Chit Chats

Chit Chat: How Far Into a Book Do We Decide on the Rating?

Do first impressions matter? 

So I was reading a book recently, and I was about a third of the way in, and it hit me – I knew what I was gonna rate that book. I had 70 percent of the book left to go, but I am sure that my rating will be the one I decided on right then and there. And that got me thinking – how far into a book do we decide on the rating? How far into it can we say “this book is bad” or “this book is a new favorite”? And what does all of that say about our reading?

impresionsFor me, a book has a really short span to grab me. I usually don’t dnf books, but I know pretty early on how a book and I are going to get along. I tend to not now a lot about the premise once I go into a book. I like to have a really vague, general idea, so the first couple of chapters is where I expect a book to tell me “this is what I am like”. I think that the first couple of chapter have to set the tone, and if the tone isn’t right, then the rest of the book can’t really match that for me.

expectationsI find that for me this is absolutely true. I am at that point in my reading where I am pretty confident in what books will suit me. I rarely give into the hype anymore, and I know what has the potential to be a book for me. For example,  I would never pick up a historical fiction, unless there was something really special about it. Even then, I would go in with super low expectations. But otherwise, I know what I like – hence I have big expectations about books I do pick up. If a book sounds perfect for me, but isn’t delivering, I already know how the rest is gonna pan out.

ruleI don’t think so. I find that it’s probably quite different for a lot of people, and it can be different for different books. There was a book that I realized wasn’t a one star read, but rather a four star one for me (Kill the Next One by Federico Axat, in case you were wondering). But those are super rare. And I think there are people who wait until the very end to decide. That’s just not how I function.

how it affectsIt affects it greatly. If I am not liking what’s going on in the first couple of chapters – my whole enjoyment of the book is ruined. I start nitpicking at it, and I start looking for things to confirm my hypotheses. It’s a difficult thing to combat and it always affects the way I read. If I am not feeling a book, I will be much more critical while reading, especially as I get further into and into the book.

So to sum up – I decide pretty early on if I am gonna like a book or not. I can be persuaded otherwise, but it’s hard. And it greatly affects how I look at books and reading. 

anthingtoadd2So I would love to hear from you! Do you feel the same way? When do you decide if a book is working out for you? Can you set a rating early on? How do expectations factor in? Let me know!


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42 thoughts on “Chit Chat: How Far Into a Book Do We Decide on the Rating?

  1. I definitely feel the same! I tend to know pretty quickly how I’m going to rate a book (things have to get drastically better or worst for my rating to change, like if the ending is phenomenal I might increase my rating). Definitely agree with your point about looking for things to confirm my hypothesis if I’m not loving a book! Great post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, I’ve never really thought about this before. With books that I love, I usually know within the first 20 pages or so that it will be a 5 star. It’s the same with books that I hate – it doesn’t take long to realise, and I usually stop reading. But books in the middle (2/3/4 stars), I often need a bit longer to make my mind up.

    Here’s a question: if you know a book is a 1 star, and you decide to save yourself time and just DNF it, will you still rate it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed! 5 star books are most definitely decided in the first couple of pages, at least it’s like that for me. And I found that I always can spot a 3 star book pretty early on.

      I never rate books I DNF. I rarely dnf in general (I think I only did it like 6 times lol), but still, I don’t rate books I don’t finish. The thing is if a book really feels like a 1 star, I will aleays finish it so I can have grounding to say: yes I read the whole thing and it was still super bad

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, that’s really fair. I feel the same – if I don’t finish a book, I feel like my opinions isn’t really very valid or fair to the author.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. My rating usually waits ’till the end, but I do tend to know pretty early on whether I like a book or not. I just like to read to the end because sometimes, just when I think a book deserves 5 stars, the last fourth or ending of the book doesn’t exceed my expectations. It could be the other way around too.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I usually get a feeling fairly early on as well. If I think a book is on track to be a 5 star read though, I actually start to get nervous, like I’m worried the author’s going to go off on some riff and ruin it 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can get a vibe early on, but that’s never set in stone – So I guess I rate a book when I’ve finished it, because some books, you don’t see their brilliance/cleverness of plot until you’ve finished them.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. For me, ratings depend on genres. I adore historical fiction so my expectations are higher than that of a thriller. I will know pretty much within the first couple chapters in a historical fiction book what I’m going to rate it. With thrillers, I await judgement until the end, because that is when it really matters.

