Book Reviews, Opinion, Writing

Why give 4 stars to a book when the climax disappointed me?

I read Stephen King’s latest novel, Revival, this month. I didn’t look at reader reviews until after I finished the book. But I’d seen some quotes from professional reviewers who called it terrifying, scary, or horrifying. But then, King’s publisher wouldn’t choose to quote any reviewer who said otherwise, would they?

revival

When I checked the reviews at Amazon and Goodreads, I saw the majority of them had rated the book with four or five stars, but a considerable number, especially on Goodreads, had given only one star. Many of the low-raters cited the “ending” as their reason for dissing the book. It was clear from the comments they were not talking about the actual end of the book, which is an epilogue, but the climax of the story, which I also found disappointing, yet I gave Revival four stars.

Why give 4 stars to a book when the climax disappointed me? Simple answer: the fault is not Mr. King’s. Though the climax failed to terrify me as illustrious reviews promised, I was captivated by 399 of the 403 pages in this book.  I even correctly anticipated Jacobs’ final “healing.” On those remaining 4 pages, Mr. King described what horrifies him and, obviously, many other readers. But his vision didn’t horrify everyone, and some of those not scared rated this book with 1 star.

I’m an author, and I know it’s impossible to write a book that pleases everyone. If I were to write a horror novel that ended with a peek behind that “hidden door,” I would describe a far different scene—what horrifies me. Some readers would shiver in terror with me; others would shake their heads or maybe laugh. King’s vision didn’t horrify me, but because of the solid writing, the skilled storytelling in 99% of the book, I rated it with four stars.

Have you read Revival? How did/would you rate it?

Linda