Re: What makes a good book to you?
I think the character can be as cold and calculating or as warm and welcoming as you like. However, they need to be "interesting" and have "interesting" things sorround them. Of course "interesting" is hard to define as its different for all people, or even chacaters.
To me, a formula that seems to work to my interst is to have several "interesting" characters, some good, some bad obviously and develo the story thru oppossing view points. If your character has conflicting personalities, and interesting take could be to have alternating chapters b/w his good side and his dark side, perhaps w/o informing the reader of what they are experiencing until they figure it out for themselves.
If we're talking fiction, I like chapters that are short, 20 pages or less. You start getting above that, it the chapter doesn't make for a "quick" read. You get a handful of 5-6 page chapters followed by a 30 page chapter, that works, I just find a series of 30-40 page chapters more difficult to get thru.
Its fiction, so obviously the sorroundings don't have to be authentic, but they need to feel authentic. By that, you can get away with having sub machine guns in 18th century france, but you need to get into the details on why you have sub machine guns in 18th century france, how that changes what we view as history, etc... I find that the more detailed the sorroundings get, the more emersive the story feels.