How Do You Rate? | Discussion

So while looking back through my review posts and ratings on Goodreads I have discovered something strange. Although it can be quite difficult to say a 4 star contemporary book is the same as a 4 star fantasy novel, they have the same star rating.

I have discovered that while rating series I tend to compare and rate the books against each other. So where I gave Spirit Bound #5 in the Vampire Academy a 3.5 star rating in reality is was probably closer to a 4/4.5 star rating, but in comparison to the other books in the series it was my least favorite. Is that fair to do?

How do you step back and assign a rating to a book based solely on that one book. How do you not compare it to another in the same series. Do you try and rate the book on a set of criteria regardless of its genre. Do you rate on what the author presented and accomplished in the story they were telling?

I haven’t really ever sat down and thought about this and realize now that rating books is such a struggle. I gave The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre both 4 star ratings, but there is no way I could compare these two to each other. To say I liked one more the other would be a correct statement too, but I gave them both the same rating.

I guess what I would really like to know is How Do You Rate? How do you approach this situation and what are the things that affect your ratings?

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4 thoughts on “How Do You Rate? | Discussion

  1. I used to rate series books relative to one another, because it felt weird or somehow wrong to give them all, say, a 4-star rating, with no indication of how the individual books rise and fall within that series. But over time, I got over that. I’ve read hundreds of books. I have five possible ratings to choose from. Naturally, there are going to be lots of books that I rate the same that I don’t necessarily like in the same ways or even the exact same amount.

    This is the reason I don’t do half-stars. Even if I had ten options to choose from, the same would still be true, and it would lead to a lot more indecision and second guessing every time I finished a book. Keeping it vague is actually more helpful for me.

    Getting back to the series question, though… not every series is going to have the same rating for every book, but it no longer bothers me if they do.

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  2. I used to rate books out of ten on my blog. I stopped because I wasn’t happy with it. It didn’t make sense to me to put an objective number on something as subjective as my opinion. So my rating system is now based on how strongly I recommend a book.

    That being said, I still use the star rating on goodreads because it’s helpful when I go through my “read” shelf when I’m doing lists or tags. My ratings on goodreads are instinctual and a knee jerk reaction. It’s less of “Hmm, the plot was really good…4 stars” and more of “this book deserves 4 stars because…it feels like a 4 star book.”

    As for series, I’m perfectly fine with rating books within a series differently. Does it happen? Not often, but when it does there’s usually a good reason for it.

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  3. Ratings are so difficult. To actual rate is the hard part. I tend to not really think too much about the rating but in fact depend more on the review and see why the reviewer gave a book 4 stars, what makes a book 4 stars to them. And then based on the review (not the rating) I can be like ‘ahh okay so this is my 3.5 stars’ or something. For me personally, only two things define how I give ratings:
    1. How much I enjoy(ed) the book/how excited I am to read it or while reading it [this is what really determines if I give a book 5 stars]
    2. How many problems there are [many little problems drop like 1 – 2 stars off e.g. not liking characters you’re suppose to like or weak world building etc. Big problems can drop a star off all on it’s own e.g. the writing, stupid character decisions, not liking most of the characters, love triangles etc.].
    Rating is always going to be a difficult thing and everyone rates completely differently so I try not to worry too much about what ‘star’ has been given but more on what they have to actually say about the book. And yes different formats of book (graphic novels, manga, fantasy novels, contemporary,audio etc) also slightly change how we rate books too naturally.

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