I recently read a discussion post by Ashleigh over at A Frolic Through Fiction that got me thinking about how I rate books and if I am too positive when it comes down to rating and reviewing.
Ashleigh asked the question that if a reviewer always gives books 4 or 5 stars then can you trust them compared to somebody who isn’t afraid to give a book 1 or no stars.
Now I don’t openly go out to read bad books, and I guess most people pick up a book with the expectation of it being good. But I have noticed I have given a lot of books 4 or 5 stars in the past. Yet when I look back on it I realise that it doesn’t deserve this rating.
5 star books for me should be books that are your favourite or have changed the way you see life or just a book that you will always love. I know this can change over time but I have noticed that there are books I have given 4 or 5 stars because I have enjoyed them and not hated them, but they weren’t anything special.
I feel that as a reviewer of books I shouldn’t be afraid to give books lower ratings and discuss the reasons behind why I didn’t like the book. But at the same time, I don’t think as reviewers we should feel like with have to have mixed reviews on our blogs and not all 4 or 5 star reviews.
I think the main problem with reviewing is with how you review books. I will give a book a rating on Goodreads as soon as I finish it which usually means it gets higher than what it might deserve, because I haven’t gone away an thought about it.
Once I have committed myself to that rating I rarely go back and change it and therefore usually stick with that same rating in my written reviews.
I also think that seeing other people’s ratings on Goodreads and blogs acts as a pressure. If you see a book have a high rating on Goodreads then you might feel obliged to give it a higher rating because other’s liked it. The same with books with lower ratings. Fifty Shades of Grey has a rating of 3, and so that is what I ended up rating it, even though at the time I really enjoyed the plot.
After thinking about the way I review things I have decided to take more time when picking a rating instead of going with my first thought. This way you can be sure that with all of my ratings they are 100% my full thoughts instead of the immediate impulse to rate a book positively and not criticize aspects within the novel.
Do you rate books too positively? Do you think reviewers should be harsher with their ratings?