A friend inquired about the reason for my rating of some books as 4 starrers instead of 5 starrers even though I have marked them as my favorites. So, here is the reason:
This started as a game for me, and it still is. What I actually do is rate a certain work on a scale of 0-5 in different categories that I have created. I take an average of all the categories to arrive at the final rating. And for Goodreads, I round off my overall ratings for a particular book for the site. Mind you, some categories here are closely related but that hasn’t stopped me from rating the books I have read in the past, so there is no reason why that should hinder me now.
I would not give general description for any book in my reviews (if I write them at all) as it is already available on Goodreads.
And since I have babbled about my rating “games” in my profile, I think it is about time I wrote my reviews as such; much to the chagrin of all my friends here at Goodreads. Title: ‘Yellow Blue Tibia’ by Adam Roberts
At first I was like “What kind of a name is that?” Then mightily aware of the extent of my English vocabulary, I picked up the dictionary and found that “tibia” means “the inner and thicker of the two bones of the human leg between the knee and ankle”. It doesn’t help much, does it? I thought the same. But don’t worry, the meaning is revealed in the novel (at a very later stage) and I am not going to ruin it for you.
Moreover, this book is hard to classify. Surely, it is classified as a science fiction, but it reads more like a mystery.Beginning: (4 out of 5 stars)
What with today’s modus vivendi (did I say that right?), our attention span has shortened considerably, so it is important that writers engage your mind right away, otherwise that book would be shelved in the “did-not-finish” shelve (shelf?).
But ‘Yellow Blue Tibia’ starts on a high note with “Comrade” Stalin making an appearance in the very first chapter.Overall Pace: (4 out of 5 stars)
The first 4 chapters have an average pace compared to the pace between chapters 5 and 16 (that is, until the end of the part 2). Part 3 is bit of a drag. And some chapters might seem confusing at first, especially chapters 2, 3 and 4, but I would advice you to persist as things start getting interesting from Chapter 5 onwards. Characterization: (4 out of 5 stars)
The protagonist – Konstantin Andreiovich Skvorecky’s character is very well developed. He is sarcastic, witty and despite his predicament – calm.
Other character to watch out for would be Saltykov who has some kind of a “syndrome”, and as a result he refuses to make any physical contact with another human being, especially males.
All in all, the book contains well fleshed out characters.Humor: (4 out of 5 stars)
Generally I don’t rate books like this under this section. But I would have to make an exception in this case. Skvorecky with his wry wit makes you chuckle more than a few times. The scenes where he is interrogated by the militia investigator and then by the KGB agent in the car are very funny indeed.Suspense: (4 out of 5 stars)
There are so many layers to this story that you cannot presume anything.Thrill: (4 out of 5 stars)
There are plenty of close calls, especially for Skvorecky.Tension: (3 out of 5 stars)
Somehow, the dry wit of the protagonist dissolves some of the tension out of the plot.Twist: (4 out of 5 stars)
There were so many twists in the story that at one point I was on the verge of being overwhelmed.Action: (4 out of 5 stars)
The book contains a lot of action considering that the protagonist is an old and fragile man.Plausibility: (4 out of 5 stars)
Given the plot, the characters behaved as per their “design”, that is, in hindsight, you won’t call bull shit to any of their actions except for one instance when Saltykov decided not to jump a red signal even when a greater danger (of being shot) lurked at them. Climax: (4 out of 5 stars)
The end would make your head spin but not in the wrong way. That would be anti-clockwise. It would spin your head clockwise. Or it could be some third thing.AVERAGE RATING: 3.91. Say, 4 STARS.