    This is such a good discussion topic and great post! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ahh same, a book has to be great from start to finish for me. So many authors just jump to the parts they really want to write about without putting in effort into the setup, and I simply cannot abide by that. Although I rarely DNF books; this carelessness could’ve been a fluke, and the book might legit get better from there. (It doesn’t happen often, but one has to be optimistic haha.) Awesome discussion post as always! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think it really depends for me. There are some books that rub me the wrong way almost from the get-go. I tend to give them a few more chapters just to see if they get any better for me, but usually that’s it for me and I DNF. But other books take me longer, and I have to keep reading. If they’re very slow I might give them until halfway, even if I ultimately wind up not liking them. I rate almost everything I read, even if it’s a DNF, but it’s really more for my own personal use on Goodreads so I can be on the lookout for things I DO like.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Excellent discussion post as always 💗
    I always have a rating in the back of my mind when I read a book and it changes according to what I think of the book, so nothing is final until the end. I do have to say that the beginning is very important to get me invested in a story, but it has also happened to me that I LOVED a book whose beginning wasn’t that great.
    E.g. I was so skeptical of the first 100 pages of Code Name Verity, because it was so hard to get into the book. It’s a lot about planes and pilots and I have NO idea about any of that. But then I got to a point where I was really hooked and I ADORED the rest of the book. In the end the book got 5 stars and a spot on my best-of shelf. However that wasn’t something that happened to me again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you on every point! I always have a rating in the back of my head and for me it rarely changes, but it’s not set in stone. There are a couple of books that were SUPER hard to get into but ended up being amazing

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I had a feeling early on in The Wicked Deep that it was going to be a four or 5 star read. It just depended on if I kept having the same feelings during the whole book. You know, the one that says I MUST FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This is so interesting!
    I think I know the range of the rating when I’m about 1/3 in, the rest of the book will just decide if it’s going to be on the higher or lower end of that range; a good plot twist or a senseless death would tip the scales, for example. And of course, I’m especially harsh if what happens is in my Black List (conversely, I’m kinder if the book hits my buttons).
    I think what trips me most often is when books from different genres/styles end up with the same rating, but then I just think that I’m just giving my opinion and not really comparing them.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is such an interesting post! For me it really depends on the book. I usually have a fairly good sense from early on, but I tend to withhold my final judgement until I’m done. I’m rarely off by much, but sometimes a book I wasn’t enjoying will end up blowing me away in the last hundred pages, and I’ll end up adding another star to my rating, or the other way around and the ending will be so disappointing that it’ll lose a star or two, but I’m usually still sort of close to my original estimate.
    The one notable exception I can think of was I’ll Give You the Sun. I almost DNF’d that book. I was totally expecting it to be a two star read, and then about halfway through it got SO good that I gave it five stars. It was sort of shocking actually.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I find it fascinating that most people are like this! We hold off judgement until the end, but usually our first estimates are pretty spot on! And by the looks of it, everyone has that one prominent exception! It’s so interesting!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I don’t think of a rating until after I finish a book since the ending can make or break it. For instance, I think a lot of students don’t enjoy A Tale of Two Cities because many give up before the end. But the end is what makes the story ultimately powerful. I like to think about how the story is working as a whole when I select a rating. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I often don’t know what rating I’m going to give a book until I get to the end. For me the way the writer wraps up the story is really, really important, and there have been books that I loved or at least thought I really liked until the last half or even last few chapters. The opposite is true too, books I thought I wasn’t into until I gave them a chance. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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