Books that Made Me Reassess My Rating Setup

There are a lot of books that I read in a year, and for the most part they are relatively simple to figure out the rating for when I reach the ending. Most books tend to leave you with little doubt on your overall feelings at the end. Occasionally though I come across books that create a mix of emotions as I finish them. It’s almost like being back in the days of school when you were assigned reading and had to reconcile feelings of not always being the best audience, but noting all the qualities of the books as well. The other end of course are the books where you either loved or really didn’t like a book, but find yourself having to articulate that emotion with more than just a wow! These are some of the books in the last year or so that I’ve read that left me pondering what I would rate them, and what the review should say more so than the other books I had read during that time. To put it better, these are the books that have deeply impacted my rating system, and how I look at my experience in reading books.

  • Anna K by Jenny Lee
    • This was one where I had picked it up looking to try something new, but not necessarily being the right audience for it. In the past I wasn’t typically the type to pick up books on a whim, or at least not many that were outside my usual reading interests, so this was a first one for me. As I was reading it I struggled to enjoy some of the conflicts and drama that occurred, but I knew that it wasn’t due to writing or the book in general, but that this wasn’t a book that was meant for me. This was a novel based on Anna Karenina, which isn’t necessarily a classic at the top of my list of must reads, so when I realized that the book wasn’t for me, I began to look at how the writer was still keeping me reading. What she did well in terms of the characters, and plot, which still held my attention.
  • Cassandra Clare Books
    • These are always books that I love, and find myself wondering how on earth I can say more than just how much I enjoyed yet another of her stories. One thing I constantly note with her books is how much they seem to just get better and better as the Shadowhunter universe grows. It’s a truth if you look at the Mortal Instruments and even compare against the Infernal Devices, the growth visible even between the series separated by a short span of time. What I’ve started to add to my reviews for these books though are the characters, world expansion, and how they all connect with everything we’ve previously been introduced to.
  • A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas
    • A Court of Silver Flames was the first Sarah J Maas book that I didn’t fully enjoy. As soon as I hit some of the big moments that everyone was squealing over and didn’t get as excited I knew I was about to have a controversial opinion, and started writing down all my thoughts; pros and cons. It was a moment where I knew I had to get it all down and all right if I was going to get a proper review down.
  • The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
    • This is actually a book that I plan to reread at some point, but when I read this book it was one where I did enjoy it, and was really interested in the world. So, why do I want to reread and give a better attempt at taking it all in? Sanderson is known for throwing a lot of information at you, all in a brief span of time, so when that happened and I hadn’t been prepared for it I might have freaked a bit and felt like I needed to take notes like I was in class. I still enjoyed this one, but the impact feeling knocked over with information definitely made me think about how the reading experience can really be affected by how immersed you can be.
  • Queen of Nothing by Holly Black
    • I recently reread the Folk of the Air trilogy by Holly Black, and relived just how addictive these books were for me. The hate to love relationship between Cardan and Jude is amazing, and I love the whole confusion that takes place between the second book and final, but I will say that as far as finale books go this one did feel like it could have had more. That thought hit me in the last reread more so than when I initially read it, and it’s something that previously I would have ignored or swept away in my mind. This is still a favorite series of mine, but I think even in favorite series you can have weaker entries and it’s something that I’m really trying to keep in mind since most times a favorite series you’re tempted to just give the highlights, not the few flaws.

Overall, it isn’t a bad thing to have books that make you truly think about how you read and rate what you read. I’m happy to have encountered these, and have grown even in some small way from each book I’ve read. What books made you stop and think about how you rate and review? Let me know in the comments below!


2 thoughts on “Books that Made Me Reassess My Rating Setup

Add yours

  1. Wow, what an interesting topic! Hmm, thinking about one of your previous posts about rating/reviews on Goodreads and how subjective they are, I would probably choose popular books that I didn’t enjoy but a lot of people seemed to resonate with (Station Eleven, Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender) OR books that I love and forever changed my standards (The Night Circus, Tales from Earthsea).

    Thinking about books that I didn’t enjoy as much as the majority did, there were some things I liked but there were more things that I disliked and made me want to rate it lower. But my low ratings wouldn’t have been the fault of the author(in both cases above,the writing was well done), it was more the subject matter, characters, and sequence of events that didn’t appeal to me. So, if I rated it lower just bc of my personal taste, would that be wrong? I don’t know.

    In the case of books I love, I had and have absolutely no problem with rating them high. Because of those two books mentioned above, I became more conscious of plot, characters, and sequence of events while reading – actually paying attention to detail and not glazing over it. With those standards in mind, I do try to be critical of books that I do like or enjoy. Not giving them a high rating just bc I thought it was good, but also considering other factors beyond the story itself (character building and development, pacing, dialogue style, etc).


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