Clarification: My ‘Opinion’ System

My Opinion System


A recent article I read has drastically shifted my understanding of what makes a book review. In essence, without a large, developed process and thorough vetting, it claims we blog-reviewers are nothing more than opinion-makers. Though I don’t agree with all of it, certain aspects do make some sense. For this reason, I chose to post my criteria when judging a book.

As most sites use a five star system, I chose to do so as well to make transferring my ratings easier. In this way, my criteria for each ranking is listed below.

Five Stars:

This is for a book that is truly surprising and unexpected. If a book receives this score, it means I had a hard time putting it down and found few, if no flaws. It is reserved for the highest of books. Therefore, no author should believe I will nonchalantly hand one out to each book I read. Five stars should be difficult achievements, and that’s what I hope to express with this ranking and by putting it on my homepage to promote.

Four Stars:

This is for good books! In no way is a four-star opinion an insult or should be taken as a failure. Four is good too! In this category, I usually pick a book because the story is paced well, and the overall presentation is good–meaning well-written. However, to get a four-star opinion means there were some things wrong, such as weak sections, rushed areas, or in some way my expectations were disappointed.

Three Stars:

Here we find okay books. These books have potential and could easily be fixed into ‘Wow!’ books. Mainly, they have character problems or POV conflicts. These books may be slow starters or just don’t have all the elements in sync. A lot of times, this category represents books I wished the author had taken a little bit more time with their editing. By saying this, I’m not referring to grammar or the writing. What I mean is the story itself and other elements of the plot.

Two Stars:

These books are messes. They need complete overhauls. There are inconsistent POV shifts, weak or repetitive dialogue, and most likely, completely useless characters on top of a whole bunch of other problems. If a book gets an opinion like this, it means I had to strongly push myself to get through it, and sometimes–hopefully in the rarest of cases–couldn’t even finish. I will try to post when I finally called out defeat for these tomes.

One Star:

Unreadable! A one-star and five-star opinion do have one thing in common: they are both rare. However, just like how the magic for a five-star opinion has to come together, so too the complete destruction of a book has to happen in order to earn this ranking. That is not to say it is impossible. A book like that will have bad grammar, mismatch subjects, incomplete sentences, and more. In other words, it will look like it was written in crayon by a four-year-old.


In the end, I hope this clarifies in what manner I go about reading the books I judge. Any comments are welcome.

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