10/10?! Similarily I see a fair few 1/10's (albeit not from the more prestigious reviewers), but the same thing applies. If your giving out several 10/10's then your going to lose credibility as a reviewer. I'm not saying don't do it, but if you do you better have hell come up with an extremely long and intricate justification for why it deserves such a rating in your eyes.

My current favourite BL novel (Legion) hits (at it's peak) a solid 8/10 in my eyes. Despite my widely-proclaimed love of the novel, was it perfect? No. It wasn't without it's faults, yet 8/10 is a fair and balanced rating of my opinions. Just because I love the novel that doesn't mean I can't see it's faults and am automatically going to give it a 10/10 (like some people seem to).
 

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I disagree on the 10/10 ranking, I agree that perfection does not exist and that no book is perfect, without any form of flaw, but I have a different take on the 10/10 ranking and flaws.

I feel that a 10/10 book is a book that has flaws but they are inconsequential, an author who has created such a great literary work that the flaws do not bother you, you don't even notice them until later and when you recheck for them you find that you don't care. For me a 10/10 isn't a flawless unachievable goal, its a goal that is reachable and that a few books I have read have achieved. When you can't fathom putting the book down because you can't stop reading, when you are sucked into it and in awe of what is happening at the moment, when you can identify with all the characters and understand what drives them rather than just the protagonist or the central antagonist..

These are the things that make a 10/10 novel. Ill admit that I have only seen a few of these, at best two. A Thousand Sons and The First Heretic are the only 10/10s that spring to mind for me. I stand by my ranking for these, and I don't feel that im gushing unnecessary praise on their authors because ive seen flaws in both, and they do not warrant lowering the ranking.
 

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Phoebus' Post, and the title made me think of this, for some reason.


Anyways -

1-4, I don't really bother to rate. There's not enough interest in them to keep me finishing the book on occasion, so it wouldn't be right for me to make a criticism based either on that, or to make an observation based on "I couldn't be arsed finishing the book, because it was that bad" would be too harsh. Each to their own, and unless they're really deserving of being put down like that, there's no need.

And yes, a 1-4 is the equivalent of going "Excuse me, I just need to scrub my cock with a wire brush".

5-6 Interesting enough to keep me turning the pages. But doesn't really capture my imagination thatmuch that I'll purchase, or read again.

7 My idea of an average book. While "5" might be the average book around, I'm not going to settle for just average when there's so much better around.

8 Begins to capture my imagination. Often can imagine some parts playing out in a movie, or how I would have shot the film etc. This is where the story becomes less important (i.e there's not much difference i story between 8-10).

9-10 Pretty much similar. Much of it comes down to presentation and how it's written, rather than the quality of story. This is why I believe that Pelham 123 is a decent book, rating an 8, while if a better writer than John Godey had written it, it could be a 9 or 10.

As to perfection, it cannot be done. There's simply no way in hell that a book can be perfect to everyone, in every single way. As such, I don't expect them to be, and instead, I rate it as to how I feel. For example, Rainbow Six, IMHO is a fairly masterpiece literature, and deserves a 10. Many won't like it, but a combination of "factual literature" from a prior history of that history, and the pace of the novel just goes the full way to as near as perfection.

And having a scale going from 1-10, but having 10 never achievable on principle just sounds like bollocks to me.



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These are the things that make a 10/10 novel. Ill admit that I have only seen a few of these, at best two. A Thousand Sons and The First Heretic are the only 10/10s that spring to mind for me. I stand by my ranking for these, and I don't feel that im gushing unnecessary praise on their authors because ive seen flaws in both, and they do not warrant lowering the ranking.
I'm gonna go ahead and call bullshit on this one as you "conveniently" manage to forget at least one of your 10/10 choices.
 

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Deathwing Commissar
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And having a scale going from 1-10, but having 10 never achievable on principle just sounds like bollocks to me.
I should probably have qualified that I throw in the decimal system in my 1-10 as well. In that sense, not having a 10 is more feasible, given that there's an additional range of 9.1 to 9.9. All humble opinion, of course. :)

As for the video, I'm going to say it featured a number of high 7s and low-to-mid 8s. :grin:
 

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1-3 painful to get through badly written, story line stupid and just pathetic, combat undewhelming, not worth buying-rynn's world

4- writing style irritated me, yet it had good moments that made the book worth reading, whilst there were a few canon fluff interests that increased my knowledge- space wolf omnibus

5- average, not terribly written but not well written. charactors entertained, story line engaging but i could put it down and forget it for a while and not be to bothered- galaxy in flames (yes i know but ben counter submits his manuscripts in crayon)

6- interesting book a little difficult to read yet in general i was interested and engaged by the plot, charactors and story line, however at points it dragged and i found it boring-flight of the einsteen

7-8-Soul hunter- A good solid read, enoyable with good pacing and description and excellent characterization, however there were faults with it and i felt it could be improved

