Even after blogging for about six months, my rating system was still volatile. And I still continue to find myself becoming more and more critical of books that I probably would have given 4, 4.5, or 5 stars rather easily a few months ago. Years ago, I used to be that person who gave 5 stars to anything that kept my attention and had no grammatical issues, even if there were tons of underlying problems with the characters, plot, and romance. But that isn't me anymore.
For a while now, I've been breaking down my ratings into five categories and rate each book on a 5-star scale per category, then average the them out to get the overall star rating. I'm pretty sure a bunch of people also do this (or something similar), although I definitely still need to rethink and tweak my system. The five categories (at this point) are as follows:
- Writing Style
- Romance (if applicable)
Since I read so much fantasy, I am considering adding a world-building category, but there are obviously other problems to the system other than lacking rating categories for specific genres. For example, I value certain categories more than others, but I don't weigh the ones I value more more heavily than the ones I don't care as much about. Also, there are tons of sub-categories I could be rating to determine the overall category rating (like rating the main characters, secondary characters, and villains separately to get the overall character category rating), but then it gets super complicated. Do the main characters have more of an influence on the character rating than the secondary characters? And if yes, how much more influential to the story are they? Because honestly, secondary characters are more important than I initially thought.
I understand the importance of rating books, and I try my best to be fair with the books I read, but it's definitely more complicated than I imagined. Obviously we all have different opinions of books, and therefore will have different ratings, but everyone's rating scales are very different. Some people are really easily blown away by books, while others find problems with almost every book they read. And since we all are unique individuals, we're bound to love certain things about books that other people will hate.
Is there (or can there ever be) some sort of universal rating system? What rating scale do you use to rate and review books?