Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Casual Vacancy vs. Harry Potter?

Guest Blog by Marla

Harry Potter fans unite, there’s a new Rowling book out. But, wait; there are new characters, a different plot, a new genre, and even an entirely new target audience. Why, then, are so many readers comparing the two books? I’m confused.

I should probably state that I am an HP fan girl. I’ve read the series multiple times and, of course, watched each of the movies several times as well (always going to marathon/midnight releases). Harry’s world is magical and makes us all feel powerful and hopeful. The characters are deep and complex. They are strong and Rowling develops them quite well throughout all the books. We all watched Harry and company grow up. The books have excitement, mystery, intrigue, action, drama, romance, and comedy – these stories are some of the best many readers feel they’ve ever read (or ever will).

After years away from the limelight (not really – she’s pretty much been in some type of limelight since creating Harry and his world), Rowling surfaced with a new novel, The Casual Vacancy. Many fans were immediately excited beyond comprehension – we were giddy with anticipation and have been salivating at the chance to read another Rowling creation.

The Casual Vacancy released Thursday, September 27 and I have not read it yet. However, I’ve been reading reviews and comments and I am quite puzzled by what I’ve found. I’m speaking beyond the fact that several people immediately attacked the book and posted 1-star reviews based on the price of the book (I must have missed the memo about book reviews being about personal information or prices of books – silly me, I thought reviews were about book CONTENT, but I digress). I’m speaking of the quickness in which readers are comparing The Casual Vacancy to the Harry Potter Series.

I think readers sometimes get too caught up in this type of comparison. Readers should not look for something to replace or compare to Harry. If they do, they'll be sorely disappointed no matter what Rowling writes. One should look for a good story (whatever that means is decided by the reader - we're all different). She can definitely tell a beautiful and engaging story as well as build magnificent characters and rich worlds. We've seen it happen with HP. BUT, they won't be even remotely similar in the new book...if they were, again, I'd venture a guess that HP fans would be even MORE disappointed. I know I would. I am not looking for her to duplicate anything from Harry’s world – I want new content, new plots, and new characters. Quite simply, I want a whole new Rowling world (no, not necessarily a magic one either).

Basically I don’t believe anyone should simply compare the two books. HP holds a very strong part of MANY readers' hearts (mine included). There is so much about the series that can't be compared to or topped, especially with adult fiction - hello apples versus oranges!!

My advice to readers and Rowling fans everywhere is, read the book without an agenda. Read it as if she wasn't the author of the HP series. Read it without any preconceived notions or expectations. That's what I'll be doing and that is certainly the basis I’ll use when reviewing The Casual Vacancy!


  1. Well said, great post. It's a mark of a good writer if they can be varied in what they write and I hope (haven't read it yet) JK's done this with her first adult novel. Keep writing!



  2. Great post. A friend and I were wondering just how many CV reviews were going to mention HP.

  3. Good for you and thanks for saying it. I agree. Some books just don't compare even if they are written by the same person. I for one am interested in what JK has put together here. Haven't read it, yet, but looking forward to it...I think :)

  4. If only people weren't prejudiced. It's something new and that's exciting. I'm glad you've written this and I hope it encourages people to be open minded and not lose out.