forgiveness in ratings

In the last post about how much technical quality matters, a couple of people touched on the idea of ‘forgiveness’ in relation to reading and gave a few examples of the types of things they would be willing to set aside in view of their overall enjoyment of a book.

This got me curious.  

Surprise, surprise.

What do readers actually mean when they say ‘I can forgive a lot’?  

What niggles – large or small – would you be able overlook in a book and why?  What is it about  a story (themes, blah, etc, blah) which makes you able to dismiss any crap?

Besides Tam’s phases of the moon, that is. ;P

About Kris

Reads, rants, randoms & R+s. You've been warned. BTW, don't follow me if you're a GLBTQQphobic wanker. It won't end well. For you.
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23 Responses to forgiveness in ratings

  1. Chris says:

    If a book involves me completely, I won't even notice minor issues. In fact, that's one of my criteria for a 5-star rating – the book has to suck me in that completely.

    That said, if there's a major disconnect in story, character, timeline, etc, and it jolts me out of that involvement… the rating is going down.

    Heh, veri word is whinea. 😀

  2. Tam says:

    Hey, those phases have some basis in fact.

    But basically if I really like a character, if I would like to know them in real life, I'll likely let it slide that they got on the bus and got off the train at the other end. I'll note it, and think “lazy” but if I'm really liking the story I'll let it go. If I'm not into the story and the character is grating on me or TSTL, then I'll make a point of telling the world about it.

    I also tend to have a soft spot for kids abandoned by their parents no matter the age. Hell, KZ and I wanted to adopt the 30 year olds of some old bitch on Hoarders because she was so mean to them. (It's the mother in me, can't stand the concept of a parent who rejects their kids.) So usually stories with that theme, will make me overlook a stalker plot that probably makes no sense in real life, cops who take the law into their own hands and don't get in trouble for it, or other things that are just rather ridiculous. If I'm really caught up in the story, I will also ignore that you said “There parents were dead.” I know, I know, but whatever, tell me more. I want to keep plowing on, I've got no time to stop for nit picking.

    I'm less likely to let medical things go. Open heart surgery Tuesday, wild sex on a trampoline Friday. No. Broke his leg, hand job while they set the bone. No. I suppose things I can say legitimately “that's just stupid” because I've experienced it and it's unrealistic at best.

    Wordveri: fansest – is that two RPGers having sex at yaoicon? Or two JL fans getting it on? 🙂

  3. heidenkind says:

    Okay, I know this is really weird, but I HATE prologues, and if a book has one it immediately loses points with me. But if a book has a prologue, only it's labeled “Chapter 1”? OVER. DONE. I can feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about it.

  4. Matthew says:

    I'm willing to forgive some overused plots – a cop falling in love with a suspect, for example. But I still wince when I read about how everybody thinks the poor guy is a murderer and nobody believes him and he has to prove his innocence…

    @heidenkind Prologues? Definitely weird. Please, don't read or rate anything I write.

    Veriword: pawkil 😀

  5. Kris says:

    Chris: Whiner! 😛

    I agree. Anything that jolts me or throws me out of a book, including both technical aspects and re: the story itself, automatically sets off my warning signals.

    There are not many things that may allay this sense and get me to keep on reading. A few ones are to do with story development and characteristisation; that is, am I actually intrigued enough about the story progression to plow on.

    I think you can guess what happens when the answer is no.

    Tam: So basically some things you're willing to be convinced about in spite of the fact that they make no sense, but other things are too unrealistic so they get tossed to the kerb.

    Way to confuse the authors out there, Tam. LOL

    “Hey, those phases have some basis in fact.”

    I think you should do a pie chart which is based on your ratings and the phases of the moon. I dare you. :DDD

  6. Kris says:

    Heidenkind: While I'm not as weird as you, a prologue or an epilogue better be pretty damned fucking amazing for them to be incorporated into the story. If they're gratuitous in any way, shape or form, I'm pissed.

    The prologue/chapter one ambush?? Don't get me started either. Fucking publishers. the end.

    Matthew, dearest… and when can we expect your latest book about an innocent, twinkie guy accused of murder who sets out to prove his innocence and the Alpha cop who falls for him??

  7. Matthew says:

    Right after I finish the one with two cowboys falling for each other.

  8. Val Kovalin says:

    I am totally with Heidenkind on the prologs. I don't think that's weird at all! It comes of way too many years of reading high fantasy where we readers get this tedious prolog that happens 1,000 years before the main action. OMG!

