I’ve had this blog for just over two years now, and I am loving every minute of it. I’m so happy with the opportunities I’ve had thanks to this, and I’ve written about some books and some bookish topics that I am really passionate about – which is great! For the last couple of years, my book reviews have always been rounded off with a star rating out of five; this was always quite neat because I could copy it easily onto Goodreads and Amazon, and all three places would have the same rating.
However, as I rated more and more books, I was getting frustrated when I would finish a book, thinking it was good, but not perfect, and so give it four stars. Fine. Right? Well, my four star reviews were racking up thick and fast, and it got to the point where I would compare two books that I’d both given four stars, and think that they were very different novels entirely. I looked at my reviewed fiction books, totalling 96, and almost 40 of them I had given four stars – that’s quite a lot to give the same rating. I don’t think I’ve come across any two books which I have enjoyed in exactly the same manner, so why should my rating suggest so?
It was then that I made the decision to rate my books differently. I looked into the different plug-ins on WordPress, and settled on the one I use now, which allows me to rate my books out of 10 for as many categories as I like, and giving the book an average of all of them. I have chosen to have these four categories:
- Characters – how compelling were the characters? How much did they drive the book? How much did I sympathise or empathise for them?
- Plot – was the plot exciting? Unpredictable? Emotional? How much was I invested in where the plot was going?
- Quotability – will I remember this author’s writing? Will I want to quote lines of the book to other people? How well is the book written?
- Ending – is the ending satisfying? Does it all tie together nicely? Are there any loose ends or questions left unanswered?
As someone who reads a lot of books, it’s nice to be able to have a varied list where my books are rated in a more detailed and granular way. Plus, it’s nice for people who read my reviews to be able to see why I gave the book the rating I did. I also would like people to read my reviews and appreciate my opinion, and writing, on them – something I think which is harder to do if my readers think I’ve just slapped any old rating on the end. Plus, because I write spoiler-free reviews, I hope that they are adverts for books which I think other people should read, so this more detailed system should help signify whether they will enjoy the book or not.
I haven’t done this system yet for my non-fiction reviews, mainly because I can’t decide what the categories would be, and I feel that non-fiction is a lot harder to rate because a lot of the time, it’s mostly just fact. But I hope that now, everyone who reads my reviews will have a thorough understanding of whether I enjoyed the book, and take away a little something from reading it.