I know that many folks aren’t fans of ratings. How can you determine from someone’s rating if the book will be good or not? While I do tend to avoid ratings, I can’t help but notice them.
Since rating systems are pretty subjective (and let’s be honest, reviews are subjective as well), I thought I would try and explain my system and how I plan to approach books in 2021 and going forward. Before I get into the rating system, I want to mention that I don’t rate books 1 or 2 stars. It’s not that I don’t come across books I’m not a fan of, it’s just that I don’t waste my time reading a book I’m not enjoying. If I don’t read, I don’t rate. I don’t think it’s any good for me to rate a book I didn’t finish because I have no clue what happens at the end. Maybe it twists and turns and maybe it picks up, but I won’t ever know that because I didn’t finish it, I didn’t like it, and I didn’t care enough to want to know.
So most of my reviews will start with 3 stars and above. I kept the system simple because I don’t like trying to parse out my feelings about a book across three stars. You’ll notice that this breakdown is similar to the one they have on Goodreads. It’s by design. Here’s the breakdown:
3 Stars – I liked it
Many folks will see 3 stars as a “meh” book, but I think it means it was good. I was thinking about how there are some books that I can obviously see as flawed in certain ways, but still enjoyed reading. Sometimes it’s not about whether they’re able to build a big fantasy world or have characters make good decisions. Sometimes it’s about getting into a story because it’s entertaining and enjoyable. I want to make more room for books like this because they’re not bad books, they just could have been better. Of course there were flaws and shortcomings to the novel and I would probably get into those flaws within the review, but overall a solid read and one I would recommend to certain folks.
4 Stars – I loved it
This will probably be the star rating you’ll see me give books most of the time. If I loved the book, then it will probably get four stars. I don’t necessarily see four stars as a step down from five stars, I see it mostly as an incredible read with a lot of themes and characters that I can definitely get into. Maybe it had a flaw here or there, but nothing too bad that took away from my enjoyment of the novel. I always tend to forget that books are sometimes made to be enjoyed and not be profound. Perhaps there are life lessons and themes about the reality of our world and those I enjoy immensely, but as long as those themes and lessons are done well I don’t fault the book for being too character-driven, slow, or have a lack of world building. These are the books that I think will draw a big crowd of people and have a following that can most definitely drive authors to continue writing.
5 Stars – It blew me away
I did a lot of thinking about this and I was handing out five stars like they were candy on Halloween. But when I would think about the book a little bit more, I would realize that there weren’t the most perfect book. It was something about the book that made me look past all the shortcomings and just embrace it with a warm hung and a happy feeling. Does that mean the book is readable for you?
I think the most perfect book is a rarity and difficult to find and if it is perfect, it’s only my opinion that it’s perfect. It’s also quite emotionally fueled rating and I think that’s okay. Some books will just hit different and I think five star ratings should be reserved for books just like that. It might be quite subjective, but if I give a book five stars, it’s because I think this book will definitely make you feel the way I felt after I finished reading it, will definitely be readable in the future and bring a huge following to the author who worked hard on the book. Books don’t have to be perfect to get five stars. It just needs to be perfect for me.