Friday, October 11, 2013

What a Three Rating Means to Me

Poor Three.
Three is looked at askance.
Three carries a burden of shame.
Three is the loneliest number out there.


Because a rating of three tends to cause a myriad of emotions - none of them seem to be good.

Why is that?

I have no idea. Books that are rated a three can be quite entertaining. I call them many things: summer reads, a good time, a great way to pass an evening on a snowy or rainy evening.

For a book to be rated a three, there HAS to be some good qualities. I KNOW I've covered a Three Rating before. In fact, I wrote a post that had quite a few links within it pointing the way to those other posts. Here .. I'll make it easy. Go HERE for the back story on THREE.

In the post, Revisit Me, Screams Number Three, I was covering the writing of a review that screams HIGH SCORE, but the reviewer gives it a three rating. The words in the review did not match what the reviewer ultimately rated it and that's what that particular blog post was addressing. It's the links within that post that I want to draw your attention to.

I guess the question that should be asked then is, "HOW do I write a real three rated review?"

It's a very good question.
Some questions need to be answered not so much with words but with examples. Have I got a treat for you.

First, more words.
Just because a review of a book isn't rated high on a scale does not mean the review has no value. It does not mean that the book should be ignored. Far from it.

A well written three rated review is incredibly helpful to a future reader.

It translates to this: Yes, this book has issues. Yes, a reader is going to find some things that aren't smooth or perfect or logical.

But a well written three rated review is going to give you what makes it good. It will cover what makes it fun, interesting, entertaining, WORTH the time to read and worth checking out.


Because the story will grab you back; it CAN make you laugh, or gasp, or squirm with delight or ::facepalm:: from a bad or corny pun. That despite and in spite of all that might be wrong with the technical side of the book, the STORY is worth it.
The characters might be worth it.
The Romance might worth it.
The world building might be worth it.

The book might have SO much going for it that it seems a shame to rate it a three, but some things like: plot holes, overdone head hopping or changes of a hero's name within the book, all conspire to undermine what truly would have been a great book.

It ends up being, a GOOD book.

There is nothing wrong with a good book.

The following are links I invite you to check out.
Investigate why these reviews are considered solid examples of three rated books.

Here's a challenge for a reviewer. What happens when a book has even MORE things wrong with it that it is impossible to even reach a three rating. HOW in the world does a reviewer write a review without sounding snarky? Without insulting the author's baby? Or even, and this is a major no-no, insulting the author his/her self? Seriously? Some books with issues inspire people with no professional minded filters between brain and fingers to spout off in self-righteous indignation which in turn comes across as being mean and nasty. Can a review be written for even lower than a three and still be respectful, honest and informative yet positive?

Glad you asked that. YES. Yes, it can be done.

Voila. More examples.

Now, since no reviewer is the same. I'm not going to say another word.

It's your turn.
After going through the examples, I would enjoy hearing your questions or comments. No one is going to find the same example as the one that "speaks" to someone else, but I hope one of them does. I'd like to hear which one you found helpful and why. It would be awesome if an actual formal "HOW-TO" format could be developed from this and I think feedback from you is key.

So, what do you say?
Do you now see why I say that a three rating is a good rating?
Because it is. Even if you end up going to the library and checking the book out. It's worth it.


Nancy G said...

As I have said many times, I always go into a book hoping for the best, and many times I am not able to give the book that high of a rating after all. The lowest I've given so far is a three and a half, but there are books I've had to not review at all for one reason or another. I have no problem giving a lower rating, and I try to always make a positive statement even with a three.

Astilbe said...

This was a great post, Xeranthemum.

Are you planning to also write about 3.5 star - best book ratings at some point?

I've always been a little confused about the difference between a 5 star and a best book rating.

Xeranthemum said...

I hear you, Nancy, on the ones you have to toss back. Sometimes there just isn't any other thing you can do with them.

I too also hope and anticipate the best - it's why we grab those books in the first place, right? :)

I'm glad that you have that positive attitude - it will always show up in your reviews.

Thanks for your comment!

Xeranthemum said...

Thanks, Astilbe!!!

And, I wasn't planning on doing a post on that. You're the first person to bring up the topic of 5 star versus best book. What a great idea!

I'll ruminate on that. Thank you!!!