Weekly

T10T: Cover Change Opinions

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is Cover Redesigns I Loved/Hated.


The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé

I don’t love this paperback redesign, but I don’t dislike it either. I prefer the original one because I’m really attached to it and because the color scheme is just better for the story, but the new one represents the content just as well – if it weren’t for the new tagline.
“Is it real or a nightmare” isn’t really meaningful to what the actual conflict is, in my opinion, especially considering that previous editions had “something is waiting to pull her under” and “something is waiting to pull you under” (my copy has this one. and I mean, it’s true), which are much better. Old cover or new cover [do tell me which one you prefer!], if you’re even marginally interested in emotional and introspective queer YA horror, you should try this.


Final Draft by Riley Redgate

I’m sorry. This is one of the most hideous paperback redesigns I’ve ever seen.

I mean, it’s not like the first cover actually tells you anything about the content of the book, but at least it doesn’t look like something you’d throw into the trash, with a cutesy background that doesn’t fit the atmosphere of the novel at all (it’s a story about mental illness, and it’s all but lighthearted.)


The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

This is a really interesting one, especially considering that both are meant to be paperback covers. The original one represents the content of the book really well, with the gloomy atmosphere, the ruined building, the unnatural-looking light of the wings – it’s exactly what this novel is. However, the second cover works better on something small, like a paperback, looks significantly less awkward, and still has a lot of interesting details. I might be biased because that’s the edition I own, but I prefer the second one, even though the first one is beautiful too.


Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Meh. The original cover has a lot of symbolism I really appreciate, because symbolism is… the backbone of this series, honestly, and all of that is lost in the second one. It is pretty, but while from the first one I can see “Russian-inspired fantasy involving magical shadows and something with antlers”, the second one doesn’t tell me anything but the fact that there might be something involving a deer.


Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé

This paperback redesign worked a lot better than the one of The Dark Beneath the Ice. The first cover is eye-catching and detailed and creepy and represents the book’s atmosphere perfectly; the second one is simpler and perfect for a smaller cover while also telling you that we’re talking about plant horror with skulls. Really good.


Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

I’m probably the only person on this planet who liked the old cover with the fake-looking snake. The second one is just boring, which is sadder when you consider how much of a wasted occasion it was – we could have had a cover with Xifeng looking beautiful and dangerous on it, and we got this instead. It’s not bad, it’s… it doesn’t tell me anything about the book apart from “vaguely Asian-inspired” and it’s not in any way memorable.


Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Yawn.

You had a quiet, dark cover that got the wintry atmosphere perfectly while also vaguely hinting at a crown without actually making it a generic YA fantasy cover – and you changed it for a generic YA fantasy cover with a crown on it that does nothing at all and has a bold “only one can be queen” tagline as if this were a competition for the throne story in a Three Dark Crowns style? This is bad.

(Yes, the misleading tagline is in the first one too, but at least it’s not in your face.)


Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly

On one hand, the first cover represents the inside of the book better, as it’s literally a scene from it, but the second one is perfect for a paperback (striking, simple design? yes) and I like what they did with that theme in the sequels too. An effective cover change.


The Beauty that Remains by Ashley Woodfolk

This is really interesting, because as you can see from previous examples, the hardcover usually has illustrations/cover models on it, and the paperback has a simpler design meant to work on a smaller cover. Here, the opposite happened, and while I think the second cover is a little wasted on a paperback, I’m glad that it was changed, because the first one tells you nothing about the book and it’s not even that pretty.

Also, I love this trend of YA contemporary covers in pastel blue, pink and purple!


Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente (UK Covers)

Just no.


Tell me your opinions about these cover changes!

Discussion · TBR & Goals

Judging Before Reading – T5W: Favorite Covers

I’m combining this week’s Top 5 Wednesday with my new series of posts “Judging Before Reading”. My first post was about covers I don’t like.

Top 5 Wednesday is a goodreads group created by Lainey (gingerreadslainey) and now hosted by Sam (thoughtsontomes). This week’s topic is Favorite Covers.

