I have been going back and forth about whether or not to use star ratings for a while. I used them heavily in the past, removed them for a while, and added them back. I still use them on my Goodreads but honestly, I have been on the fence about removing those for fear of backlash. I feel bad about giving a low star rating to a book.
The reason I take issue is that I found them kind of arbitrary and entirely subjective. One person’s five-star read could be an abysmal one-star for others. On top of that, there is no good scale for rating a book with stars. Do I give a book or video game lots of stars because I enjoyed reading it, even though subjectively it’s not that good? Or do I give it lots of stars because it is well made, even though I personally didn’t enjoy it?
There were many instances where I couldn’t decide what to rate a book and did half stars. Or times when I rated a book low but found myself thinking about it and coming to appreciate it later because it is a beautiful piece of work that I couldn’t forget. This was especially the case for Fuan no Tane, a horror manga I found so underwhelming while reading it but had nightmares about for days after. Conversely, I found that I went from a dazzling four-star rating for The Road when I first read the book but lowered it over time. The more that I thought about the book, the more I disliked it; the author’s lack of punctuation drove me insane, and the dedicated fan base made me start to hate the book after seeing so much criticism of those that had the audacity to give the book a low rating. When I review anime and manga on MyAnimeList I find myself struggling every single time. Don’t even get me started on the times I gave a book a low rating, and an author messaged me to ask why. Opinions change over time, and I found myself regretting or not really feeling that the rating that I gave a book or anime matched what I ended up writing about it.
- Do you use star ratings on your reviews?
- Am I just full of it or do you feel the same?
- Do you honestly put any weight to other blogger’s star ratings?