Young Adult Fiction for Adults discussion

Authors > JK Rowling, original

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message 1: by Eric (new)

Eric Scot (youroddfriend) | 20 comments So I am a huge fan of Harry Potter, always have been and it is probably my favorite series. But I do get tired of people reading books from fresh new authors that are of the scifi fantasy genre, and comparing it to Harry Potter, saying things like "Oh this is just another Harry Potter knock off," or "This person just copied JK Rowling." Honestly it annoys the crap out of me. Although Harry potter is one of the best selling series of all time, I don't think it is because of JKRs ideas, but the way she tells the story. Its her writing! Magic schools, special orphans, wand battles/duels, three headed dogs, etc. its all been done before, just not in the way that JK Rowling told it. I am not trying to take any credit away from HP or JKR, It just bothers me that no one can ever write about a wand, or orphaned child anymore without fear of their book being called a poor mans version of Harry Potter.


message 2: by Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms) (last edited Dec 07, 2010 10:46AM) (new)

Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms) (ter05) | 374 comments The same thing happens with Twilight. There are a ton of books, many good ones, out there about the same topics and general stories as HP and T, but there is a reason why a series or a book touches millions across the world and earns the love of children and adults alike. The author had to do something very very special or it would never happen. It's rare, and whether people like the individual book or series or not, they should admit there is some magic there!

message 3: by Ottilie (new)

Ottilie (ottilie_weber) | 484 comments One of my problems with the Twilight series is the classics and books are having the change their covers to look like the twilight series! Like Romeo & Juliet and what not have on their covers mentioned in twilight!! My blood boils because they were written centuries before hand but have to be reference to that????

Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms) (ter05) | 374 comments It isn't the fault of the Twilight series so why blame the series for what others do? It is the fault of those who want to capitalize on someone else's success.

message 5: by Ottilie (new)

Ottilie (ottilie_weber) | 484 comments I'm not blaming Stephenie Meyer, just don't understand and like the idea that classics have to be treated like they are the new books on the block and they are following twilight

message 6: by Heidi (new)

Heidi After starting some other books that have been compared to HP, I have decided there just is NO comparison. I either did not finish them or did not carry on after book one in their series. Most of them were too middle grade for me. I am not sure, but for some reason HP just has that universal quality that all audiences can enjoy. That is hard to imitate.

Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms) (ter05) | 374 comments I'd like it if they never updated covers on any books. (I know, Eric, we took your topic way off base!) What I dislike the most is when they do a movie or television series and change the original book covers to covers with the actors on them - which I never buy. Let the book be a book and the movie or series be what it is.

message 8: by Ottilie (new)

Ottilie (ottilie_weber) | 484 comments I second Terry!

message 9: by Heidi (last edited Dec 07, 2010 01:12PM) (new)

Heidi Eric I see you are reading The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus Trilogy, #1) by Jonathan Stroud . Sorry, but IMO that book does have a lot of similarties to HP. I tried but it did not draw me in so I stopped.

message 10: by Wendy F (new)

Wendy F (blessedwannab) I have the Bartimaeus Trilogy on my shelf and for the most part I've heard great things about it. I can't wait to read it.

As far as Eric's topic. I get that frustration too, but it's not just in books. You can't be futuristic in music without being called a Lady GaGa wannabe... and the truth is that in books, music, fashion... everything is ground breaking. Harry Potter did launch a flood of fantasy books about young boys, such as the Pendragon, and even Percy Jackson. Groundbreaking new things just launch the next popularity craze.

I think it's very very normal, and I get irritated when people brush something off as just another knockoff.

One of my favorite bloggers did a blog about writing a book. Each blurb quoted an author's "how to" book. This is one of her blurbs, because I think it fits...

