Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Is This the Next J.K. Rowling?

I'm pretty oblivious to this kind of trend, being long past the age where I get caught up in the kind of frenzy that creates superstars like Harry Potter and his real-life mom. But I can't help noticing more and more buzz about Stephenie Meyer and her teen-vampire books. Is she The One?

The series was literally dreamed up by Meyer, a Mormon mother of three and graduate of Brigham Young University who lives in Arizona.

“It was the kind of dream that makes you want to call your friend and bore her with a detailed description,” Meyer wrote on her Web site, stepheniemeyer.com.

Meyer said the young couple she dreamed of were talking in the woods — a girl and a gorgeous vampire. After the dream those voices in her head wouldn’t stop talking, and she didn’t stop writing. The first in her series about teenage vampires, “Twilight,” was published in 2005.
In Meyer’s world, vampires don’t have fangs, nor do they turn into bats.

They can be out at daytime but not in direct sun, or else they’ll start to glow. The main character, Edward, can read people’s minds and other vampires have other special powers.

Parents of would be readers might be happy to know that the books are a mix of fantasy and romance but without foul language, sex or drugs in the plots.
It appears that Barnes and Noble management have jumped aboard the bandwagon and is preparing midnight parties for the release of her next book in the series. I'm sure that most booksellers are pulling for her because they miss the Harry Potter effect on their bottom line but I do have to wonder where the protesters are. You know, all those who were protesting the witchcraft in the Potter series. Are they OK with teenage vampires?


  1. Hey Sam,

    Stephenie Meyer is pretty awesome, but not quite the answer to JK Rowling. The Harry Potter series appealed as much to men and boys as it did to women and girls. The Twilight series is a little less appealing to men and boys (or at least many won't own up to having read it).

    And, not to be mean, JK Rowling built a much bigger story setting than Stephenie Meyer. She had millions of children, and some of us adults, wishing we could go to Hogwarts. That's going to be a tough one to top.

    As to the protesters, I hope the Harry Potter series taught them the hopelessness of trying to deter people from a good read.

  2. Silee, thanks for the insights into the differences between Rowling and Meyer. I've read neither of the ladies, so I asked the question based strictly on the "buzz factor" that I am starting to sense about Meyer.

    But if what you say about Meyer's gender-limited audience turns out to be a factor, I can't see it happening.


  3. Meyer is awesome but I don't think a J.K. Rowling, quite up to that level, is coming around again if ever.

  4. I suspect that you are right, anonymous, but the booksellers aren't going to give up until they come as close as possible.

  5. The books may not cause the craze that the Potter books did because of the gender issue (although, they're doing a heck of a job giving it a run for its money - we've got close to 200 pre-ordered); however, that's not the reason Meyer isn't the next Rowling. The reason: she's better.

    Rowling came up with a creative storyline and good characters, but she lacks writing talent. I tried reading her books 3 times - they were horribly, horribly written. It boggles my mind that adults could stomach the first chapter, much less continue past it.

    Meyers created an interesting sotory with memorable characters, AND she can write well.

    Since we're having the party, I figured I'd give the books a try, expecting to give up quickly, as I had with Potter. But I didn't. I read the first, which left me wanting to read the next one, and then the next one. I read all 3 in 6 days.

    Do I think they deserve the obsessive fans and mass hysteria warranting a midnight release? No. Not really. But will I read the 4th one as soon as my boss finishes hers and loans it to me? Yep.

    As for protesters - I haven't heard about any. But there is a difference in the books - witchcraft is exactly what it sounds like, and I can understand parents of certain beliefs not wanting their kids to read it. The Twilight series doesn't have the same kind of "mystical" aspect. It does have other issues, such as violence, but it's also marketed to older children that the Potter books. However, I can also understand parents not wanting their kids to read these books, too, though they're much cleaner than many other teen books. That said, I think protests for either book was/would be ridiculous.

    Once again, sorry it's so long.

  6. The protesters are probably non-readers, aren't they? After all, it's so much easier to keep your mind closed when you don't expose it to radical things like books. So now that the buzz is getting louder they'll be catching up with this idea of vampires romantically involved with their teen children soon and we'll start hearing the drums of fundamentalism thumping around the local chain stores.

  7. Interesting comments, Annie...I always enjoy your perspective on things...and, the longer, the better - no apologies necessary.

  8. I would really hate to hear of anyone protesting these books, Corey, and I do wonder how long they will be able to keep a low enough profile to avoid that happening.

    You are correct...books are very dangerous to closed minds - anything can happen when exposed to such dangerous items. :-)

  9. It's all just marketing. Bookstores will do anything to make a hype. The more hype, the more likely they'll sell more books.

    For me, Harry Potter magic was fun. I don't being "the next J.K. Rowling" is necessarily a good thing, as I agree with J. Anne that Rowling didn't actually write very well. But it was a good story.

    I personally don't care about vampires so I don't think I'll ever read Twilight, as good as the writing may be.

    As for protests, that always happens. Who cares?

  10. Rebecca, I agree that being the next J.K. Rowling is not necessarily a good thing for the author so chosen or for readers, as far as that goes.

    I haven't read Rowling, other than the first chapter of the first book, but I don't remember being much impressed by her writing style...I gave up on the book pretty quickly, obviously, as not being something for me.

    Yeah, protesters generally impress themselves but few others, don't they?

  11. I've read all the HP and Twilight. I have to respectfully disagree with J. Anne. While Twilight was easy to read, I thought it was full of holes- where was the adult supervision? How silly is it that the entire explanation (that they gave the people NOT involved) for the ending is "Bella is clumsy"? The last bit of Jacob is obviously tacked on to allow for sequels. There are other examples, but I thought the whole thing was poorly plotted. I'm not an overly critical reader and I had problems with it.

    I haven't thought this idea through, but maybe the popularity of them is due to the novelty of the books in that genre?

    Don't ever post a less than glowing review though, because every fangirl on the internets will come tell you how wrong you are, and how much you suck.

  12. Interesting thoughts, Lisa. I've read neither of the ladies, so I really don't have much to offer in response.

    I've had the experience of getting clobbered by rabid fans of certain authors or singers in response to anything less than a gushing review of their favorite. It's a particular problem over at Amazon where they can give negative votes to a review, making it appear that the review is "faulty" for being "unhelpful" when they are just voting that way out of spite.

    It's kind of interesting how often that happens.