One of the pieces of my goal to reading deeper and reviewing better is tweaking my rating system, or rather the elements that factor into how a book can make it to a five star level for me. It’s definitely a hard one to take on since I have previously thought of myself as a fairly easy “grader” in terms of what I read. For the most part, I typically read books that I had extensively researched and followed what others had said was top notch to begin with, so the risks of picking up books that just weren’t my type was limited. As I’ve started to read books that are not as well researched or in some cases hyped I’m learning that I can and do occasionally have opinions that are outside of the mass agreement. I also know that in the past if I loved a book I rated it 5 stars and then couldn’t tell you why beyond that I was addicted. It’s still something I struggle with since I inhale those books and don’t take the best notes then but it’s one I am actively working on. So, the rating system? I’t still very much like it used to be, save the four and five star levels being tougher to hit.
- I rarely if ever have rated a book one star. It feels unnecessarily cold, and if there are books I’ve thought could hit that low they are already DNFs anyway and I won’t let it get that far. It isn’t fair to myself and definitely not to the author, since you won’t have anything good to say, so I just don’t go through with that.
- In the past year or so I’ve actually rated a handful of books a two, and the majority were sequels that felt like they came out of left field. It’s not that a book was missing a few crucial elements, it’s instead a feeling of being ripped out of a story and unable to piece together what has happened. The big culprits in the stories I’m referring to were weird time skips with actual plot affecting action, characters flip flopping on crucial viewpoints they had, and pacing issues. If it takes me out of the immersion of a book more than a time or two I am noting it whether I want to or not.
- The average rating, and my most common one at that. These are typically books that I really did enjoy, but know that there were flaws, some minor and some major. They are still really good reads, but were missing elements that would have made it the perfect read.
- Pretty close to perfect are four star reads. If there were larger flaws, the addictive nature of the book made up for it. Some of my recent reads fell into this category as I loved and inhaled some of these books, but still had a few items that I felt could have been expanded on, or areas in the world that could have been explored.
- The ultimate rating for anyone, and also the one I’m trying not to throw around whenever I highly enjoyed something. Am I still going to rate Chain of Thorns a solid five? You know it! Will I still have things to say on a five star read beyond gushing? Yes, it’ll just be highlighting why I think the book in question deserved such high praises, and what made it get that. These are books that live in a ball of light in my head, no negatives or cons touching that space.
I was watching other reviewers on YouTube recently and really started thinking on how I was reviewing after a comment about why they didn’t rate every book they enjoyed as four or five stars. It always comes down to was the book absolute perfection for you? If so, why? If not, what was missing? I think it might have been Merphy Napier, but it was a big change in my outlook, since I’m working on being more detailed in my reviews anyway. This is like one of those stepping stones in the process, and a crucial one at that. That is to say though, that at the end of the day all of this is highly subjective. What I like or don’t like will always have an opposing opinion from someone else, and I actually love that. I really enjoy reading the review section and going between reviewers who loved, and those who hated the same book. What is your rating scale like? Do you think of yourself as an easy rater or harder one? Let me know in the comments below!