To build on our REVIEW GPA feature, which amalgamates reviews from mainstream press outlets, this end-of-the-month “IN REVIEWS” feature compares the ratings on three “amateur” review sites — Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Goodreads — to gauge readers’ opinions on the big books of the month.
11/22/63, by Stephen King — Review GPA: 3.14 (B/B+)
Amazon Average: 4.5 stars (295 ratings)
Goodreads Average: 4.40 (1,535 ratings)
Thoughts: Despite The Guardian calling King’s latest “little more than a bore,” raters seem to love it. It’s certainly possible that many of the early raters (the 849-page novel was published Nov. 8 ) are die-hard King fans, and there’s no way they wouldn’t like the novel. More likely, though, it’s actually just a very entertaining novel.
(NOTE: We had but one Review GPA post in November, but here are two more big November novels with their B&N/Amazon/Goodreads ratings.)
The Prague Cemetery, by Umberto Eco
Amazon Average: 3.5 stars (20 ratings)
Goodreads Average: 3.28 (464 ratings)
Thoughts: Many of the positive Amazon reviews came from members of its Vine Program, which presumably were pre-selected based on past reading and ratings (possibly of Eco novels). Therefore, I’d tend more to believe the B&N and Goodreads ratings that indicate the majority of readers aren’t huge fans of Eco’s new novel. It’s worth pointing out, though, that Eco is a divisive writer — people love to hate him, for reasons beyond the fact that his fiction tends to be difficult.
Micro: A Novel, by Michael Crichton
Amazon Average: 3 stars (19 ratings)
Goodreads Average: 3.40 (44 ratings)
Thoughts: Published Nov. 22, Micro is the second novel (after 2009’s Pirate Latitudes) to be published since Crichton’s death in 2008. And, sadly, it seems to be just about as poorly received by readers as Pirate Latitudes was. My suggestion: Skip this and instead return to the much-loved Crichton novels of yesteryear (Jurassic Park, Sphere, The Great Train Robbery, Rising Sun, etc.)
If you’ve read any of these, please let us know what you think by commenting below. Or, if you’ve reviewed any of them, please post a link to your review.