Thursday, 29 March 2012

What Does a 3 Star Rating Mean? (3 Star Rating Blog Hop)

Hi guys! When I saw a call for bloggers to talk about the dreaded three star rating on Bitten by Paranormal Romance, I decided to step up and share my own view on the subject. You can find more about the event and the hop on their blog here.


So what does a three star rating mean for me? When I rate a book, I consider two things: how good the book actually is and my personal enjoyment of the book. These put together form my rating from one to five stars. When I give a book three stars it can mean one of two things:
  • It's a really good book, but I just didn't enjoy it that much
  • The book itself is not that exciting but I loved it anyway
Usually I make it very clear in my review of the book which of those two is the case. For example in my review of The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice I point out that the book is quite good, but it just wasn't for me personally. I had the same issue with Graceling by Kristin Cashore. On the other hand you have books like Katana by Cole Gibsen (technically a 3.5 star rating - just because it was that much fun to read). I loved the whole thing, but objectively I know a lot of people won't.

In my quest to write perfectly balanced reviews I try to incorporate both my own opinion and the facts. If I would give a book that has bad editing and consistency problems a rating only based on my personal enjoyment (which could be up to five stars) I would feel like I am misleading people. Five stars indicates that the book is near flawless and amazing.

I know quite some bloggers that don't use a rating system for various reasons. Some don't like to put a label on a book. Others just can't decide how to rate a book. I'm a big fan of rating systems - I love to be able to see in a single glance what the reviewer thought of the book. Did they love it, or did they hate it? Sometimes I specifically search for bad reviews of a book before deciding on buying it. Low ratings help me to find these.

So should authors be worried when someone gives their book a three star rating? Well, of course not. Three stars doesn't mean your book is bad and we hated it all. For most bloggers it means that they liked the book. They didn't want to put it on a shelf and honour it for the rest of their lives, but they didn't feel the inclination to ritually burn it either. Sometimes you just like a book. If you exclusively receive thee stars, you might want to reconsider if there is something missing in your work. That something that makes your book special and engaging.

Overall, I think three stars is a pretty damn fine rating.

I would love to hear from you guys on this subject. What do you expect of a book when it gets three star ratings in reviews? And what do you think of a book when you give it three stars yourself? Or are you team No-Rating? Leave a comment below!


Mandi Kaye said...

Anything less than 3 means I hated it. 3 generally means that while I didn't personally enjoy the book, I think it has merit and was most likely well written. Most of my reviews are 4's, but I give 5's out to books I absolutely adored. 

Celine said...

Hm yeah, I'm the same. If I rate a book 2 or 2.5 stars I probably hated it a lot. Thanks for leaving a comment!

Vanessa theJeepDiva said...

You make a great example with the Wolf Gift. You gave it a star rating. I own this book & am looking forward to finally working it in to my schedule. Did your 3 star opinion ruin the book for me...NOPE! I still can't wait to read it. If anything you have made me more curious. This is all about opinions, likes and dislikes. What works for who for what reason.
Great post!

The Muggle said...

I fully agree. If I give a 3 star rating it means I liked the book. It wasn't a wow, but it wasn't bad either.

Ashelynn @ Gypsy Book Reviews said...

I so agree! My three star rating is basically "I didn't love this book, but I also didn't hate it." It's a "meh" type of book for me, a neutral one. Since I'm mostly an emotional reader, I tend to rate how well the book jerked at my emotions, on a scale of really hated to really loved. 

Reading_by_Kindle_Fire said...

I totally agree! A 3 star rating is by no means a bad one. 3 star usually means the book writing wise has nothing wrong with it, but personally I may not have enjoyed the plot or it just didn't work for me. But I think 3s should be the majority of ratings for books because it really takes something special to get a 4 or 5 I think. 

Ning @ Reading by Kindle Fire

Celine said...

Thanks Vanessa! I think 3 star reviews are often way more educational than 5 star ones. I'm glad my review of the Wolf Gift made you even more excited to read it, that's what reviewing is all about; getting the right people to the right books ^^

Celine said...

Yeah, exactly. (:

Celine said...

Yeah I agree, especially on the less books should get a 4 or 5 star rating. On Goodreads there are some people that give every book they read a 5 star rating - how is that ever a faithful reflection of what they thought of the book? Not every book you read can be your favourite, no one is that lucky.

Celine said...

Yeah. It's a book you're not going to reread but you won't be advising your friends to not read it either. I think authors can learn a lot from their 3 star reviews

ReadingRomances said...

My blog specifies that a 3 IS an enjoyable read, but some things didn't work for me. And I agree, if it's a general rating, you should stop, think and consider what you coulnd't accomplish in your book.

Pragya said...

Completely agree with your views.

Celine said...

Thanks for stopping by (:

Celine said...

Exactly (: Thanks for stopping by and befriending me on Goodreads! Looking forward to read your updates

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