Hey everyone! This is probably the topic that I want to discuss the most: being not critical enough in book reviews/while giving ratings. A lot of people may view me as a reader who gives five stars away too easily. My average rating on Goodreads is about 4 stars, and 70% of the books I read I give at least 4 stars to. So, you may be wondering, am I not critical enough?
I actually disagree. I do give five stars and four stars more often than 3 or less, but for reasons. First of all, I only read books I think I will enjoy. I don’t have TIME for bad books. I research the books I read before I go into them, I read negative reviews and positive reviews, and I make sure that it sounds like something I will give at least 3 stars to. After all, who wants to read a bad book?
Most of the books I read are also at least a bit popular in the book community. Since I can’t read so many books in a month, I usually choose ones that are new releases or from authors I’ve read and loved in the past, which tend to have some hype.
Now you’re going to ask: well then, how do you rate your books?
I have a whole page on how I rate books here, but that only discusses what each star rating means. Right now, we’re talking about WHY I give those star ratings.
I have these criteria going into a book which determine my rating:
- Expectations: are they met? Do I expect a lot? Is the book hyped? Do I think the hype is worth it? Was I surprised by it, or let down?
- Enjoyment: did I actually LIKE reading it? Was it fun? Is it supposed to be fluffy, or actually serious? Why am I reading it: for an awesome plot or just some cute stuff?
- Moral: Did the story affect me in a deep way? If not, did I EXPECT to be affected by it?
These points, of course, are influenced by other things going on in the novel like the plot and the romance and characters, etc.
I think one thing some reviewers don’t get is that a fluffy, sweet contemporary I rate five stars is NOT the same thing as a fantasy with amazing characters and plot twists that I rate five stars.
Why? Because of my EXPECTATIONS. Going into a summer contemporary, I don’t expect to be blown away with plot twists and world building. I rate books for what they are. It is not fair comparing two books from totally different genres.
That being said, if the so-called contemporary DOESN’T meet my expectations of being a cute and fluffy read, then I will give it a lower rating. Same goes with a fantasy novel: if it disappoints me in the sense that it didn’t have what I expected (in fantasy’s case: world building, nicely written characters), then I will rate it lower.
And of course the enjoyment matters so much to me, which is directly correlated with expectations. See the thing for my reading is that, if I enjoyed a book, even if it has flaws, I’ll give it a good rating. I’m not saying if I only enjoyed part of it, I mean if I thoroughly liked reading it. I think reviewers often forget that in the end, we’re reading for fun. No one’s forcing us. We do this as a hobby, and even if a book is not perfect, if you liked it, you should give it that extra star. Anyways, that’s my opinion.
Long story short: it’s important being critical in ratings, but don’t forget we read for fun!
What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you think you’re too critical, or not? Thanks for reading!
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