I’ve been planning a post explaining my star rating for eight months now. I added to it, and added to it. I’m still no where near finishing. So I thought I’d just write a brief post.
I generally work out my ratings based on the following criteria:
- Writing (style, ease of reading, editing/grammar)
- Plot (Engaging, surprising)
- Characters (Internally consistent, complex)
- Worldbuilding (Setting, backstory, mythology etc)
- Personal Enjoyment (Emotional investment etc)
Each criteria gets up to one star. Occasionally I’ll make slight exceptions if I think one element outweighs another element. For example, if the plot is a bit lacking, but the characters and worldbuilding more than make up for it, I might still rate it slightly higher. This is usually only rounding it up by half a star at most. I don’t break down my star ratings in my posts, but I try to cover each element in my written review, so if one is worth a bit more than usual, it’s usually pretty clear.
I am trying to do half stars now, but for much of the year I did round up or down to the nearest star. I don’t think it has a great impact, but if you check out any old reviews, you may want to bear that in mind (This usually happens with 3.5 star books).
I’ve tried to make my system of rating as objective and as consistent as possible, but obviously there’s always going to be some subjectivity involved.
If you want to have an even more basic explanation, here it is:
0 stars – DNF
1 Star – I really hated it, but I finished it
2 Stars – I disliked it
3 Stars – It was a decent book
4 Stars – I really liked it
5 Stars – I absolutely loved it
Just to be clear: for me, a three star book can still be a good book, and often I still recommend them. Just because some parts of a book aren’t quite working for me, doesn’t mean they’re not going to work for someone else.
How do you rate your books? Do you have a defined system, or do you rely more on instinct when you rate?