Rating books in genres you don’t like

I rate honestly based on my entertainment level and whether my expectations for the book were met or not. I don’t pick up any book I expect to dislike, though I sometimes try something new with little idea what it will be like. Sometimes I also have picked up things I expected to be neutral at best to, and read because they’re popular and I was curious.

I get around any guilt by writing reviews explaining my review. People can read it and determine whether or not my opinion on the book is a valid one for them or not. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I don’t rate romance books, because even the best romance book will never get more than 3 stars from me and I feel that’s not fair and sometimes I don’t rate books if it’s problematic or where the subject matter kinda prevents me from rating it.

But for the most part, I just rate them according to how much I enjoyed it and how well written I deem it to be.

I try not to read (or finish) books I am sure I’ll hate, but if I end up hating a book I read, I will rate it accordingly. I try to give my opinion, if I disliked a book, i.e. write what it was I disliked about a book, if it was something specific. What I hate might be something someone else loves.


I rate each book against my own expectations of what I’ll get out of it and my (subjective, of course) interpretation of what it’s trying to achieve. So I might have a 5-star mindless mystery next to a 5-star literary masterpiece, and I think that’s okay. I don’t usually read books I expect not to like, but I suppose if I happened to read romance (which bores me to tears) or something, I might rate it high (not 5 stars though) if I thought it did its job well. In case of doubt, explaining in a review is probably the best approach.


I think it’s fine to rate it. If you feel like it, you can write a brief review explaining why it wasn’t for you specifically. I’ve read a few books or manga that are of a specific style I don’t generally like (キノの旅 1 | L29 and 棺担ぎのクロ。~懐中旅話~ 1 | L24) and I gave them 3/5 stars because that was my level of enjoyment, even though people who like that style more are likely to love those two series.

That said, I’ve seen some funny ratings/reviews from the recent audiovisual along the lines of your question. For example (paraphrase): “1 star, it had no story, too much cute girls doing cute things” and I’m just like uhhh, what were you expecting? :joy:


I think its good to just rate it how you honestly felt about the book. If you try to rate it based on how you think other people might enjoy it, I think the rating is more prone to be random then. You can always write a review and explain which aspects you did and didn’t like to give more clarity but I think its good to have a wide variety of ratings/opinions on something. I always rate things how I personally felt about it regardless of whether the genre is my thing or not.

This does remind me that I saw a review on some book recently (can’t remember which one) where someone complained that the ratings were so high because it was easy to read. They were disappointed when they actually read it and the story wasn’t interesting at all so they felt compelled to leave a lower rating and review to warn people :smile:


I tend to rate more highly for books that I either enjoyed a lot, or which I critically feel were good books, even if they weren’t completely fun to read. I didn’t enjoy とかげ | L38?? (learnnatively.com)) as much as I thought I would, but in that case it was more because I found it hard going to read. I know that I really liked one of the stories when I read it in English so I gave it four stars on the basis it was good for what it was, and I didn’t feel I should mark down based on my own lack of ability :sweat_smile: I tend not to read genres I don’t like, but if I do I end up evaluating more on ‘was the writing good? did the plot hold up? did the ending annoy me?’ etc since I don’t think it deserves the lower rating based on my genre preferences alone!


On Natively at least the written reviews are a lot more useful than the star reviews, especially for language learning things (I wonder if a ‘has furigana!’ flag would be useful?) though I do like the star reviews as a sort of vague measure of popularity.


The way I see it, there’s two ways to rate books. Are you assigning these ratings for your own sake, or for the sake of others? You can:

  1. Rate based on your own personal enjoyment of the book, because you want a record of your experiences.
  2. Rate based on your judgement of the book’s “objective” quality, because you want to help others decide whether this book is worth their time.

I don’t think either approach is better than the other; I just think you have to be clear on why you’re rating books in order to be fair and consistent.

I think Natively’s hidden separate ratings for “Entertainment value” and “Language learning value” (or whatever they’re called) on the review screen is a good way to compromise. Do I think 華麗なる探偵アリス&ペンギン is an objectively good series? Not really, in terms of personal enjoyment it’s a 3 star, an okay book to pass the time. But as a language learning tool? It was at exactly the right level for me at that point in my studies and helped me so much, that’s 5 stars. So for my overall rating I just compromised and gave it 4 stars.


