I’m sorry to be so blunt about it, but in my opinion there is no “next J.K. Rowling.” I understand the comparison. Shannon is British. At age 21 (gasp!) she just sold her 480-page speculative novel, The Bone Season, to Bloomsbury for over £100,000. The Bone Season is the first in a seven book series. While I am excited to read the book and wish Shannon nothing but success, I doubt The Bone Season will become the elusive next Harry Potter.
Every since Harry Potter publishers, movie producers, and fans have longed for “the next Harry Potter”. Lots of books and movie adaptations have been called “the next Harry Potter”: Artemis Fowl, The Hunger Games, Twilight, The Mortal Instruments, Maze Runner. I could go on and on. In fact, my first ever post for Hardcovers and Heroines was about how people called The Night Circus “the next Harry Potter”.
What do these books all have in common? None of them became the next Harry Potter. This doesn’t mean they weren’t wildly successful, because they were. But Harry Potter was a phenomenon. When J.K. Rowling wrote it her agent told her there was no money in publishing children’s books – it went on to become the bestselling book in history and a franchise Wikipedia estimates as worth fifteen billion dollars. It created a massive fandom (largely defined by the new Internet culture) and an even bigger readership that included people of all ages, genders, nationalities, religions, etc. What other books are featured in their own theme park?
I understand the desire to recreate the Harry Potter experience. I love the books, and some of my best memories of being a teenager are the book release parties, the midnight showings of the movies, reading the books in one day so I could talk about them with my friends.
I have also loved many of the books compared with HP, but the next phenomenon in readings isn’t going to be something similar to Harry Potter. It’s going to be books that are aps without words, stories completely told through tweets, or something equally unimaginable right now that will change the book industry and pop culture dramatically. In fact, if anything published in the last ten years deserves the title of next Harry Potter, it’s E. L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey – a self published novel stemming from fan fiction that topped bestseller lists, changed the publishing industry, and brought BSDM and erotic fiction into the mainstream.
Do you think there has been a next Harry Potter? If so, what is it? Are you planning on reading The Bone Season? Let me know in the comments!
Also if you want to read more about Samantha Shannon click here.