We’ve done this topic in the past, but with so many new, beautiful covers, it is time for an update.

I haven’t read all the books on this list, and if I’ve read them, I don’t necessarily recommend them. These are not my favorite books with pretty covers, this is a list about my favorite kinds of covers, with some examples.


Really Detailed, Atmospheric Illustrations

This is probably my favorite kind of cover. I love illustrations (I will always complain about the fact that, unlike adult SFF and middle grade, YA fantasy rarely has illustrated covers) and I love when the illustrations are detailed and their details remind me of some scenes in the book.

Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng – when I say I like details, I mean something like this. Every time I look at this cover, I notice something new. This cover also represents the book’s atmosphere perfectly – it’s a Gothic story about Victorian missionaries in fairyland with really creepy faeries.

Paris Adrift by E.J. Swift – this is a gorgeous one. Not only you can immediately tell this is a story about time travel (look at the clock) set in France (look at the color scheme), but all the symbols – like the creepy bird and the violin – are references to some specific scenes in this book. I love this cover a lot.

The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang – I love this illustration for its style and atmosphere and I don’t know if I would have picked this book up if it hadn’t been for the cover. The details in the cloud are my favorite part.


Plants and Animals

Anything that is in any way tied with plants and animals (creepy trees and dragons as much as goldfish and kittens) is automatically more interesting to me. Especially if the covers has marine animals on it.

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman – I haven’t read this book, I don’t know if I will, but every time I see this cover, I want to. Not only it’s purple (which is almost always pretty), it’s also a jellyfish. And jellyfish are some of the prettiest animals on this planet, when you’re not touching them.

After the Woods by Kim Savage – Creepy woods are my favorite kind of setting, and this is one of my favorite covers because of that. It’s beautiful, it’s mysterious, it’s far less peaceful that one might think, and it represent the books perfectly. Yes, I’m almost sure the main reason I liked this book was the setting, since it’s the only thing I remember about it. (I really need to reread this.)

For A Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig – Dragons! I love reading about dragons and I love seeing them on book covers. Also, that color scheme. The brightness. This cover must be so beautiful to see in real life. (Maybe I will? I’m reading it right now and really liking it, maybe I’ll like it enough to buy a physical copy too?)


Floating Girls

Atmosphere and weirdness. Those are two things I always look for in books – and in covers, too. Floating girls may be a bit of a cliché and I don’t love all covers with them [I really don’t like the Mara Dyer ones] but when the cover gets it right, I can’t look away.

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant – this is the vaguest and also most creepy of these covers. It shows a girl – probably dead, since all that red is not her hair as one might think at first – floating in the darkness, and the way the title is written makes you think of water. I love this cover, it looks dark and violent like the book’s content without looking like a scene out of a splatter movie.

The Sin-Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury – I tried (and then read) this book just because I love the cover that much. It’s about a girl who can poison people with her touch, and the cover represents both the poison part and Twylla’s feelings (she feels very alone and trapped). I love it conceptually and I love it because it looks pretty.

The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé – this book is a underhyped f/f YA new release I probably wouldn’t have noticed at all if it hadn’t been for the cover. Now it’s one of my favorite books of 2018, and I’m so glad the cover was pretty enough for me to remember it. The deep blue under the ice, the creepy atmosphere, the floating girl – it’s a mysterious cover I really like and it made me want to read the book.


Title on Flat, Dark Background

I love when the cover is just (or almost just) the title on a dark background, especially if said dark background is the night sky and there is a skyline. It looks mysterious and “mysterious” always makes me want to read the book.

A Room Away From the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma – this is purple and I love purple, but what I like the most about this cover is the skyline, the moon and the stars. It’s the perfect cover for a creepy, atmospheric book set in New York I probably wouldn’t even have read if I hadn’t loved the cover.

Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke – this is really intriguing and symbolic and tells you nothing about the book, but that’s why I love it. I read the book just because of it, so I guess it’s a good one.