I agree with the general feeling in the thread. If you read a book and didn’t like it… off with its head. I enjoyed コンビニ人間, but that doesn’t mean I expect everyone to give 4~5 star reviews on it.
More generally, rating a book in a genre one likes doesn’t make them a paragon of objectivity and, similarly, reading something in a genre they hate doesn’t mean their opinion is invalid.
Also, if everyone did that, I feel like the ratings would be extremely biased :joy:

That’s the reason why I stopped reading ご注文はうさぎですか? :joy: I’m not the person who posted that, but I did expect plot.


As someone who watched a bunch of cgdct anime before starting to learn Japanese I knew what to expect haha. It’s absolutely not for everyone, and I respect that. For better or worse, cgdct series with a significant amount of story are the exception, not the rule.

P.S. If you ever want to try another cgdct series with more story, the best options are probably New Game (game development theme) or Bocchi the Rock (rock band theme), as most of their chapters move the story forward in some way.


Yes, I came in pretty much blind and that was the first time I really heard that acronym :eyes:
I have read other series that might qualify (like ARIA and あずまんが大王) but there was always something that kept me going in those series (like the main character of ARIA and friends making it up the ranks).

Actually, I would rather read a manga about smartly dressed men doing gentlemanly things, based on personal preferences… If they are gentlemanly enough ahem even plot is an option. Thanks for the recommendation anyway, though.


You find a good one of those please let me know :wink:


For manga, my favorite is ホテル・メッツァペウラへようこそ (series) | L23
In terms of light novels, I did enjoy 穏やか貴族の休暇のすすめ。 (series) | L31
Both of those are completely SFW too! On the negative side, while there’s a tremendous amount of queer baiting (especially in the second one), I think nothing will come out of it.

I’d love to hear more recommendations too. Maybe I’ll set up a thread when I have the time.


I think it depends on how you’re coming into it. Like I read Re:Zero 16 (LOVE Re:Zero’s anime so naturally wanted to continue) but was so ****ing bored out of my mind just reading about characters hanging out for 250~ pages made me rate it a 2, when the reality is if you have been reading Re:Zero to that point you probably are used to those volumes where little actually happens.

So in terms of reviews, I think you gotta approach it from “This is what I am looking for from this book, and this is what it satisfied (didn’t satisfy).”


My favourite thing about New Game is watching it gradually morph into a workplace drama a la Shirobako.

Bitterly disappointed we will probably never get a second or third season of the anime :frowning:

At least Bocchi will be there for us, based on its recent hit success…


If I don’t like something, I don’t like something. I do keep in mind that maybe a book just wasn’t for me, so if that’s the case, I do make a note of that in my review. Doesn’t change the fact that I disliked the book though, so I’d still rate it 2 stars.

And I do try to be fair. For example, I’m not a fan of romance as a genre, but if I gave a romance book a bad review it wouldn’t be “this is romance and I don’t like romance :confounded: too much romance in this romance novel” it would be more like “the romance was poorly-written/rushed/boring, and the protagonist had no personality, so that’s why I don’t recommend this book.”

Also, like others have said in this thread, the great thing about Natively is that there’s a Language Learning rating system too so I can still acknowledge that a book was helpful for learning purposes, even if I didn’t enjoy it.


This brought 幻想古書店で珈琲を to mind, though that’s LN rather than manga:

(crossover with the “books about bookshops” genre)


Books about bookshops are my jam :smiley: at 518 pages this is a big commitment though, have you read it? :face_with_monocle: I’m curious but given my tsundoku pile not sure I can justify it lol

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and this now reminded me of 宝石商リチャード氏の謎鑑定 :sweat_smile: I really need to read that series at some point… :face_in_clouds:

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I think that must be an Amazon data error – I have the first three volumes and they’re about 230 pages each, so pretty short by LN standards. (My volume 1 I picked up in a bookshop on a whim and it’s signed by the author…) I guess on balance I’d recommend it if the back cover blurb/series premise sounds interesting (I did read the first three books in the series) but it’s not a book I’m “you need to read this right now” enthusiastic about.

A bookshop-book I can recommend more full-heartedly is the ビブリア古書堂の事件手帖 series, which I liked a lot – interesting individual stories centring around different books or authors, and an overall series arc which knows where it’s going and doesn’t outstay its welcome.