To a lot of people, rating seems like a very easy thing to do. You either like something or you don’t. But for me, rating a book is a very complicated thing. I consider various different factors before making my rating. Even then, I find that using a 5-star system doesn’t necessarily capture my overall feel for the book.
Here are some of the things I consider when rating a book:
Plot is one of the most important things for me. I need to love the story! Depending on the genre, I’m looking for different things in the plot. But the key things I want are originality and proper pacing. With so many books out there, it can be hard for an author to come up with something completely new. For me, originality doesn’t just refer to the story line; it also refers to the author’s voice or their perspective. I want something intriguing, something that makes me look at a concept in a different way. The way the author presents this idea is super important because if it’s done well, I will find myself sucked in to the story.
Which brings me to the idea of pacing. A good book is paced to match the story. The last thing I want is to read a really great book that is too fast-paced to allow me to appreciate the characters or world that is being created. I also don’t want to read a book that moves too slowly and has nothing happening in it, especially if the story premise gives me the impression that it is filled with action. When the pace is set to match the events that are unfolding, it makes it easy for me to envision myself inside this novel, beside the character who is going on this adventure. Too many times, authors try to pack in everything they can into the story without considering how it will affect the pacing of the story.
I cannot stress how important this is for the way I rate a book. I have to love the characters. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the main character has to be good. I love devious or sinister main characters. Nearly any character that is different from the norm will be one I like.
The most important factor is believability (yeah I know, it isn’t a real word, but you get the point). I need to feel that the actions/feelings of the character are realistic, or else I won’t be able to connect with them.
I also like characters that are resilient and intelligent enough to figure things out on their own. I really hate the “special snowflake” effect … but I’m not going to get too into that since it will just end with me ranting.
The interactions between the different characters is also really important because it builds the secondary characters’ personalities.
THIS!!!! I can’t tell you how many times I read a book that has a great plot and great characters but absolutely no world-building. I need to know what makes the world/setting in this book different or similar to the real world. This is especially important for fantasy, science fiction, and historical fiction novels; the story LITERALLY takes place in a different setting and if it isn’t explained, I’m not going to understand what’s going on. I think this is the hardest part of writing a story because it requires a lot of thinking and research… but it is one of the most necessary parts.
So there you have it. These are the 3 areas I focus on when I’m reading and rating a book.
But I want to know about your preferences! What makes a 5-star book for you? Are there other areas that you focus on? Do you take the cover into consideration? Let me know in the comments below!!!!