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter – this cover is even prettier in real life. I know because I own a hardcover copy, this is one of my favorite books of all time. Like in A Room Away From the Wolves, there’s a skyline, but this time there’s also the silhouette of the Brooklyn Bridge and one of the most important symbols in the novel, the swan. It’s simple and mysterious and I love the color scheme.


Just Be Weird!

Up until this part, I talked about covers I find pretty. But beauty isn’t the only way a cover can catch my attention: here are some cover that intrigued me because of how weird they looked.

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee – if this cover hadn’t looked like a very weird space urchin, I doubt I would ever have found, noticed and read my all-time favorite book. [Which makes me wonder how many great books am I missing just because their cover was unremarkable]. As I said before, I love everything that has to do with marine animals, and this space station looks like an Arbacia lixula in space. The ones whose spines regularly end up in my toes every summer. I hate them and I love them and I had to read the space urchin book. There are no urchins inside, but I’m fine with it.

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer – this book is about a very colorful and weird biopunk apocalypse. I would never have dreamed of picking up if it hadn’t been for the very weird cover. Is that a plant? An animal? An alien? I don’t know, but it’s Borne and it makes sense for the book. It helps that part of the creature looks like the feeding tentacles of the fanworm Sabella spallanzanii.

Vita Nostra by Marina & Sergey Dyachenko – I requested this on edelweiss just because the cover looked really beautiful and weird. I have no idea what that illustration means, if it means something, but I find it intriguing and I probably wouldn’t even have noticed this novel if it hadn’t been for it.


What characteristics do you like in covers? What are your favorite ones?

Discussion

Judging Before Reading: Covers I Don’t Like

Today I’m starting a new series of posts, “Judging Before Reading”, in which I explain what makes me add a book to my TBR. In these posts I’ll talk about covers I like and don’t like, what are my buzzwords, and what will probably make me decide I don’t even want to give a chance to a certain book.

This is a post about covers I don’t like.


On Judging Books By Their Covers

I tend to do that. I think we all judge books by their cover to a degree, but I’m aware that I’m far more likely to add a book if I like the cover. However, if the premise sounds really interesting and/or I like the author, the cover won’t matter – I’m shallow, yes, but not that much.

Here are some cover trends and mistakes I’d love to never see again, anyway.


Crowns

I get it, you’re a generic YA high fantasy book. But shouldn’t the cover try to convince me otherwise?
Red Queen is the only YA book who got this right, but after it became popular,  “a fake-looking crown on a boring background” was suddenly a trend – a really boring one. Ash Princess tries at least to make the crown look interesting, but this cover still looks very generic to me. Four Dead Queens tries to bring something new with the position of the crowns, but the illustration isn’t good enough to avoid the “deformed crustaceans” look. And lastly, Three Dark Crowns is undeniably one of the most boring covers in the YA age range. (But it can get worse! Just look at how ugly One Dark Throne is.)

The thing about crown covers is that they make me think the book is a high fantasy I’ve already read too many times, with a bland m/f romance, a vague dystopian feel because there always needs to be a rebellion, and an even vaguer worldbuilding. I know I’m less likely to add a book if there’s a crown on the cover.


Tacky Round Things

This is so Divergent-era dystopian. I’d love if YA grew out of it the way it grew out of its fake dystopian romance phase four years ago. This theme isn’t as generic-looking as the crown on a dull background, but I can’t say it is much better. Seafire isn’t ugly, but I think it could have taken the compass rose theme in a much more interesting direction. Defy the Stars looks boring but has a nice color scheme, and The Last Magician is saved only by the fact that there are snake skeletons and you can’t go too wrong with snake skeletons (it almost manages to be boring anyway, though).

Unlike crowns, this kind of covers isn’t limited to a specific genre (Seafire is pirate fantasy, Defy the Stars is a romance in space, The Last Magician is a time travel story) but to me it looks dull and overused. It carries that “YA book you’ve already read before” feeling, and I know I’m less likely to add a book with this kind of cover to my TBR.


