This actually annoys me more in product reviews than in book reviews, but it definitely still applies to books too!
Sometimes I see a three or four-star rating for a book and after I read the review I notice that nothing negative was mentioned at all. Surely if a book is given anything less than five stars it wasn’t a perfect book. There must have been something wrong with it, something the reader didn’t like, or even a simple matter of “it was a bit lacking”. As a reader, I want to know what that ‘something’ is because that helps me decide whether or not I might like the book! But sometimes reviews just don’t mention any cons whatsoever. It can be baffling!
Most amusing are some of the Amazon reviews that are literally something like:
This product was amazing! It worked just as I expected and the result was fantastic. It was everything I hoped for!
Then they rate it three or four stars!
Now I’m not trying to nitpick on people or presume that I know how to rate better than you do. But if someone goes on about how a product or book is “perfect” and “everything I hoped for” and then lists no negative points at all, I can’t help but wonder why they DIDN’T give it five stars! I’m not saying they’re wrong, I’m just genuinely confused! WHYYYYYY??
As a reader, sometimes I do read a book, love it, but only give it four stars. Sometimes there isn’t something I explicitly didn’t like, I just didn’t feel like the book wowed me enough to give it five stars. But, the difference is I always mention that. I always try to explain why I deducted stars, even if it’s just kind of a vague feeling of, “It didn’t excite me as much as it could have.”
People can write reviews however they want and in whatever format they please. However, in terms of review helpfulness, I always find it most helpful if the reviewer always mentions what they did like and what they didn’t like. If you only focus on one or the other, it makes me really confused as to why you rated it the way you did!