Every reviewer has slightly different ‘criteria’ when reviewing, and of course, what is a 1* book might be 5*s for someone else, as it’s completely dependent on the reviewer’s own personal tastes. It’s something many people seem to forget when they decide it’s time for another round of ‘terrible takes against reviewers’; all reviews are subjective. But sometimes it is useful to get a glimpse into how a reviewer rates the books they read, and today I thought I’d focus on what makes something a four or five star book for me.
I’m lucky – I have a really varied taste when it comes to books, and the books I currently have on my various TBRs are a mixture of genres, meaning I always have something to pick up no matter my mood, and I don’t get hit with the same tropes or genre elements over and over.
To me, both 4 and 5 star books are ones I would recommend. If I rate something three stars, it very much means it was a ‘middling’ book to me, but I have suggested these to some people, depending on their tastes. With those top two ratings though, for both of them I’d say they tend to be good, high quality books, with a gripping plot and characters I want to spend time with, or at least see how they deal with the challenges they face!
A 5 star to me has that extra spark. It varies from book to book, but normally with a 5* I honestly feel truly sad to be putting the book down and leaving that world. A 4* might make me feel similar, but not as much. I’m definitely a person who likes digging in with a good character, and it’s usually the characters and their relationships, the dynamics between different people, that make me think of a book as amazing.
A 5* book has heart and passion and power. It lingers, seeping into you, making it feel like you’re half-thinking about it constantly, from the moment you mark it as ‘Reading’ on whatever tracker you use, to ‘Read’ and after.
Not to say a 4* doesn’t necessarily have them – many often do, but to a lesser extent. It’s hard to explain exactly what it is, but a 5* has an additional factor, just one small element that makes it stand out compared to a 4*.
The thing is, to me, a 3* is a decent book. 4 is a Very Good book, and 5 is Excellent – though that may not be for any particular reason I can personally put my finger on. There’s almost a fine line between the two.
When I pick up a book, in my head I’m kind of starting at a 3* rating, and the scale shifts up and down as I read. The good has to outweigh the bad, but it’s rare I give less than 3* to a book. 4* and 5* are the most common, and I have to admit, a killer, solid ending is the most likely thing to raise a book from 4 to 5 for me, if I’m between them heading into the climax.
So there we have it – just a little peek (ramble, maybe?) on how I rate books. Hope you enjoyed! And tell me – what makes a book a 5* for you?