(From a post on Liam’s Library 4th January 2016)
In the spirit of the new year and after much thought on the topic I’ve come to the decision that I need to re-consider how I rate books. This is to help me give better reviews for you, become clearer in my thoughts and allow me to not have to stress over whether I’m being too harsh or too lenient.
I find often that I will only talk about the books that I loved or really enjoyed on my blog because when I dislike a book I like to quietly move on. Perhaps because I like my blog to showcase book ‘positivity’ or perhaps because I’mscared to give bad reviews. But I’ve come to the realisation that this is a book blog set up to show my opinions and feelings about books. To accurately do that I need to encompass all books.
This doesn’t mean I’m suddenly going to become ridiculously harsh on the books I review, merely inclusive of all books. Both good and bad.
In general I rate books keeping in mind both emotion and technicality. How much was I invested in the story and characters? Was I flipping the pages to know what happens to my favourite character? Or on the flip side, were the characters a bit flat? Was reading the book becoming a chore or a bore? How my reading experience was is also a big factor.
Today, I’ll be going over the basic five star rating system (such as the one on Goodreads) one at a time and explaining how I would judge a book that receives that rating. I won’t get into half stars. Just know that a half star obviously means the book is somewhere in between the two star ratings.
After I’ve published this post, I’ll put it on its own page on my blog for anyone who wishes to refer back to it. Let’s get started!
One Star: I completely disliked (or even hated) this book. There is zero or one redeeming quality about it. Maybe I even DNF’d this book (though, I tend not to review DNF books). Poorly written and poorly executed. A complete struggle to get through.
Two Stars: I wasn’t a big fan of this book. I was able to finish it but I didn’t like the majority of things about this book. Usual problems include two-dimensional characters, poor writing or boring plot. Difficulty finding the motivation to persist through it.
Three Stars: I liked this book. Everything is generally well-done but nothing excellent. There are a few key things that could’ve been done to improve the novel. Perhaps there was a disconnection between the reader and the story or protagonist.
Four Stars: I really enjoyed this book. The storyline was really enjoyable and entertaining. The writing was paced nicely and the characters were well-developed and three dimensional. But there was one or possibly more things missing from it being a favourite.
Five Stars: I loved this book! The characters had a distinct voice and something special. The plot was unique and hooked me, making it a struggle to put the book down. The writing complimented the story well. Most likely a favourite!
Hopefully these definitive ways of rating books will help me when it comes to reviewing to be more clear and concise.