The Writers Write Book Review Format

How We Rate Books

Our reviewers rate books from 1-5

  1. For use as a doorstop only
  2. Keep for publishers’ and booksellers’ strikes
  3. A great holiday read
  4. You’ll remember this with enthusiasm a month later
  5. Unforgettable

The review must be a minimum of 180 words and not longer than 220 words.

The Writers Write Layout

Title by Author (Publisher) ISBN:

The body of the review. (For review content, read: How To Write A Great Book Review)

No of words: (for the editor – will not appear in final review)
Readability: (for the editor – will not appear in final review)

Example 1:

Born A Crime by Trevor Noah (Macmillan) ISBN: 9781770105065

Trevor Noah is a consummate teller of tales whose thoughtful comedy routines are carefully plotted and set up before he delivers the punch line. He seldom resorts to slapstick, hysteria, or profanity. He is seldom distracted. This ability to tell a linear story is perfect for translating material from his life and his routines into his memoir.

He writes beautifully. The simplicity of his technique allows the complexity of his narrative to shine through.

Born A Crime is the story of Patricia Noah and her son, Trevor. It is about looking for a place to call home, and of wanting to belong. As much as Trevor Noah was defined by being born a crime in South Africa, he is even more defined by his mother and her journey, which became their journey.

His story will resonate with any thinking South African. He manages to put so much of who we are into this book – a fractured people divided by colour, by tribe, and by language. The apartheid system separated everybody, black from white from Indian from coloured, and then divided us further by language. But we are also united because we witnessed it.

Born A Crime is Noah’s testimony. It is brave and funny. Read it. Buy it for somebody you love. You won’t regret it.

Amanda Patterson
Words: 216
Readability: 63.8%

Example 2:

The Burning Wire by Jeffery Deaver (Simon & Schuster) ISBN: 9780340937297

After 20 novels, Deaver is better than ever. The Burning Wire is the eighth in the Lincoln Rhyme series. Rhyme, a quadriplegic criminologist, and Detective Amelia Sachs, were immortalised by Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie in The Bone Collector.

A killer manipulates the electricity grid in New York. He creates sudden arcs of power that kill in a slow and torturous horror show. This throws Amelia into a world of electric nightmares. Rhyme also follows a case in Mexico involving the one that got away – the Watchmaker.

The novel spans 48 terrifying hours. I found out more about electricity in an evening than I’ve learned in my lifetime. Deaver juggles his storylines so well. His perfect planning allows each chapter to escalate tension in a plausible way. He does not pad his books with irrelevant facts, twists and relationships. Every word is meant to be there.

You will not be able to put this book down and if you do, you will find your mind drifting back to the story. Or to the nearest electrical appliance. I’ve looked at my hair dryer with new eyes in the last few days. Highly recommended.

Amanda Patterson
Words: 192
Readability: 62.3%

Example 3:

The Power by Naomi Alderman (Viking) ISBN: 9780241015728

I always thought that when women ruled the world peace and sanity would prevail, but in this piece of speculative fiction, Naomi Alderman disagrees.

On what will become known as The Day of the Girls, an awakening occurs giving teenage girls the power to emit an electrical current that kills. The girls also have the power to awaken this talent in all women, which results in a shift of power that topples the patriarchy and replaces it with a mostly cruel and violent matriarchy.

The concept is awesome and I loved the different viewpoints. The characters were distinct and I couldn’t put it down. The use of the television presenters and the one male point of view was effective. I won’t say I enjoyed reading it. I was uncomfortable and it was disturbing, but it made me ask many questions.

There are scenes of rape and violence that I found hard to read, but these clearly illustrated the author’s point. I expected more from the ending, but the concept is still strong enough to ensure a good read.

The Power was a haunting, thought-provoking novel that I am unable to forget even weeks after reading it.

Mia Botha
Words: 196
Readability: 61.8%

Posted on: 6th April 2017