It’s been a busy weekend, and I didn’t have time to draft the post I wanted for today, so instead let’s talk about prejudice. I’m not talking racial, religious, or sexual prejudice but reader prejudice.
Have you ever thought about your prejudices as a reader? I certainly have. While some cliches don’t bother me, I don’t like happily ever afters, cheerful/feisty heroines, or—heaven help me—bad boys. You know the guys I mean, the nasty ones with the soft centers just ripe for redemption by the plucky heroine?
But that’s me. For other readers, a spunky protagonist, a bad boy ready for the saving, and a plot that comes wrapped-up in a tidy bow constitutes the perfect story.
A negative review from me, based on the prejudices above, could be just the impetus needed to get Lisa, who loves a traditional romance, to run out and buy the book. This is just one of the ways a thoughtful, honest review can sell a novel, but that was last week’s topic. Let’s get back to prejudice.
When I used to write reviews, I gave each book five stars at the outset, taking away for anything I found lacking or weak. Series books, however, (with the exception of book one) started out with only three stars. Should the plot transcended the series formula and the protagonist have a true character arc, the book might creep from three to four. Five stars would be rare indeed. I can think of only one mid-series book that I’ve ever given five stars.
So, is it fair to handicap series books by starting them out at three stars? I think so, as long as the reviewer—in this case me—states his or her prejudices up front.