There’s something that bothers me about reviewing, and every time I get to it, I cringe a little bit. It’s the star-rating system, where you take somebody’s many hours of hard work, of blood, sweat and tears, and fit it nicely into a little rating out of five.
I don’t like it. And the reason I don’t like it is because I know how arbitrarily I do it. Often I want to give most of the books I read five out of five stars, but then a little voice in my head says that, no, part of reviewing is grading the scores. I’m lucky enough to be reviewing in a niche, so I rarely, if ever, don’t enjoy the books I’m reading.
The star system means I find myself giving less than five stars to books I really, really enjoyed for no other reason than I enjoyed them slightly less than another book. Which seems like a sucky thing to do, in my opinion. Who am I to say something is less than perfect just because I’ve read it in the context of other books? The star rating system just seems random to me. Random and inadequate.
So, from now on my rating system will undergo some changes. I’ve modelled it on the Olympic medal tally of bronze, silver and gold, except where they use medals, I will use skulls. There will be a multitude of different areas to award the skulls in, just as there are many different Olympic events. These will change and adapt as I get used to this system, but for example, some of the areas will be plot, character, pace etc. No book will be rated on every area, I will simply award a skull/medal if I feel the book has excelled in that area. Not getting a skull in a particular area will not mean that the book wasn’t good in that area, it just means that I felt other parts of it shone through more.
That way I’ll get to judge each book on its own individual merits, rather than comparing it to other books, which seems a much fairer system to me. There will also be a skull tally, so you’ll be able to see which books have been awarded the most amount of skulls. Fingers crossed this works!
UPDATE: Okay, after wrestling with Blogger for the better part of an hour, I'm coming to realise that this system probably isn't going to work. Mostly, it's to do with image layout and the inflexibility of where I can place them on a page. There are lots of ways around this, but all of them are either very time consuming or not up to scratch. And to top it off, trying to figure out this problem has prevented me from actually posting reviews, which seems kind of pointless to me. So for now, it's back to the rating out of five skulls system, and I'll keep this idea on the backburner.