I was sifting through some of my old ratings and I ended up changing quite a few of them? Why, you ask? That, my friends, is a good question. The simple answer is that I’m ~indecisive~
And then I got thinking. Why did my feelings about these books change? I mean, the book didn’t magically transform into something better or worse over night, so what happened? Well, in true April fashion I decided to list it out. May I present to you 7 Reasons Why I Change Ratings.
Dragon Mode Sequence Deactivated
When you finish a book, especially one that didn’t play out as you expected, it can be easy to go full dragon mode and rant about it in a slightly raging review. But once I’ve done that, what am I left with?
For Supernova my initial reaction was a hard no. But once my initial ick reaction wore off, I fondly looked back at some of my favorite parts. Like the absolute gold that the you can be my nightmare line is. Which is hella cheesy but also totally swoon worthy. Once some of my initial disappointment wore off, I was remember some of the things I did enjoy, like the characters that I absolutely adored. So, maybe it really is a 3 rather than a 2.5.
Heh? What was that about again?
Fifteen years old is too young to be forgetting things. If I go back 6 months later and can’t tell you what the book is about, it isn’t worthy of a five star rating. Most times it isn’t worth a four star rating either. I don’t have to be able to quote page 72, line 5 or anything, but I should be able to remember what I liked, basic plot points, characters, more. If I can’t, I dub the book unmemorable and knock it down a rating.
I Love You, But Please Stop Plaguing My Every Thought
The polar opposite of the last reason, if I can’t stop thinking about the book days later and have the complete lack of motivation to read anything else, then it’s worth a bump up.
For example, when I originally read Red, White, and Royal Blue I rated it 4 stars. I said that the politics were a bit too idealistic, which prevented me from rating it higher. Fast forward days later and I had not been able to pick anything else up and only wanted to reread Red, White, and Royal Blue again and I knew that it deserved a 5 star.
Same goes with The Vanishing Stair. I listened to the audiobook in one night, and then I spent the rest of the night starting into darkness and wanting to reread it and bask in its glory once more.
Hype aka The Downfall of Humanity
The hype is my mortal enemy. All too often I am left with nothing but disappointment.
After reading To Kill A Kingdom, I was riding hype and my love of retellings. Don’t get me wrong, I really did like the book. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was more of a 3.5 star rating for me. The voice of each of the characters was lacking and they kind of blurred together, which kept plaguing my thoughts and ultimately led me to change my rating.
I Reread, and Discovered the Meaning of Life (or at least a new perspective on the book)
One of my favorite parts of rereading is discovering the breadcrumbs. Being able to look back and pick up on all those hidden clues is so satisfying.
When I reread The Cruel Prince I moved it from a 2 star rating to a 3 star rating. I began to appreciate some of the slight changes in Cardan once he was removed from his toxic environment. I also gained a new appreciation for Jude and her ambition with my reread. I still didn’t vibe with the writing style and the pacing felt all out of whack, but I did appriciate some of its better qualities the second time around.
The magic of the 5 star has worn off
With 5 star ratings, if you feel it, you feel it. But sometimes that wonder, that zazz, wears off. The book doesn’t become any less brilliant, rather I don’t view it with the same sparkle that I used to.
Enjoyment vs Quality
A lot of my initial reactions to books are higher ratings, but once I start to think more critically about them my perspective changes. Writing reviews often brings more flaws to my attention.
For example, Serpent and Dove was not the best quality book. The pacing was all out of whack (seriously it’s like the tortoise and the hare did a personality swap halfway through… talk about a change of pace), the writing was repetitive, and the descriptions were at times lacking. But I enjoyed it.
I originally gave it a 4 star rating. But as I sat down to write about it, and glanced back at my notes, I began to realize that there were a lot of things that weren’t so great about it. Finding that happy balance is a challenge, and ends up with a lot of indecisiveness.
As I’m looking back through this, I’m realizing that maybe the 5 star rating system isn’t for me anymore. Its so difficult to rate books on the same five step scale, especially when there are different components at play. Is there a point where you can overlook minor flaws due to your overall enjoyment? How do you balance world building vs characters vs plot, and why do they have different weights depending on the book?? Why do I keep confusing myself everytime I think about it???
Alright. We are going to call this discussion a wrap before I make my head spin further.
Do you use the 5 star rating system? If not, what do you use instead? Do you change ratings often? What influences you to change them??