Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Five Star Ratings?

Today I was planning to post my review of The Maze Runner by James Dashner, which I'm apparently not doing now - anyways, it got me thinking about ratings and how we go about building up one book, or tearing down another. That's the point of reviewing, right; voicing your thoughts about books you have read, and recommending books you liked to other readers... But what about those novels that were absolutely wonderful, and heart-wrenching?

Something I've noticed whilst thinking about my reviews, is that I've never given a book a five out of five. And it got me wondering if I was being too picky? I mean, there are books I've read that deserve five stars such as The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult, or Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer; which I haven't reviewed. I even tried reviewing the novels. But I could never come up with the right words to explain how excellent these books were and how much they actually meant to me, personally.

To be honest I think I was, and still am, slightly frightened, like reviewing a five star book would ruin it. If I didn't phrase everything exactly right. And its become an issue, really, not that I'm doing it on purpose, but I think a five star book depends on the person reading it. Obviously, every book wants five star reviews, but in my mind five star books are like perfection. See, even now I'm probably not explaining properly...

When I rate a book five stars, whether its a review or not, its because its usually a very well written novel, with an excellent plot, and interesting characters, but as an added element, I think a five star book should be something that is able to touch the reader personally, emotionally perhaps, rather than simple enjoyment and excitement that maybe a four or three star book would supply. I'm probably the only person with this problem, as other reviewers seem to write reviews for five star books quite easily. So, again, I have to ask myself, am I being picky? In all honesty I don't think I am. At the end of the day a five star book should be a novel that's able to connect with its reader, its those few books that other authors would aspire to write.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic; how do you decide if a book deserves a five star rating? 

2 comments:

  1. Recently, I've been having trouble reviewing The Raven Boys because its just so perfect that I might end up saying similar phrases that I used for The Fault in Our Stars or Shadow and Bone. I know I should because I really want to but I just can't. So, I get what you mean. And having a spoiler-free review is extremely hard!
    This post gave me a great way to review The Raven Boys though. Emotional. That's what I was looking for. There should be a column for all 5 star reviews on why or how it spoke to you emotionally. Great post and thanks! :D

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  2. I've given quite a few books five stars this year - If I leave the final page knowing I'll instantly recommend it to *anyone* who is looking for a book in that genre without explanation, it's earned it! If I feel I would recommend it but with a small caveat as to why I am doing so, it probably gets a four...

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