Judging from some of the reviews I’ve read in my time, I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one like this.
I like — no, love — a lot of books, however I’m not the sort of reader who’s going to hand out four or five stars to a book just because I can. I reserve my four and five stars for books I honestly think deserve it. (Though really, every book deserves five stars for effort, if you ask me.) But here’s why I’m a harsh reviewer:
Books are extremely subjective.
Just because I didn’t like it, or it wasn’t my cup of tea, does it mean that it’s bad. All it means was that it wasn’t for me. Of course, I might have thought that there were technique issues with it — but at the end of the day, there are going to be people out there who are going to love it. After all — this book was published. There must have been someone out there who had faith in it! Whether that’s the writer themself, an editor, and agent, or a publisher — people are going to have different opinions on things. That’s life.
I consider every review I write carefully before I post them. My review posts are one of the few posts I will actually re-read multiple times before it’s scheduled to post, just in case I’ve missed something I wanted to mention. Honesty — in reviews especially — is an important. I don’t let other people’s opinion — whether that be real people I know, what the media says, or things I’ve read on the blogs I
stalk follow — sway my opinion. I may be influenced to read a book because of them, but that is all.
Sometimes I used to rate books higher because of friends, or even the popularity of the book would make me change my rating, to perhaps one star more, because I thought I should have liked the novel more. Stupid, yes?
Sometimes I just gotta vent.
I’m not particularly ranty in my reviews; I tend to find those rather off putting. In fact, my book reviews lean on the shorter side of the scale, which is fine, I believe — but when there’s a book that’s made me feel a particular emotion, I like to write about it. (Whether that’s a good emotion or bad emotion depends completely on the book.) I mean, I’m a writer after all, right?? I’m never mean or cruel in my reviews, nor do I attack or insult the author personally, but there are just some books which don’t sit right with me. Whether it’s the writings style, the characters, the plot — all of that varies. So that’s another reason why I can be a harsh reviewer: it gets my feelings out.
At the moment, my Goodreads average rating is 3.09.
That’s actually not too bad when you think about it. That pretty much means that I’ll enjoy most of the books I read.
For a comparison, I thought it would be an interesting idea to compare the amount of books I’ve given one stars with five stars. (These are books I’ve read this year only.)
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin
The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas
So, um, you might notice two things here. One: I’m a massive George R.R. Martin fan. Two: I love high fantasy. My like/dislike of a genre is most likely going to influence my decision on the rating — unless it’s really spectacular.
Skylark by Meagan Spooner (Also, on my point about book subjectivity, These Broken Stars, co-authored by Meagan Spooner earned four stars in comparison. Goes to show, hey?)
The Lost Boys by Lilian Carmine
Enmity by E.J. Andrews
John Dreamer by Elise Celine
Drawn by Cecilia Gray
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time by Mark Haddon (Don’t judge, okay?? I know everyone loves this book. Just not my thing. Also the fact that I had to study it for my HSC did nothing to up the rating… You try writing essay after essay on this…)
Accession by Terah Edun
As you can clearly see, I’ve rated many more books one star than I have five stars. And yeah, I kind of do feel horrible knowing all the amazing effort, marketing, and money spent of creating these projects — but most of these books just were not for me. Also, I noticed as I was going thought the books I’ve read this year, most of them rage around the 2 — 3 star rating. Interesting.