The Ratings Game, Part III
What makes an 8.0 book? This is a solid B, a perfectly nice book to read while curled up on the couch on a cold weekend. In terms of romance novels, these are the impulse item books that I snap up while whisking through Walmart to buy groceries. The plot is intriguing and the characters a bit more unusual or three-dimensional. A solid 8.0 book is an enjoyable read, but it’s not a keeper. It won’t join those prestigious 9.0 and 10.0 books on my keeper bookshelf. When I’m finished with it, I’ll pass it along to my mom or a friend or drop it in a book donation bin, because as pleasant a read as it was, I know I’ll never feel the compulsion to read it again.
Solid 8.0 books are thoroughly entertaining books, but they’re not without their glitches. The hero and heroine have interesting banter and palpable chemistry, and the author spins a tale that the reader is invested in, but the characters don’t ever visit the reader’s mind after the last page has been read. There are some amusing parts, and maybe the dialogue has some witty zings here and there, but a solid B book never has you sitting on the edge of your seat. You don’t necessarily read it from cover to cover in one weekend. Perhaps it takes you a few extra days because the pacing tends to slow down two-thirds of the way through, or you get slightly frustrated with the heroine because she does something silly or out-of-character. The conflict, be it external or internal or both, might seem a bit too contrived.
A solid B book draws the reader’s attention from the first chapter, and is a perfectly respectable rating with worthy characters and plot. Somewhere along the way, the reader’s attention wanders, however, and what might have been a fascinating premise tends to peter out. By the time the reader finishes, there might even be a rushed feeling to simply finish the story for the sake of finishing the story, and not because the reader is truly invested in the characters any longer.
And so what books do I own that are a solid 8.0 rating? I don’t own any, actually. As I stated in the beginning, these are the books that get permanently loaned out or donated, and so I can’t remember any particular titles. Let’s just say they tend to be the mass market paperbacks available in grocery stores. You don’t feel bad about the initial $6 or $7 spent acquiring it, but you would’ve felt slightly cheated had you bought it at full price and in hardcover format.
Stay tuned next week as we explore an average 7.0 book, or the kiss of mediocrity.
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