Did You Mean It or Was It A Mistake

This is a vague title, but sometimes I see a cover and wonder whether that was the intended effect. Like, I’m pretty sure the US cover of The Kingdom of Copper wasn’t meant to look like someone was just abducted by aliens, but because of the unfortunate placement of the dome and the light, it does. The Belles is a great idea ruined by the fact that the cover model is out of focus in her own cover (why?! The cover of The Everlasting Rose, however, doesn’t have this problem and it’s gorgeous). And Not Even Bones is a remarkable example of boring. Look at the most fake-looking blood drops ever. Look at the empty space and tell me if that’s not wasted potential. It looks so sad.

Covers with a good concept and a mediocre or terrible execution don’t make me less likely to add the book (I loved The City of Brass and of course I’m not going to miss the sequel because of the alien abduction), they just make me sad. They could have been so much better, and to this day I kind of want to remove Not Even Bones even though I know I’ll probably love what’s on the inside.


I’m Trying to Be Throne of Glass

I didn’t like Throne of Glass. So…
I actually don’t think Ship of Smoke and Steel is a terrible cover – it looks interesting, and the ghost-like appearance of the girl makes more sense here than it does in Throne of Glass, because this story involves ghosts – but, like the new Flamecaster cover, it looks very generic. “I have long swords and a wonderful tight gap” generic.
The new cover of The Winner’s Crime is also trying to be Throne of Glass, but in another way. Instead of copying the cover of the first book, it’s a shameless copycat of The Assassin’s Blade. The old covers were better.

It’s kind of like using Throne of Glass as a comp title. I’m going to hope it’s misleading marketing and read the book anyway if I find it interesting, but I can’t say it’s encouraging.


Faceless Bodies

People on covers aren’t necessarily a negative thing for me – there are some covers that get it right, like the aforementioned The Everlasting Rose – but faceless bodies are always ugly. It’s mostly a romance problem, but sometimes I also find SFF books like that. Palimpsest is an example of an off-putting book I would never have bought if it hadn’t been written by one of my favorite authors; Syncopation is remarkably ugly even for a romance book, and Chord is… an armpit. Why did that happen, I don’t get it.
I’d read a lot more romance if it covers weren’t so often either half-naked faceless people or models almost kissing.

Even if these books end up being favorites, I won’t buy a physical copy, because I don’t need or want ugly half-naked people or armpits on my shelves.


What are some book cover trends you don’t like? What do you think of these? Have you ever read a really good book that didn’t deserve the (not really good) cover?

 

Tag

Dreamy Book Covers Tag

This tag was created by Tiana @ The Book Raven; I was tagged by silvia @silviareadsbooks (thank you!)

I have a weakness for pretty covers. While I almost never buy a book just because of the cover – I almost always read an excerpt – I know I’m less likely to pick it up or try an excerpt if the cover is ugly.
(That’s part of the reason I rarely reach for adult romance. That genre’s covers are usually hideous. Is there anyone who actually likes the ambiguously tanned naked male chests that are barely distinguishable from book to book? Or those of models who usually don’t look like the main characters but are almost kissing?)
So, yes, covers are important and today I’m going to talk about some of my favorites.


The Rules

  1. Thank the lovely person who tagged you, spread the love!
  2. Mention Tiana @ The Book Raven as the creator of this book tag!
  3. Use the original tag image in your post. (However, feel free to add whatever other graphics your heart desires!)
  4. At least tag 1 fellow blogger for this tag.
  5. List the rules

“No Ideas But in Things” A book cover that perfectly expresses the novel inside it

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Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng. Just look at that Gothic Fae aesthetic. There are so many details that there’s half of the book on that cover, it gets the tone perfectly. I love it so much. Why don’t we get more illustrated covers? I can’t think of any YA book that is as detailed as this one (which is adult fantasy) and I don’t know why publishers are so obsessed with crowns floating on a boring background on fantasy books. At least that helps me find the generic, boring ones easily?
[Illustration by John Coulthart]

