So far, this week has been a super-productive reading week and I can’t believe how well I’ve been doing! I didn’t expect to finish books in a day on weekdays and had planned a quiet weekend where I could fly through books, but I’m beginning to suspect that may not be necessary at all. On that happy note, let’s get a little critical on today’s challenge. It is hosted by Nikki and Amy from Bursting with Books and encourages us to talk about a book we rated 3 stars or less. A few words from the creators:
A lot of people seem to shy away from talking about books they rated poorly. But I find them to often be quite intriguing. If a reviewer only ever talks about books they loved, you don’t get to see that other side of the spectrum. And when you’re critiquing books, of course, you want to be as honest as possible. So I suppose I just wanted to hear what all of your guys’ thoughts on your lower-rated books are! I love hearing different opinions. It creates discussion. And that’s what we’re all here for, right? 😉
For this one, I picked a book you’ve probably never heard of. It was sent to me for review and is a novella published by a small Indie press, Strange Books, based in Brighton, UK. It has very few ratings and reviews on Goodreads and I’m very undecided on whether I want more people to read it. The book is titled Strungballs and the author is Mike Russell. I rated it 3 stars.
Why did you rate it so low?
I did go into the book knowing it would be strange and I found it a bit too strange. It still remains to this day the weirdest book I’ve read. It was nothing like I expected a story to be and all the usual rules sort of sailed right out the window. I’m not sure if it’s meant to be some sort of metaphor or it’s strange because that’s the way it should be. For the entire time I was reading it, my brain was stuck on just one thought – “Wait, what?” So if the point was just to tell a strange and kind of disturbing tale, this gets an A+. But I didn’t enjoy it. I was so busy trying to look for some kind of meaning that I just didn’t care. The only part I did like was the whole concept of infinity, which was pretty cool. Also, the writing was good in the sense that the strange, creepy feeling was maintained throughout very well. The setting was white, precise and super-weird. The characters were unrelatable, at least for me. I liked that Sydney sort of broke away from the mould, was curious and reckless, but that’s all. To sum up, it deviated so far from normal that I didn’t like it.
Is 3 stars low on your rating system?
To be perfectly honest, 3 stars is pretty low, coming from me. Being a writer myself, I know how much hard work goes into a book and I don’t want to hurt any author’s chances of selling their books (unless I find the content problematic). So I decided that I wouldn’t rate a book less than 3 stars because what I may find bad maybe the best book someone else has read and a 3 star rating doesn’t really change the average rating for a book by much. On my personal rating scale, therefore, 3 is least and 5 is the highest, with half-ratings in between that I explicitly mention on my Goodreads reviews because it still doesn’t have an option for that.
What could have made your reading experience better?
I think I would have liked a little more depth to the characters and the semblance of a plot at least. I was very confused while reading this book and would’ve liked an explanation as to what the author was trying to convey at the end. Just one paragraph would suffice. Also, I was told this was fantasy, but I think it had more sci-fi vibes to it and that led me to have expectations that went unrealised.
If my review has made you curious about the book, you can buy it here. If you’re looking to find out more about the author, check this out. Finally, if you’re interested in knowing more about the publisher, click here.
And that’s a wrap! What did you think of my review? Would you read it based off of my opinions? What’s your rating scale like? Let me know in the comments section below.