So here’s something that’s come to my attention recently: most bloggers are really leery of tags like “the next [fill in the blank]” or “for fans of…” when they’re attached to advertising a new, upcoming book. Now usually I agree that they can cheapen the merit of the book, and sometimes I have a bit of prejudice of my own attached (“the next Harry Potter”? PUH-LEASE. *insert eye roll and snobby blogger face*). But lately I’ve been realizing that these tag lines are actually really helpful to me, and in some cases can sway me towards reading the book.
When I find a book that I LOVE, I’m always stuck in that world. I just want more. So to be honest, if I find something that says “the next Hunger Games” – I’m going to check it out. Games and/or races with deadly consequences upon failure? Main character steps up to defend sibling/family? Maybe a bit of romance thrown in there? Taking down a totalitarian government?
Like recently – I requested Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott on NetGalley, because it had a Hunger Games flavor to it. Tella, the MC, volunteers for the Brimstone Bleed (a high-stakes race over four legs) in order to win a cure for her dying brother. Now that right there is what I’m always looking for! The book fell short for me for different reasons, but the basics I loved.
I used to claim that books like this were “unoriginal” and “needed to define themselves without using key points from other books.” I’d like to slap my old self, and welcome you to do the same. But I’ve found so many books that I love, and if I can find certain tropes from that book in another book, sign me up! Call them guilty pleasures (though I don’t have those because I’ll like what I like and that’s that), but whatever they are, I’ll probably enjoy them.
I’ve noticed I have a few tropes/plot points that will really pull me into a book, whether or not it’s super similar to another popular book or series:
- The snarky bad boy who turns out to have a secret from his past that explains everything about his behavior now and then he morphs into this perfect conglomeration of snarky bad boy and sensitive heart of gold *coughletstalkaboutwarnercough*
- The flippant, sarcastic, comic relief boy who everyone writes off but underneath that shallow exterior he’s really intelligent and has a lot of depth to his character *faint calls of Nikolai in the background*
- The MC is motivated by family/friends/dedication to a cause, not romance. The romance is an add-in, but the main focus is the former. Examples: June in the Legend series, Katniss from THG, the Winchester brothers from Supernatural.
- For contemporary books, it’s the ones where the MC has experienced something traumatic or completely life-changing. I want to see how they move on and heal – I love rooting for someone to rise up above their circumstances.
Those are just a few – I’m sure there’s plenty more. Long story short: if a book promises any of those from the cover, synopsis, or what I’ve heard through other bloggers, you’ll probably find it on my shelf.
What about you? Are you put off by tags like “the next…”, or do you think they’re helpful? Are there certain tropes that will pull you to a book, whether or not they’re similar to another book/series?