I was shopping at Borders the other day, picking up the new Olivia book for the kids. The kids section is special part of the store with little spacemen painted on the walls and dragons looming overhead. There is, of course, a Harry Potter section, containing not only the paperbacks, not only the hardbacks, not only the paperback 6 book set or the hardback 6 book set*, but a whole array of Harry Potter merchandise. It takes up 25% of the kids section for crying out loud.
What's worse, the rest of the kids section is filled with Harry Potter alikes. So and So and the Mystery of the Such and Such. In particular, there is a Charlie Bone series written by Jennie Nimmo that really stands out. Just a glance at one of the Charlie Bone covers brings to mind visions of Harry Potter books. This probably has little to do with Mrs. Nimmo, and a lot to do with the publisher's marketing strategy (if it looks like Harry Potter, it will sell better).
It makes me wonder, are they any good? It's not like Harry Potter is that original, just the best of it's class. So is it okay to write a Harry Potter alike? Or it that cheating, taking advantage of what sells right now?
I'll tell you what. I'll read book one of the Charlie Bone series and report back here. I can't trash it if I haven't read it, and maybe I'll be surprised. It's not like Rowling has a patent on stories about kids who battle evil things.
* Why would you by a partially complete set? Wait for book 7, then buy it once.