Last week, while reading Charlotte's post about if "The Next..." really works or not, I realized something. I stay away from books that are randomly compared to other books. The last book I actually read (and yes, I did love it) that has something similar on the cover was Beautiful Creatures. In case you haven't seen the back cover of the edition with the movie poster on the cover, it says "Give this to fans of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight or HBO's True Blood series".
After reading this book, I must say I have no idea why they compared Beautiful Creatures to either of those two. Here's why:
- Twilight: There's no sparkling, whining vampire, there's no "woe is me" heroine. So I've NO clue why it's compared to that book *confused* Granted, I only saw the movies, but my BFF Lucy read the books and she told me in details what was different from the movies and I've read enough reviews about the series to be pretty sure about the lack of similarities.
- True Blood: Let's remember that this TV show is based on a book series. This is the first thing that baffles me, why compare a book to a TV show based on a different book, when you can actually compare the two books/series? But maybe my brain is wired differently. Let's stick to the original comparison, okay? There's no mind reader, no sexy viking vampire, no confusing creatures that get killed just 'cause it makes the book interesting (remember Claudine in Southern Vampires? Yeah, I wanted her in the show!) Oh, let's not forget how in TB everyone seems to be horny all the time (I'm not a prude, I'm just saying that the show has more sex than Sex And The City ever did)
So really, why compare this book, or any other book for that matter? Maybe it attracts readers, but the way I see it, a comparison like this can make a lot more damage than good. Think of your favorite books of all times. Now imagine a book you've never heard about that it's being compared to it. The first thing that actually comes to my mind when I see that is "Copycats!". I swear, I have an insane fear it will be so similar with the original book that it's being compared to. (Think Black Dagger Brotherhood - Midnight Breeds similar). So I will definitely won't want to read that book. Then there's the thing about expectations. If they're comparing the new book to a book I loved, I will have expectations so high, chances are I won't like the new book. If, however, the comparison is with a novel I didn't like, my expectations will be low and, as such, I won't be reading that book.
Because I have no clue how marketing is supposed to work, I must wonder who's bright idea was it to start this trend. And does it really help the fans having honest feelings about the new book? Is it the story they like, or the apparent similarities? Would they be looking just at those similarities and say "Yes, this book is good" or do they look at the whole package? I would be looking for those similarities, unfortunately. And I know I'd probably say things like "Harry wouldn't have done that" or "Frodo would have said something else" or "Sookie would've banged the other guy". Maybe that's just me?
And another thing. The fact that you're comparing two books is like comparing lemons and oranges. After all, they're in the same extended family - literature (or is it prose?). But comparing movies/TV shows and books? That's similar to apples and carrots or saying an eagle and a snake are similar. They're not. Books are books, movies are movies. I have no idea why someone would compare the two.
Now, this has nothing to do with the connections someone might do or write about in a review of the book. If the reviewer says it's similar to some other work of fiction, I just shrug and move along and either buy the book because I want to or I don't. Just because someone noticed some similarities doesn't mean I will. But when it's on the cover of that book, that's when I get weary.
What about you? Do you care about these comparisons or do you just ignore them?