My 5 Star TBR Predictions Wrap Up

More or less four months ago, inspired by Mercedes at Mercys Bookish Musings on YouTube, I selected four books from my TBR pile which I then hoped would be five-star reads. I have now read all of them and regret to inform you that not even one has deserved a 5-star rating from me. I still liked them all, they were all 4-star reads, but none of them ended up meeting my high expectations for various reasons.

I can only wonder if I would have appreciated them more for what they are and wouldn’t have paid so much attention to what I perceived as faults, if my expectations had not been so high. It’s true that I don’t rate that many books with 5 stars, as I expect to completely love everything about them to do so, but sometimes expectations influence our way of thinking.

Although I rated all of the following books with 4 stars, I can easily rank them, because I liked some more than others. These are the four books that I expected to love from my most to my least favourite:


Ensaio sobre a Cegueira (Blindness) by José Saramago

Blindness is an allegorical novel set in a town where almost everyone goes blind. It presents the reader with the worst and the best about human beings and was really close to be a 5-star read. I just wish I had been more afraid about the ultimate fate of the characters. But what they had to endure was already so extreme that I could not imagine anything worse.


The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan

This is the second book in The Memoirs of Lady Trent series. We follow the future prominent dragon naturalist Isabella on her journey to Eriga. The development of the main character’s family situation is quite interesting, but I was a bit confused about the political situation in Eriga.


My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier

After loving Rebecca, I have really high expectations for all of Daphne du Maurier’s books. My Cousin Rachel is narrated by Philip, who was raised by his older cousin Ambrose. After Ambrose’s death away from home, he harbours suspicions about his cousin Rachel. The creation of atmospheres is perfect and I loved doubting the characters’ intentions throughout the novel, but I was not entirely convinced about why Philip fell so quickly in love with Rachel.


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See is one of those books which has an interesting and emotional plot, but whose structure restrains the reader’s connection with the characters. We are told the story of Marie-Laure and Werner, whose lives are affected by the brutality of the Second World War. The story felt too fragmented and disjointed. Nonetheless, at times it is beautifully written and emotional. I debated for a while whether to rate it with 3 or 4 stars, but, since I quite liked the ending, I felt that a four-star rating was more representative of my feelings about the book.


Although this proved to be an interesting exercise, I don’t think I will be choosing potential 5-star reads from the books among my TBR pile again in the near future. I think I prefer to start reading a book expecting to like it, but without too high expectations.


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