"3. 20 Master Plots by Ronald Tobias: If you think you’re creating something original, think again. There are only a handful of plots that have been used over and over again in different variations. These are time-tested plots; they’ve survived because people respond to the same stories. For instance, there will always be a market for ‘young boy goes off into the world and becomes a man’ stories or ‘she hates him, he hates her, she sees a new side of him and vice versa, they love each other but can’t be together because of pride or prejudice or both!’ stories. What I learned from this book: Don’t worry about writing something that’s been done before. It all depends on how you write it. Plus, you can mix plots. A quest story + romance + revenge+ thrilling pursuit! Um, try to be subtle about it. Harry Potter, for example, is very similar to Star Wars but different! Think about it… I can go on and on about how Harry Potter=Star Wars but different. Or Jamie Fraser: Black Jack Randall:: Jean Valjean: Inspector Javert except Javet has more sadistic tendencies. Do you see the similarities? Avoid being too on the nose when it comes to plot brews. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, anyone?"

Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms) (ter05) | 374 comments It's totally true. Nothing is new because it has all been written before. Different names, different backgrounds,but the big difference is HOW it is written. Some books just have an intangible something special that trigger responses in readers that others with a similar story do not. How many forbidden love stories have been written? How many ways can one say "I will love you forever"? The lines are there in many stories, but it takes a talent of some kind to make it different and spark something in so many minds and imaginations. A great book or movie will start a trend and often those that "copy" the general premise are very good. Sometimes they are very bad. But it is going to happen. I can enjoy something similar to Twilight or Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings or Star Wars because I enjoy fantasy and romance. Are they as good as the original? Probably not, but there is nothing wrong with enjoying them.

message 12: by Heidi (new)

Heidi I agree with Terry and Wendy. I still read books even if they are "similar" to others I like - that has never stopped me from trying. IMO that is what makes the great books so great, because even though it is a similar plot or character, they have something more than the others.

message 13: by Brittany (finally graduated and can once again read for fun) (last edited Dec 08, 2010 11:50AM) (new)

Brittany (finally graduated and can once again read for fun) | 1328 comments Eric, I would be inclined to agree with you. The most amazing thing JKR did was tell a story. Sure, she incorporated boggarts, werewolves, wizards, and the like. All that stuff is great, but it's hardly original. In the end I think what drew us all to the story was that it was about friendship, an epic adventure that we all crave, and I thought in the later books it was especially fantastic that we get to see a lot more of Voldemort before he was the dark wizard he became. JKR was able to bring that side of our villain to life, creating fantastic parallels between our hero and the villain. It was absolutely stunning.

Sometimes people reach for things. And yes, we tend to make comparisons, but I think the idea of a wizard is not solely the property of JKR just like the idea of childhood battles is not solely Suzanne Collins'. What is it they say? There are really only 7 major plots that exist in literature and the rest is what you make of it? (or something along those lines)

Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms) (ter05) | 374 comments Good thoughts, Brittany.

message 15: by Eric (new)

Eric Scot (youroddfriend) | 20 comments What do you mean about Battles and Suzanne Collins?

Brittany (finally graduated and can once again read for fun) | 1328 comments The Hunger Games. Everyone is saying that her concepts are revolutionary. And while I LOVE that trilogy, I don't think the concept is all that new. Children in an all out battle royale to the death has been done and dystopia is nothing new. It's actually one of my favorite genres.

message 17: by Becca (new)

Becca | 1608 comments Seriously, all you have to do is look at Lord of the Flies or Ender's Game to see kids duking it out against each other for survival. The concept definitely isn't new. In fact it reminded me a lot of the gladiator concept of ancient Rome. You put a few people in an arena and the last one to survive the blood bath (put on for other people's entertainment) is declared the winner and given the dream life. Not really original, but how Collins wrote the book touched a lot of lives.

Brittany (finally graduated and can once again read for fun) | 1328 comments See Becca, I swear we're soulmates! Those are both excellent examples.

message 19: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Almost every fantasy book stems from ancient Rome or Greece IMO.

message 20: by Kurukka (last edited Dec 08, 2010 03:24PM) (new)

Kurukka Heidi I wrote: "Eric I see you are reading The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus Trilogy, #1) by Jonathan Stroud. Sorry, but IMO that book does have a lot of similarties to HP. I tried but it did not draw me in so I stopped."

