Rating Systems

Happy Tuesday deerlings! I hope you’ve been enjoying this month of reviews and I promise I will never get approved for this many ARCs at once cuz this was INTENSE! Like, I don’t know what I was thinking, requesting so many ARCs that came out this month. (Though, to be fair I was expecting to be rejected for all of them xD)

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But I thought I would finish up the month of April with an announcement/discussion that is the direct result of all of those reviews, the Bloggers in the Attic discussion theme, and being exposed to the JK, It’s Magic podcast recently (all of which you should go check out, kay?). Today, I will be changing my rating system and discussion why I think rating systems, in general, are super useful and important to the book world as a whole.

Why are book rating systems necessary?

We as humans like data. This does not mean that we are shallow creatures who can’t appreciate art and beauty or the whimsy of things that are outside of our control. But we enjoy the structure of having a concrete if made up, system of rules and categories that allow us to understand the world around us. Even though many of these “rules” and “categories” are extremely individualized, there are still kernels of uniformity throughout. Publishers understand that a 4-5 star rating for a book is usually something to be celebrated, even if the individual conditions for a 4 or 5 star differ for everyone. That 4-5 star average usually means that the book connects with readers and a majority of reviewers really enjoyed it for one reason or another. While the flipside, a 1-2 star average from a 1-5 scale, usually means that the book failed in reaching its audience. Something about it really didn’t jive with most readers. So, while the actual review content may be the most important piece of information to reviewers since the review can actually explain the good, the bad,  and the ugly, ultimately the star rating average is what will be the quick glance information that is utilized first by the publishing industry, readers, and industries first.

My Current System

For the last 4 months, I have been using Book Roast’s CAWPILE method for reviewing books and I really enjoy using it. Often I like to update my reading progress and rating as soon as I finish a book and just click on my initial thoughts, then go back later and change out the star rating if my feelings change. Which mainly happens if I wasn’t taking notes xD. This system focuses on Characters, Atmosphere, Writing Style, Plot, Intrigue, Logic, and Enjoyment. Each category is rated on a  0-10 scale and then averaged out at the end and whatever the average is then corresponds to a star rating. This was life changing for me in that it gives me things to look for and talk about when I go to talk up/down a book to people or write a review for. But I’ve been struggling with how general these categories are and felt like they needed a bit more fine tuning for me.

My New System Going Forward

Which leads me to my new system!

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I’m sticking with the CAWPILE format but I’m editing it just a tad to make the categories more specific and inclusive. So let me introduce you to C.AW.P.I.L.E.S!  I know, so original. Here’s what the letters stand for;

Character Development | Where I can not just talk about how I like the MC and cast but also as their development over the course of the story. Like how we learn that Rowan isn’t just a jerk lapdog but a loyal, strong-willed, fighter who would do anything for the people he cares about.

Author’s Style | Similar to the Writing Style aspect in G’s original system. Basically where I talk about the author’s use of language and how it works or doesn’t work for the story.

World Building | Arguably one of the hardest things when it comes to writing, here I’ll talk about the world, magic systems and how it works or falls on its face.

Plot Development & Pacing | Sometimes plots develop quickly and just drag on for years. Other times they build up slowly with a lot of intrigues but have a bunch of frayed threads that get forgotten. Here’s where I’ll talk about that.

Intersectionality | This is a big one. This is where I’ll try to talk about all things diversity in regards to books. I say try because I’m still learning A LOT about this topic and I will probably mess up a lot but I really want to do better and be more aware of problems in books regarding diversity and how different factors in our identities intersect in what I’m reading.

Logistics | This is just an area where I talk about general issues regarding formatting, things that don’t make sense or could have been done better. Mainly issues regarding character reasonings and magic systems will probably pop up here.

Enjoyment | This is where I just gush about all of my favorite parts of the book or explain why it fell flat for me as a whole.

Summary & Star Rating | This is more of a statistical section where I just give a quick overview of my thoughts and give my star rating. This is what will end up as my “official” review for Goodreads and Netgalley/Edelweiss.


Do you have a rating system? Is it a super simple 1-5 star rating based on your general feeling of the book? Or is it something more elaborate? What do you think about rating systems? Are you a fan? Let me know in the comments below!

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