    Also, I just want to say I love, love, love the photo with the cute little Pug-ster about to steal the piece of pumpkin pie! That made my day.

  9. Kris says:

    Matthew, yay! I love those! 😛

    Val: “It comes of way too many years of reading high fantasy where we readers get this tedious prolog that happens 1,000 years before the main action. OMG!”

    God, yes. All my personal faves; the ones containing the prophesy which basically tells you what's going to happen in the next 10 books! Blech.

    PS – Glad you got a kick out of the bug. 🙂

  10. Kris says:

    That should have been 'OR my personal faves' and there's a random ; too. I really shouldn't try to type before I've finished my first coffee.

  11. I'll tell you a secret: I have a kink for science fiction erotica. Aliensmut. I will forgive a great deal, in search of even a half decent story. So long as the prose doesn't induce brain-bleeding, I'll overlook technical errors for a healthy cast of interesting characters and a half-decent plot or world building.

    Of course, I long ago resigned myself that the kind of books I like to read… I have to write first. Which is, in part, the reason why I began writing in the first place. 😉

    One of my favorite science fictions which, sadly, had zero smut, was “Black On Black” and starred a furry alien-wolf soldier and his human female counterpart. More than once, I got the distinct impression that the writer deliberately shied away from any sort of romantically suggestive content, and it frustrated me as a reader. But still, I loved it anyways because that was the only aspect lacking.

    The reverse is also true for me. “Details of the Hunt” has a world of issues in it, all over the place. But damned if I didn't enjoy the story and characters despite all the flaws, and forge through them, simply because it was what I wanted to read and is so hard to find. I don't recall what I rated it, but few stories stick around in my brain cells so long after I've read them. It's definitely one I've enjoyed multiple times, and that's saying something for me. (Reading time is precious and scarce.)

  12. Kris says:

    Rhi: “I'll tell you a secret: I have a kink for science fiction erotica. Aliensmut.”



    What is that smell?! It's gorgeous!

    Oh, yeah. I know all about it. 😛

    You know, Rhi, you're the only person I've come across who has the same feelings about 'Details of the Hunt' that I do. I'm strangely unsurprised by this. LOL

    While I wouldn't call myself a huge sci fi fiction fan – different story when it comes to sci fi movies, tv series, anime, etc – I do keep my eye out for m/m sci fi that look interesting enough to make them worthy.

    A couple of recent ones I've liked are Amy Lane's A Solid Core of Alpha (although I had issues with the last third of the book) and K D Sarge's Knight Errant.

  13. nic b says:

    I only have one thing that drives me batshit (ok, a lot more than one, but the glass of wine is almost empty and I shouldn't start a rant after a caffeine and wine filled day)….

    Soap as lube.

    The end.

    (appropriate veriword to go with peev = sorenest)

  14. @Kris: You rock. I now have something to read on my day off this week. Will definitely check them out!

  15. Emilie says:

    I'm reminded of those cliches about mothers loving all their children. Out of the books I love, there are some with their share of flaws, and/or what I perceive as flaws, but I love them anyway. I like when characters are challenged in a way that's organic to the plot and goes with their personalities. I hope that made sense.

  16. Kris says:

    Nic: No way was that your veri. You made that up.

    You should give the guys the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they have very sensitive skin and are using the soap-free stuff.

    It's possible.

    Rhi: If you read them and hate them though, it's your own fault for being a lemming. Just sayin'.

    Em: “I like when characters are challenged in a way that's organic to the plot and goes with their personalities.”

    That makes perfect sense. Those kinds of stories are all the more convincing because of the sense of 'rightness' about them. If that makes sense. 🙂

  17. nic b says:

    Kris: no way was that your veri

    I swear on all that I love and worship (you), that was my veri.

  18. Kris says:


  19. nic b says:

    How come you believe everyone else except me? *sniffle*

  20. nic b says:

    Because you love me so much?

  21. orannia says:

    If a book sucks me in (like Chris that's what a book needs to do to get a five-star rating from me) then I can forgive certain things, even if they annoy me. For example, HBC (Hit By Car) with large amounts of pain killers required and yet you can have sex? Weirdly, when I commented on this on GR it didn't hit most people's radar. So…I think I'm more picky about certain things than others.

  22. Kris says:

    Nic: No. That's not it.

    Orannia: Shame on you for not seeing that painkillers are clearly an aphrodisiac!

    My faves are when the MCs are full of bullet holes and yet can still fuck like monkeys. I totally believe those.

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