It's true that the first book has many similarities with HP, no on can deny it, but the sequels take a complete different turn, especially about the main character, Nathaniel. He can be compared to Harry in the first book, a kid being mistreated by everyone around him, he has potential in magic but it stops there. The way magic works in this world has nothing to do with HP's and the main antagonist is nothing like Voldemort. Also, magic rules in this world, while in HP it doesn't so the political issues sure differ. And the ending, well, I think the ending of the whole series is better than HP's.

message 21: by Heidi (new)

Heidi I know a lot of people love that series Cecilia, I just couldn't get into the first book. I am sure it was me :)

message 22: by Kurukka (last edited Dec 09, 2010 06:23AM) (new)

Kurukka I just wanted to clarify the "HP similarities" problem because I know that it's what frightens most people when actually, the book has its own uniqueness.

Gah, that's why I read all of the Mortal Instruments books! I'm always willing to give the totality of a project a chance but then I found to much similarity with other works (well, especially HP for instance, lol)...

Anyway, I agree with the general idea of your topic, Eric. Myself, I have some prejudiced ideas when I see the synopsis of a book that strangely looks like another but I like to give it a fair chance so I'm like "okay, I'll read this to the end to have a clear opinion of it". Even if I find myself disappointed in the end, I'll be happy to say that I have all the elements to be able to talk about it (and also to avoid people telling me "you don't know! you didn't read all of it, so your jugement is invalid").

Mmmh, when I think about it, I could even take a look at the Eragon sequels. One day. Far in the future.

Also, I think that sometimes it's hard for an author not to take things from a book they absolutely love. They want to do something as good or even better than their model but they're easily influenced... So yes, there are a lot of knock offs but I think it's possible to get inspired without "copying". You just have to find the good books. o/

Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms) (ter05) | 374 comments If there is something out there similar to the Mortal Instruments books, please tell me. I want to read it! I have a lot of books I love, but have yet to find anything that touches them for me - I should stipulate in a YA book since Outlander is in a class of it's own and my all time favorite series.

message 24: by Ottilie (new)

Ottilie (ottilie_weber) | 484 comments See someone told me the Mortal series was more like Tithe by Holly Black.

Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms) (ter05) | 374 comments Oh wow, that one blows me away. I have read the Mortal Instruments books each four times and have the audios. I read Tithe once, did not like it much (I think I gave it three stars here) and it was about as far from the MI books as you can get. I sold it back to the used book store although books I like at all I keep to loan to family and friends. First it is about a mortal girl who is a bit trashy (as are her friends) and a Faery. The Faery world they go to in the book is seriously evil and at times disgusting. TMI is about a rather sweet and innocent girl and Shadowhunters with vampires, werewolves and a touch of the faery world here and there. The various settings in the books are for the most part beautifully painted in words so that you can almost see the city of glass, the ancient church interior, and the mystical but not exactly safe faery realm. Absolutely no comparison.

message 26: by Ottilie (new)

Ottilie (ottilie_weber) | 484 comments No i like tithe I just was told that comparison. I like the dark twist, it was different. Mortal Instruments sounds great, can't wait to read it!

message 27: by Becca (new)

Becca | 1608 comments Heidi I wrote: "I know a lot of people love that series Cecilia, I just couldn't get into the first book. I am sure it was me :)"

Heidi did you try it on audio? I can tell you I absolutely loved the series, but I listened to it on audio and thought the narrator added another awesome element to the story. I absolutely loved how he did the geni. But then again sarcasm can be my kind of humor and that's what really sucked me into the book to begin with. I just loved loved loved the sarcasm, it was fantastically well done and didn't get out of hand at all. I loved it!

message 28: by Kurukka (new)

Kurukka The sarcasm is also what first sucked me into the book. I enjoyed the Bartimeaus chapters better than Nathaniel's and the character actually took a real dimension for me in book two.

message 29: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Yes I tried it on audio. I loved the narrator's voice, I just never got into the story. I even re-listened to the first disk and it did not help. Sorry!

message 30: by Becca (new)

Becca | 1608 comments lol, not every story connects with everyone. You don't have to love it Heidi.

message 31: by Inez (new)

Inez Quijano (inezquijano) | 2 comments Eric wrote: "It just bothers me that no one can ever write about a wand, or orphaned child anymore without fear of their book being called a poor mans version of Harry Potter."