“Dark and Lovely” A book cover that is so creepalicious you just want to eat it up

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I could answer Under the Pendulum Sun again – there are many creepy details, as the book itself is – but I’m going to choose a book I just finished reading, and one of my new favorite books ever: The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé. I can say that this cover represents the kind of creepy this book is perfectly – it’s about emptiness and loneliness and not being able to control what you do, not about gore or scary creatures. Part of the reason I picked it up was the cover, so I think it’s a good one and I love how it gets the mood of the book. Also, it’s f/f horror!
[Cover Design by Elsie Lyons; Cover image by Aliza Razell/Arcangel]

“Sugary Sweet” A cute cover that is so fluffy you want to give it a hug

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Style by Chelsea M. Cameron, both cover and back cover. This is probably the fluffiest book I’ve ever read, it’s basically pure fluff, and I didn’t mind that at all. Just look at the girls! They’re so cute and happy together!
Anyway this is one of the cutest f/f romances and it has almost no homophobia in it and if that’s what you’re looking for, try it.
[Cover by KassiJean]

“The Simple Aesthetic” A book cover that stuns with the most minimalistic of design

I tend not to like very minimalist covers, but here are two I love that I think qualify. Radiance by Catherinne M. Valente, with the planets and the gears and the camera, is mysterious enough that I don’t mind that the cover doesn’t make you understand this is a “decopunk pulp SF alt-history space opera mystery set in a Hollywood—and solar system—very different from our own”. To be fair, I don’t think you can convey that with a book cover.
[Cover art and design by Will Staehle]

The Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz is also very mysterious – if your minimalist covers don’t have an element of mystery, they’re boring – because I had no idea of what that weird flamingo/palm leaves pattern even meant. Now that I’ve read the book, I get it and I love it.
[Cover art design by Michelle Taormina]

“Cover Envy” A book cover you wish you had on your shelves, but don’t yet

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The Girl King by Mimi Yu. That’s what I meant when I said I wanted more illustrated covers in YA, just look how pretty this is. If I can’t get something with too many details like Under the Pendulum Sun, this is what I want.
The Girl King is one of my most anticipated releases for next year and I hope it’s so good that I’ll want to buy a physical copy, because I really want to own something this pretty.
[illustration by Tommy Arnold]

“Traveling Abroad” A beautiful book cover featuring a country outside of your own

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Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter. That’s the Brooklyn Bridge, as this creepy retelling of Vasilisa the Beautiful is set in a surreal, paranormal Brooklyn where the nights get longer and longer and Baba Yaga Stores (BY’s) walk around on chicken legs. I love symbolic, mysterious covers like this one, and both the font and the color scheme are wonderful.
[I couldn’t find who designed the cover; I know the author drew the illustrations inside but I don’t know if she designed the cover herself]

“The Color Wheel” A cover that showcases one of your favorite colors

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The Red Threads of Fortune by JY Yang. Red! Also, this cover gets the “chase a giant Naga through the desert while riding a giant phoenix-dinosaur” thing right.
[Cover illustration by Yuko Shimizu, cover design by Christine Foltzer]

“Switching Gears” A cover change you absolutely adore

I don’t know? I usually don’t care about them, but I can’t think of any recent cover changes I liked. I can say that I liked the first Labyrinth Lost cover, loved the second one, and really don’t like the third one, but I love how that design looks in Bruja Born, which is my favorite cover of the four.

“Oldie but Goodie” A favorite cover of your favorite classic

I haven’t read one, not in the last four years, so I don’t know.

“And the Winner is…” Which book cover meantioned above is your favorite?

Only by looking at these I’d say The Girl King, but since I own Vassa in the Night, I choose that one – I like this image of Vassa‘s cover, but it doesn’t do the physical copy justice. It’s one of the most beautiful books I own, both inside and outside.


Tagging:

[don’t feel obligated to do it!]


Do you like illustrated covers? Which trends would you like to see/disappear in YA covers?