Reviews… how do you rate and review books?

It has been a while since I have posted a rant, so please grab your coffee and let us rant.

Here is my question for today, ‘When does an author deserve a 1 or 2 star review?’

Last night I picked a random book in my kindle by an unknown author (to me obviously) and started reading, the first chapter wasn’t too bad, not excellent gripping stuff and even though the female character was slightly annoying I kept going. Second chapter the main character becomes even more annoying than the first chapter, but I hate not finishing books, so I keep pushing and telling myself that it might get better.

By chapter four I was completely confused and had no idea what had just happened, by chapter six I skip to the last chapter to see how it ends.

I chose not to rate or review this book, first because I didn’t actually read all of it, and even though I did read the last chapter, technically I suppose I did not really finish it. But here is the thing, the book wasn’t badly written, no grammar or spelling crimes, the plot (as far as I read) was in fact interesting, and even though this book was no Nobel prize contestant it wasn’t deserving of a very poor rating either.

So if I had to be fair and put aside my personal taste I would probably give this book a 3 star rating (if I had actually managed to read through the whole thing). Does this author deserve a 1 or 2 star rating because I disliked her main character? I try not to rate a book only based on whether I like a story or not, I do try to give ratings and reviews based on the authors’ skill (and editor of course), there is the writing style, character development and the plot. Whether or not I liked the result is not really the authors fault, it doesn’t mean they did a bad job.

One of those was The Singer by Elizabeth Hunter, my expectations for this book were beyond high and when I finally did read it I was disappointed with the result. Now here is the thing, I still gave this book a 4 star rating and an honest review. No, I didn’t particularly like this book, but it was magnificently executed, perfect editing, wonderful characters, elaborate and intriguing plot and the research gone into this book must have taken quite a few many hours out of the authors’ life. Does she deserve less than that because she didn’t take the story in the direction I wanted?

Again, please don’t give books poor ratings and reviews because you did not like the result, some books deserve poor ratings for several reasons but not because you did not like it. Someone else might enjoy it and you just might be screwing it for the next guy.

It’s pretty much like everything else, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. You might not like paintings by Picasso, or the architecture of Gaudi or even books by José Saramago but they are (still) geniuses in their fields, and whether you find pleasure or beauty in their creations, is entirely up to how your eyes and mind interprets what they are seeing.

But to go so far as to claim that something is utter rubbish because it does not appeal to us personally, that people, is unfair and untrue. So let’s try for something down the lines of… “even though personally I did not like the story …… it is well written, etc. etc.”

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