I am writing this in response to Literary Phoenix’s post on star ratings. I highly recommend reading this post!
Star ratings can be helpful, as it can help readers better understanding of a book’s quality from differing perspectives, This post really made me think about my own thoughts on star ratings.
I do see a big issue with stars: sometimes stars are used as a main indicator of quality. Sometimes readers prefer to stick to one platform to look at reviews–or may not know about other resources which are available.
As a result, readers can miss out on great reads!
I’ve recognized that in recent years, readers are working towards sharing more resources, but I noticed that it’s harder to come across a varied set of tools we can use in one place. Readers may use Good Reads, (which is a bit like social-media in terms of review formats/interactions), but what about other platforms?
Stars have become rather popular and common. However, the the real content of a review is in the feedback, a reader’s thoughts and feelings towards a book on topics such as character development, plot, and writing style. Sometimes reviews may mainly stars and brief thoughts. If I read a brief review that states a book is amazing, I get curious. Why is the book amazing? Is it the world building? The character development? The plot or setting?
As as Literary Phoenix mentions and suggests in her post, sometimes readers may only rely on stars when writing or reading reviews.
Reader reviews are generally based on opinion and personal preferences–stars work in a similar way. Although five star and one star reviews make it clear that a reader may love or strongly dislike a book, Literary Phoenix brings up a good point: books which have reviews that are in-between stars may be a bit unclear. Various levels of stars may also have different impacts for people. Stars do not always answer questions I tend to ask when looking for a book to read. If a book is amazing according to a reader, I want to know why. If a book also lacks something, whether it be in writing or plot, I also want to know the reviewer’s reasoning behind their rating.
All reviewers have their own systems. Even if it is a star-based system, the different levels may have their own weight. This may be a bit confusing at first for people who may be new to online book blogging, yet this also makes the community a lot more dynamic as readers have the freedom shape their own opinions.
In way, stars allow readers to have this freedom, yet they are also restricting. Stars are just one aspect of a review. Reviewers who may not rely on stars may not always share details. In my opinion, this makes the community even more interesting. The different styles of reviews builds curiosity. Some starred reviews may be lengthy and include many details, others might be a bit brief. The different styles of reviews also helps readers have the opportunity to get creative and gives them the option to post fun visuals such as graphics or gifs.
I really like Literary Phoenix’s style of starred reviews. She uses a weighted system, finding a balance with readers who may prefer star reviews, in addition to showing a break down of why the review has a designated rating.
There are also various platforms to get a first impression of books and as readers, it’s important to know what’s out there. YouTube, Amazon, and Goodreads usually are the first three which may come to mind. But there are also journals and book review magazines that are very insightful.
I am going to collect resources I use for book reviews and put them in a future post. Some may include starred reviews, others may focus on different styles. If you know of any great resources for book reviews, let me know in this post, and I may add them!
What are your thoughts on star reviews?