Monday, March 23, 2009

Much ado about the next Harry Potter

There has never been a more overused phrase in the book industry than "the next Harry Potter." If I were an author of a series of young adult novels, I would feel really stressed having that phrase attached to my work. The pressure to live up to J.K. Rowling's tremendous book sales and popularity would be the death of me. Nevertheless, publishers are indeed seeking that next literary sensation in the field of young adult literature. Interestingly enough, I have some of these titles that earned this unfortunate label.

Tunnels, a novel by two first-time British novelists, came out in 2007 and its publishers was promoting it as THE book to watch out for. I saw the book at FullyBooked two months ago and I bought it at a whim. I liked the premise that involves a boy discovering a hidden world underneath the civilization that we know of. I haven't gotten past the first chapter though. I find the book too ridden with adverbs that it's distracting.

The Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer could have been the next Harry Potter if only their demographic extended to other sexes and other age ranges. The Harry Potter books were widely read. Children as young as 6 have been devouring the books. The Twilight books on the other hand are more popular with girls and, yes, women. The books have no universal appeal. Also, I found them too cheesy.

I loved Gone by Michael Grant and I'm eagerly anticipating the next one. I doubt that this would be the next HP though, since there are a few characters that readers would be able to relate to. In the world of Rowling, if you're not too big on Harry's character, there's always nerdy Hermione, goofy Ron, and a whole lot of other eccentric but lovable characters. Perhaps it's because Gone is the first novel, and the author would eventually find the unique voices of each of his characters.

Cornelia Funke's Inkheart trilogy suffers from being too serious. The first book, Inkheart, was a fun read because of its somewhat original plot involving a father and a daughter who have the unique talent of reading characters to existence. The second one, Inkspell, was a tad too overwelming. It had way too much characters and Funke seems too preoccupied in bringing the reader up to speed with what happened in the first book.

I do miss Harry and his posse. Rowling's prose is so fresh and unintimidating. She never failed to surprise us every time we opened an HP book. The books are worthy to be re-read, and Rowling had the right judgment not to write any more HP books after the 7th installment. I think that the last HP was one of the most effective conclusions ever, but my favorite will always be Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Rowling is not known for her restraint, but she made us fell in love with her imagination.


sumthinblue said...

Hi there! Stumbled upon your blog searching for other book blogs in the Philippines.

Am a big Harry Potter fan too and I've had this same dilemma.

I read the Twilight series (all four) and, well, gritted my teeth in exasperation throughout the series

I love Cornelia Funke, although I wouldn't say the Inkheart trilogy is her best work. I love Thief Lord more.

Have you tried Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus trilogy? I've read it and I loved it. It's no Harry Potter, but it's a great series too.
Darren Shan's Cirque du Freak also comes highly recommended by JK Rowling herself (which is why I read it). There are 12 books in the series, but it's well worth it.

Hope you don't mind, I'll link you up :) Always great to come across another book lover.

Peter Michael C. Sandico said...

Hey there! Sure, I'll link you up too. What's your blog address?

I haven't read any of Stroud's work yet. I'll make sure to read one of his books soon.

adiected said...

Twilight series? no way!
There's no point of comparison (with the possible exception of sales). I know of a lot of people who'd flare up or probably roll their eyes on that HP-Twilight thing. I'm included. ^_^' I could go with a long list of reasons why Meyer's Twilight series couldn't compare to JK's HP. ah wait. Here's one discussion...

(Hey, just for the record, I DID TRY reading Meyer's Twilight series. I DID TRY, because I know I wouldn't have the right to talk about unless I read it (or tried). But it's been months now, and I still couldn't bring myself to finish the second installment. Even as I was reading it, my mind keeps wandering somewhere else. When I read HP, I get so engrossed. :P)
--Sumthinblue, you must be really patient. Hat down to you who managed to finish the series. I have all the books, but I'm still stuck with the 2nd. ^_^'

JK created her own world on Harry Potter. One sign of being a really good writer is when you get to encourage others to write too through your books. JK did with her HP series. Look at all the fan fics.

I've read and reread (and reread and reread and reread) the HP series. Talk about being a fan. But the HPs are the only books I got to read that much. ^_^

Omigod, I've only read Darren Shan's first. I haven't got time to look for all the others. My friend promised to lend me hers, but the 2nd and 3rd are still on loan (by her other friends).

Somebody recommended Artemis Fowl to me. You might want to check it out. I have the complete digital copy. ^_^' It looks promising.

adiected said...

looks like i almost made my own entry with that comment. ^_^'

Rhett said...

I heard someone say that the Twilight series is really just a Mills and Boon romance novel with vampires. Ouch!

Peter Michael C. Sandico said...

Thanks, Adie, for your comment! Nobela ito.

Peter Michael C. Sandico said...

Oh my goodness! It seems there's a hate thing going on for those Twilight books. Ingat lang. Hehehe.

Shoshana said...

thats the exact reason i don't really like the twilight books. too cheesy. i liked the first one, but i feel as if edward was dumped onto the side of the train for jacob and bella's wineing. i feel as if the story was dragged out. i probably won't see the movies made for the other three.
and i hate that any girl who reads twilight thinks that edward is soo cute. he's not.
it makes twilight even more like other stories where the only reason girls even read the series is because of a person of something.

Peter Michael C. Sandico said...

Well said, Soshana. I liked the first book too. I've no strong feelings for the other 3.

adiected said...

i've been describing the Twilight series as a compilation of age-old romantic literature. it feeds on people's fantasies eh, be it males or females. na there's this guy who's such a knight in shining armor, and there's this girl who's so laden with weaknesses, PERO MAGANDA. and they fall in love. and bella becomes a vampire because of that love. and that's it.

you could actually summarize the whole series in a simple sentence.
that's how simplistic it is.
but try doing that on HP.
Good luck sayo.