Review Rating System

Tales from Absurdia follows the Goodreads five-star format of reviewing, with a few tweaks for clarity.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ = Essential

⭐⭐⭐⭐ = Highly Recommended

⭐⭐⭐ = Decent

⭐⭐ = Disappointing

⭐ = Avoid

No review format is perfect, but I do find that this method produces the most honest and constructive feedback. Below, you’ll find a full breakdown of my criteria.



An Essential rating is the highest accolade on Tales from Absurdia.

I’ll usually award this to a book that leaves a strong lasting impression or challenges previously held beliefs.

Recipients of this rating include The Sound Mirror and Mrs Death Misses Death.


Highly Recommended

A Highly Recommended book is well written, explores interesting ideas in a satisfying way, and wholly memorable.

A ⭐⭐⭐⭐  text has to really stand out from the rest.

Leonard & Hungry Paul and Boys Don’t Cry are fine examples of this.



Decent rating is a positive endorsement.

A ⭐⭐⭐ book does some things very well, and others less so. Perhaps the book explores some really intriguing ideas, but that they aren’t developed as fully as they could have been.

I may still recommend this book, but only to the right audience.

A good read nonetheless, but not quite enough to leave a lasting impression.



Disappointing means that a certain level of expectation was not met.

A ⭐⭐ is not entirely without merit but it ultimately fails to capture me.

On that point alone, I would not recommend a ⭐⭐ book.



Avoid is fairly self-explanatory – I really didn’t like this book and I don’t recommend you pick it up either.

Fortunately, I don’t give out too many of these out, but memorable recipients of the ⭐ club include Paolo Coehlo’s pitiful The Alchemist and The Thursday Murder Club.