9-Really liked it, read it avidly and had no problems with the plot or the realism, never got bored, yet it was not a never put down novel, i could leave it and come back to it- first heretic

9.5- I loved it, charactors engaged me, couldn't put it down, devoured it and hated the fact that it was over. Written beautifully, full of new information and generally was one fantastic book- thousand sons, fulgrim
 

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If a book is almost perfect I would give it a 10.. I mean I would give A thousand sons a 10/10. However if it was on a scale of 1-100 I wouldn't give it 100, like a 95 would do as there were a few things that bothered me about the book. Such as how it ends, mainly because it ends. I fell in love with that book and hated seeing it come to an end. Also... what the hell happens to those remembrencers, are they killed, do they escape? I have no idea. Maby they will pop up in prospero burns.
 

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I started reading Prospero Burns last night, and before I even got to the main text I was struck by another deviation in the Daniverse. The opening quote from Shakespeare is dated as M2.

Now, this would be correct if we were using our current calender, AD or CE, whichever you prefer, but in 40k they're counting from the birth of the Emperor, who should be 10,000 years old at this stage, therefore the quote should be dated M10.

God I just realised how much of a geek this post makes me sound.
 

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I started reading Prospero Burns last night, and before I even got to the main text I was struck by another deviation in the Daniverse. The opening quote from Shakespeare is dated as M2.

Now, this would be correct if we were using our current calender, AD or CE, whichever you prefer, but in 40k they're counting from the birth of the Emperor, who should be 10,000 years old at this stage, therefore the quote should be dated M10.

God I just realised how much of a geek this post makes me sound.
How on earth did you come to the conclusion that the Imperium dating system started counting from the birth of the Emperor?
 

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Bane of Empires
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1/10: An utter load of bullshit. Not really worth the paper it's printed on. A weak plot, no character development, no enthralling scenes, revelations or twists, and prose that could make you fall asleep. Go find another job son, because if this is something to base your career on your a crap author.
1.5/10 - Slightly more worthwhile than a 1/10, but not enough to warrant the next rating.

2/10: A very weak novel. A generally weak plot, little to no character development, not quite worth the lowest rating but still very weak overall.
2.5/10 - Slightly more worthwhile than a 2/10, but not enough to warrant the next rating.

3/10: General novel structures are stronger than the previous ratings but the negatives still significantly outweigh the positives.
3.5/10 - Slightly more worthwhile than a 3/10, but not enough to warrant the next rating.

4/10: There are some positives, be it in terms of plot, character development, prose, revelations/twists, writing style in general, or novel structure. But there are still too many flaws and negative issues to label it as 'good'.
4.5/10 - Slightly more worthwhile than a 4/10, but not enough to warrant the next rating.

5/10: An average novel. Roughly equal amounts of positives and negatives.
5.5/10 - Slightly more worthwhile than a 5/10, but not enough to warrant the next rating.

6/10: A good novel. There are many developements in terms of positive novel structures/ratings. But there are still a significant amount of flaws or issues with the novel.
6.5/10 - Slightly more worthwhile than a 6/10, but not enough to warrant the next rating.

7/10: A strong novel. Significant amounts of depth and development is established often in terms of the plot and character development. It is not without it's flaws but generally speaking it is a decent book.
7.5/10 - Slightly more worthwhile than a 7/10, but not enough to warrant the next rating.

8/10: A very good book. Everything that makes a good book is present; strong plot, deep and enthralling character development, intrigue, unexpected and thought-provoking twists, great prose, Et cetera. Minimal flaws and criticisms are still present regardless though.
8.5/10 - Slightly more worthwhile than a 8/10, but not enough to warrant the next rating.

9/10: A fantastic novel. Sheer brilliance. You really have to dig deep and spend a lot of time tweezing out those flaws, because there are next to none.
9.5/10 - Slightly more worthwhile than a 9/10, but not enough to warrant the next rating.

10/10: Perfection incarnate, or as close to as to warrant such a rating. This is a novel that ticks all the boxes, and an issue which you would be willing to kill an individual over if they rated this perfection much lower than a 10. :p
 

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I'm gonna go ahead and call bullshit on this one as you "conveniently" manage to forget at least one of your 10/10 choices.
I have admitted that I was hasty in giving Soul Hunter a 10/10, I feel now it is worthy of an 8/10, or 9/10 if im feeling generous. I feel ive made my reviews better since then and am a fairer judge, and as far as im concerned the only two novels in Black Library that deserve 10/10 now are A Thousand Sons and The First Heretic, and if I could only pick one of those for a 10/10 i'd give it to The First Heretic.

The only other novel i'd even consider for a 10/10 is Helsreach, and before you say anything about me favouring ADB, im not alone in my view on Helsreach.

http://www.graemesfantasybookreview.com/2010/04/helsreach-space-marines-battles-aaron.html
 
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