‘Book Hype’ & You


brown-redrisingRed Rising is the book of the month!

How can it not be? The debut novel by Pierce Brown hit the New York Times list and has stayed there two weeks so far. It helps that the book was given a fantastic A- by Entertainment Weekly—a magazine that rarely reviews science fiction—and more than a few bloggers online touted how good the book is. Hollywood also had a hand in it, news of Universal winning a bidding war to secure Red Rising‘s movie rights drawing more attention.

Then take the number of us who read the book early—and who haven’t shut up since its publication—well, it makes for a storm of publicity that publishers wish every book could have.

It takes a special book though to make all of that happen. The kind of book that a reader finishes and immediately is compelled to share their wonderful find with others.

For me, I can’t wait for Red Rising‘s sequel.

And I’ve shared my find with others.

I had an interesting situation occur a few days ago though. I visit several fantasy/sci-fi fan forums around the internet(s) and I discovered a new Red Rising thread. Curious what people were saying, I ventured into it. I was happy I did. The forum goers were already talking about the book. Several had even already read it. And the consensus from those people was the book is wonderful.

As I read through the thread, another member joined in. This person spent his time ridiculing the thread’s members for falling prey to “hype.” The argument?

“A book should have to stand the test of time before I’ll read it. I don’t trust readers who are told what to read, what to like, and who then like said book. Sheep. Sheep everywhere.”

My eyes crossed in confusion. I laughed. And then I thought about it.

Did this member have a point?

I can tell you that the thread’s other members argued with the poster. As well they should. No one likes to be told they are a “follower.” I certainly don’t. Especially when I’m confident in one thing: When it comes to Red Rising, the early buzz is absolutely warranted, in my opinion. I read it before all of this “hype.” I certainly wasn’t told what to like. The book found its way to me months before publication. It is an amazing book, one that captured me from its first chapter all the way through to its final, unbelievable scene.

I found myself asking a few questions. Did I love Kvothe because others liked him? Did I love Locke and friends because others liked them? Am I reduced to tears every time I read Wizard & Glass because millions love Stephen King?

And the worst question: Should I have not read those books because so many other people loved them already? Maybe more awful: Would any of these books been different if I had read them the day of their publication?

Hype can be warranted.

Even useful.

After several thread pages, the arguer broke down and said he would read Red Rising. Not sure if his bias will color his read or not. I hope it doesn’t.

Where do you stand? Do you read books if they’ve been “hyped” by publishers and fellow readers? Do you wait until there are a certain amount of reviews on Amazon? Or will you try anything right out of the gate, no matter what has been said?

Would love to hear your thoughts!