Do you prefer character-driven stories, or plot-driven stories?
This is a remarkably tough question (and please bear with any linguistic nonsense coming up, I’ve spent the afternoon verifying a translation from German to English and I tend to end up speaking English with German grammar after a long stint).
My immediate reaction was “plot, obviously!” but then I thought about the books I don’t get on with and it’s almost always due to a lack of likeable characters (Snapshot, Nina Todd Has Gone, William Walker’s First Year of Marriage) rather than a lack of discernible plot. If the novel is a beautiful character study (e.g. The Weird Sisters – review to come, Moon Tiger), I don’t mind if it’s primarily character driven.
I save particular venom for novels with no evident or reasonable plot, no characters with whom I can identify, and terrible language. For a book to get more than 5/10 from me, it’s got to have 2 out of 3. The God of Small Things only got 5/10 because of the amazing language. Ditto A Visit from the Goon Squad – again, review coming soon – got 3/10 for the concept and clever ideas.
I guess I’m on the side of the characters then!