I see so many books compared to other books, authors, or franchises in order to market them, so I thought it would be fun to take a look at those and see if the comparisons actually made sense! I’ve definitely read books where the comparisons I’ve seen make no sense.
As a note, these comparisons are pulled directly from reviews on the book. This means that people who just pick a book solely based on what they read about it on the book will see these comparisons as well.
Warcross by Marie Lu
Compared to: The Hunger Games & World of Warcraft
I can see how the gaming element of World of Warcraft could be a good comparison, but I don’t necessarily think there is anything about WoW specifically that relates to this book. You could pick any MMORPG with fantasy elements and it would be a decent match. I actually just played WoW for the first time the other day, so I haven’t gotten into it much, but from what I remember of Warcross, the game in the book seems quite different, not to mention it’s VR/AR.
It took me a minute to understand the Hunger Games comparison…they are both games. Other than a futuristic society and the vague “game” element, I don’t think there is much to tie these two together.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Compared to: Romeo and Juliet, Gladiator, Game of Thrones
Although I haven’t seen the movie Gladiator, I think this could be a fair comparison. The description of the movie mentions fighting, slavery, and a fight for a throne, all of which are present in the book series. One big difference I can think of is that it doesn’t sound like there is any fantasy elements in the movie, whereas there definitely are in the book.
I also have not read Romeo and Juliet, but I think society is well enough aware of the plot at this point. I can definitely see the connection here! There is a romance in the book between two people on two very different sides, however, this is more society-based rather than familial like in Romeo and Juliet. One group is literally using the other as slaves, so it definitely is more intense than just two families hating each other.
And we have arrived at the inevitable…Game of Thrones. Going into this post, I knew I was going to have to discuss this because anything that has fantasy in it or is slightly dark or sexy has been compared to GoT. That being said, I can understand the comparison only because there are brutal elements of both. Otherwise, the plot, characters, settings, and themes completely different. Game of Thrones feels very political and the characters are more gray in their morality. AEITA doesn’t feel so political, and while the characters do have to make hard choices, it is generally pretty good versus evil.
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Compared to: The Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Flies, Ender’s Game
Okay, The Hunger Games. I can totally see the comparison here, as both feature a brutal, competition-esque game. I do feel like the dynamics are a bit different though, as The Hunger Games is made to be a spectacle and the point was to kill everyone else. In Red Rising, the training event was not made public (correct me if I’m wrong, it’s been awhile) and people could die, but it wasn’t necessarily encouraged to kill everyone.
Again for Game of Thrones, I think this has to do with brutality. Red Rising can be quite brutal, so I get that, but this book is sci-fi, not fantasy. I think the political element of Game of Thrones would be reasonably compared to the rest of this series, but this comparison was specifically on the first book, which is largely not focused on politics.
Lord of the Flies is an interesting one to me. On first glance, it made sense because youths fighting each other is common among the two, but after thinking about it, I don’t agree. Lord of the Flies is more of a situation where rules are abandoned and society breaks down, so they are just trying to survive. In Red Rising, the ‘game’ was a semi-controlled training exercise with a distinct goal outside of just surviving.
I’ve never read Ender’s Game, but I feel like I’ve learned a lot about it from hearing my brother talk about it non-stop. This is the only comparison that is actually hard sci-fi, so there’s at least a vague connection there. Ender’s Game is also a school type setting, but it’s definitely more structured than Red Rising. I think this is a fairly decent comparison and definitely the best out of the four!
The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst
Compared to: Throne of Glass
I’m a big fan of both series, but this was so funny to me! They are so completely different in my mind. I suppose they both have magic and royalty….but the tone, story, characters, and setting are all so different! The Queen of Blood feels a bit more nostalgic, like older fantasy, while Throne of Glass definitely leans into fun YA tropes. There is a competition in Throne of Glass, which I guess is vaguely similar to the school in The Queen of Blood, but I still don’t see a very strong connection. I enjoy them both, but for very different reasons.
An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
Compared to: Sarah J. Maas, Holly Black, Maggie Stiefvater, Laini Taylor, Diana Wynne Jones
It’s interesting to me that this book is compared to so many other authors!
I can understand that Sarah J. Maas and Holly Black are in the mix because this book is about fae. There are courts in this book, similar to A Court of Thorns and Roses and the fae themselves are similar to The Cruel Prince. All three stories follow a human girl among immortal fae.
I think the Laini Taylor, Diana Wynne Jones, and Maggie Stiefvater comparisons are more for the writing and style. This book does have a whimsical kind of magic, which seems in line with how these authors write.
All in all, I don’t think these are bad comparisons really, but just having so many feels overwhelming. Those five authors are not very similar in my opinion, so having a book that is similar to all of them at once makes it confusing.
I may need to do a part two of this! These are just some of the books I found on my shelf that are compared to other things. What I learned from this is that comparisons may be a good place to start, but they definitely don’t give you the whole picture of a book. What other comparisons have you seen on books?