It is a highly popularised theory that there are no more "original" ideas. Every journey and archetypal role has been written, and we are all just exploring the same core story in different ways. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. History is repeated, and humanity is continuously seeking to understand itself.
Yet, when does a book's similarity to another story become a turn-off to a reader?
I read a book last year, which reminded me of a film I had seen. I immensely enjoyed it and the writing style usurped my initial comparisons, yet I learnt later that other readers had noticed the similarities to the point where they cried plagiarism.
Another book I came across recently is extraordinarily similar in concept to one I know of, but have not yet read, so I cannot make the content comparison myself. To top it off, I just started reading a book, which is thus far well written, but reminds me too much of a television show for comfort.
Where do you draw the line between calling an author out on plagiarism – a serious accusation – and acknowledging that it is in fact possible for more multiple people to have similar ideas? How many factors does it take to draw suspicion or turn you off a book? It's something I'm struggling with as a reader. What is more important: The ideas or how they are executed in writing?
There are many plots I come across where I feel like I'm experiencing book déjà vu, due to archetypes and formulaic story structures. Only, there is a difference between a generic delivery, and a book with strikingly familiar details.
Do you experience book déjà vu? Does it bother you if the books you read are similar to other stories you have already read or seen?