I completely agree on this one. However, I don't think it's just JK's writing. It's that she gave so much thought to what she writes. The names, the spells, and all the little details just all fit together and I haven't found any cracks yet. The whole series is unbelievably close to perfect.

message 32: by Kurukka (new)

Kurukka Well, there are however mistakes in the series. Details, yes, and I couldn't tell you what, I don't remember (and don't care), but overall, yes, it's a really powerful work of imagination. I think the series is so popular mainly because she touches many themes and introduced a enormous world that she could develop in seven books. There are always new discoveries to make. It's a world of possibilities.

message 33: by Eric (new)

Eric Scot (youroddfriend) | 20 comments You guys are all making good points lol, and proving some of what I said. For instance I never really saw any similarities what so eveer between Harry Potter or The Amulet of Samarkand. I just don't look at it that way. I hear people saying that Bran Hambric is a rip off of Harry Potter now, and I'm just like "How? because their are wands in the book?" thats bull lol, JK Rowling didnt invent wands, or the idea of a wand duel or battle. I may be repeating myself now though, but it also upsets me when I hear people say Eragon is a rip off of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings...

Sandra (I don't read, I devour.) (sisgood) | 33 comments Some people could even claim that HP is a knockoff of THEIR books. I don't know about you, but I think J.K. got her character design for Harry's look from this lol The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman

Also, The Dark is Rising (The Dark is Rising, #2) by Susan Cooper has some similarities.

If I thought about it, I'm sure I could name a few more. But there truly is nothing new under the sun. Comparing one book to another is all well and good but each book needs to stand for the quality of writing, somewhat original thoughts, and I haven't read it, but So You Want to Be a Wizard (Young Wizards, #1) by Diane Duane was pre-potter, Tomorrow's Magic by Pamela F. Service , was also. And let's not forget The Chronicles of Narnia (#1-7) by C.S. Lewis and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien and The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain, #1) by Lloyd Alexander all pre-potter also. If anyone wishes to add to this list please feel free.

Don't compare everything to Potter. To me, the HP series was... ok... it had it's moments but it wasn't one of the greats... to me. Don't shoot me for my thoughts, please.

message 35: by Paula (new)

Paula Williams (daystealer) | 43 comments Sandra, I won't shot you but rather agree somewhat. I'll have to admit that Rowling's writing was rather "British" and what I mean is lots of adverbs, especially in her attributes, were rather irritating. I became rather weary reading them and felt rather nauseous when she told rather than showed at times, wouldn't you say, rather? What rose her as cream of the pot was her amazing plot lines and characters within a fantastical setting.

message 36: by Sandra (I don't read, I devour.) (last edited May 19, 2011 08:56PM) (new)

Sandra (I don't read, I devour.) (sisgood) | 33 comments Actually, my biggest hang-ups with the series were Ron and Ginny. Had she been written about more, I might have liked her, but the impression I came away with was that Harry married one of his fan-girls... Yeah... Cause that happens all the time in real-life. That would be like Justin Beber steadily dating the president of his fan-club or some other rabid fan. Please excuse me if I spelled his name wrong btw...

Ron just annoyed the living snot out of me with how wishy-washy he was. I would loose a "friend" that "faithful" to me so fast after that second time, and after the first time I wouldn't trust them with squat for YEARS. I've been burned a few too many times by life to have friends like that. I need friends that will stick by me and support me... and NOT throw a fit concerning a bridesmaid dress and not do her duty and walk (and sing) at my wedding... yeah... strike one, chicka.

I dunno, All I know is had I been her I would have stood up there in a berlap sack with my hair looking like Frankenstein's bride before I let her down.
That's what "Best Friend" means to me. Ron wasn't a "Best Friend", he was a, I can kid around and hang with him, Friend. That's. All.

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