Fair and balanced is something I try to be when I review or rate a book and I weigh what I think readers would want to know about the book (without revealing spoilers) against going on and on about things that personally annoy me. My ratings are probably on the high side because I start at 4 stars which is “recommended” on this site, and work my way up or down. I may absolutely love a book that you might hate for the same reasons, and I may rate a book as 4.5 stars that someone else rated as 2 or 3 stars or vice versa, but that’s how ratings work.
There’s nothing wrong with either rating because it reflects what that reviewer’s personal opinion is about a book. I’m not a fiction writer and don’t pretend to be one. Although I write for a living, my stuff is so dull it would put you to sleep, 🙂 so I try not to be too analytical when I review a book and just indicate what I loved/hated about it, and overall whether I thought it was a good read. At times I point out specific issues I had with the plot or characterizations, because if I don’t love the characters very rarely would I love the book. As for the huge ranges in ratings for a particular book? What explanation can there be other than personal taste? There is no reviewing school so most reviewers have their own imperfect system for rating books.
I was looking at some of the reviews on this site and others and wondered at the wide range of ratings for the same books. Obviously a lot of this has to do with personal likes and dislikes as we all have our own internal rating systems. For example, I’m always going on about things in M/M that annoy me such as The Big Misunderstanding (this is just an example). 🙂 The BM could probably affect my rating of a book with that theme without my being aware of it, but another reviewer may not be as bothered and would therefore rate this same book much higher, which goes to show that some readers are more forgiving than others on different aspects of books they read. Rating a book sometimes could be a gut feel more than anything else for a lot of reviewers and reflects their love for a particular author’s writing, a theme, the characterizations in the book, or a combination of a host of other things. Ultimately I think most people rate a book based on what they like to read. I am very aware of my own flawed system of rating 🙂 but I do try to tell you upfront on occasion why I rated a book the way I did.
So why am I writing this post? It’s to find out what types of books you like to read and what factors you would consider if you were rating a book. What kind of reader are you and what elements would you use as Reviewer for a Day? What moves you about a book? Are you more of a forgiving than a critical reader? What about the plot – if it doesn’t make sense would you still rate the book highly? Do you like lots and lots of angst? Hot and hotter sex where the protagonists can’t wait to jump into bed even before they shake hands? Or do you look for books where the fires are banked and it’s more about the emotions than the sex? Do you love action adventures? What if the action were as slow as molasses – how would that affect your rating of a book? If you were rating a book would you get mad at writers because they didn’t write the book you wished they had, so you penalize them for that by downgrading the rating? Could you try to put yourself in the shoes of a reader whose likes/dislikes were exactly opposite to yours and point out some of the ‘positives’ that you hated?
Be a Reviewer for a Day. See how tough the job really is. 🙂 At the end of the day I hope one of you will step forward and volunteer to review a book on the site that you either loved or hated. 🙂