Epic Book Society Homepage Banner

Review Ratings Explained

You’ll notice that in my book reviews, I often rate books on a scale of 1-5. It can be a little ambiguous giving a book a number score, so I wanted to share a little background into how I score the books I read.

Review Ratings

I see ratings as a way to express satisfaction or dissatisfaction with a book. Therefore the ratings I use are my own opinion, and should serve as a guide for other book lovers to make informed decisions about whether a book is right for them.

On the scale I use, five stars is the highest rating and one star is the lowest. Here is typically what I mean when I give a book a score out of five.

  • 5* – Five-star ratings indicate that I LOVED the book and would recommend it to everyone. I also reserve 5* for books that I would happily add to my own bookshelf to read again for pleasure.
  • 4* – This rating means I had a positive outlook on the book, but I probably wouldn’t read it again.
  • 3* – I would give a 3* rating to a book if I enjoyed the book but there were some areas for improvement. Three-star ratings tend to be given when I have a neutral experience when reading – it doesn’t mean there is anything bad about the book, but it’s not something I would run to the shops for.
  • 2* – Two-star ratings suggest a below-average reading experience, with notable issues or shortcomings in either the plot, characters, or writing style. If I notice any spelling, grammar, or inaccuracies, I would normally give a 2* rating. I typically wouldn’t recommend a book with a 2* rating, so it’s rare you will see these on this blog.
  • 1* – One-star ratings are reserved for the absolute lowest of the lows. One star ratings represent a highly negative reading experience, with significant problems throughout. I would normally give a 1* rating to a book that is offensive, poorly written, and has no real plot or weak characters. If a book is going to be a 1*, it’s likely that I won’t finish it, and therefore wouldn’t bother writing a review for it.

How I score books

When I give a book a score, I don’t just give it a number on the whole, I like to break the book into five main categories.

  • Storyline – I will make an informed decision about whether the storyline is weak or strong. If the storyline is well developed, at a good pace, and keeps me interested throughout, it will typically receive a higher score.
  • Writing style – when I measure writing style, I am looking at everything from spelling and grammar to the level of humor, authenticity, and creativity. I love books that have metaphors and lyrical writing, so I typically give this style of writing a higher rating.
  • Uniqueness – if I read a story that I feel is different from anything I’ve read before, I typically score it highly.
  • Character development – I love a book that has characters I can relate to, but they also need to show depth. If the story has strong characters that add value to the story, then I will rate the book higher on character development.
  • Likelihood of reading the sequel – this is an easy one to measure. If I enjoyed a book enough to pick up the next one in the series, then I will score highly for this.

What’s included in my reviews

I try to be as objective as possible when reviewing a book. I know that what I like and what other readers like may not always be the same thing.

I usually always like to see the pros and cons of a book. There are always strengths and areas for improvement, so it’s unlikely that you will read a review from me that sings a book’s praises without recognizing some flaws.

I also try to make sure that every detail about the book is covered, from the themes it conveys, to the sub-genres, to the length of the book.

There are many different factors that come into choosing a book, not just the storyline, so I try to cover everything in my reviews so you can make an informed decision with ease.

However, it’s important to read through the reviews and refer back to the ratings above, so you can get a better understanding of why a particular rating was given.

I hope this guide gives you more insight into how I review books so you can make a more informed decision based on your own specific preferences.

If you want to know more about how I select books for reviews, here’s a complete guide to how I pick books.