The Cover Wars!
Where we judge books by their cover.
Janet: Hm. What animal are those supposed to be? There’s something vulpine about the whiskers. But foxes don’t travel in packs. Also, the literal definition of “dork”… I’m moore mildly bemused than curious about this cover, although the origami is neat.
Steph: I’m going with wolf. I think they are supposed to be a pack of wolves, but they are dorky. Please tell me this book is about super dorky werewolves – haha, break the stereotype! Go dorky! I want a bunch of Stiles werewolves! Is this what we’re getting? I’m totally reading the back because my imagination has soo been carried away by this cover.
Nafiza: I like the play on the words. Wolves, dorks. The cover is a little sparse and I am not sure it works completely for me but I’d read the back to check out what it was all about. I don’t think they’ll be nerdy werewolves but I do know that there will be some story of friendship in a group of dorks.
Yash: Steph has raised the bar for what I expect from this book. If it isn’t an adorkable wolf-y, teen-y kind of story I will be most distressed. Okay. Fine. That’s a bit of an exaggeration. I may be midly confused at worst. At best, I will love it. I already love the cover. I’m a sucker for origami covers, I think. Also, the title is fun. I’m in.
Janet: Nice shadow play! The characters look tiny in contrast to their shadows, lots of room for interpretation and emphasis of the text’s themes (assuming that the book explores the meaning and significance of myth/convictions as a mode for interpreting/ordering reality, etc.). My second thought is that that is a very unsafe way to carry a bow, with the arrow loaded and (possibly) pointing at the person ahead of you. Although the arrow isn’t actually nocked yet, which means that she (assuming from the hair that the archer is a she) is in the act of loading her bow, which implies an imminent threat which the other two (dog and boy) don’t appear to be aware of. I’d read the back. Also, neat medium.
Steph: Oooh, I really like this one! I like it because of the art, the way that the shadows look like cave paintings and I adore the play with light and dark. Oh, and the outdoor setting/landscape looks just awesome. I’m a little turned off by yet another female archer but, I’ll live if the story is good. With a cover like this, I will read the back. It’s very nicely executed, and it tells me enough about the story without telling me too much or too little.
Nafiza: I don’t know which cover god Barnhill pleased but she wins with the covers for all her covers. Her past book had a pretty cover as well. I like the different textures in this one and I like the suggestion that they seem more than they are. Or since the shadows are larger than the reality, I might read it as their insides being capable of more, being mightier than the kids and animal give themselves credit for. Either ways, I’d read this one.
Yash: This is perfect. I often say, after I carefully scrutinize the cover, that I would “pick it up” and “read the back” … and yes if I (realistically speaking) spent a few moments in front of every book and weighed the good parts of the cover versus the bad parts, I am sure I would pick up a lot of books to see what the deal is. It’s just that I know I don’t spend that much time considering covers. Unfortunately, it’s a snap judgement. And covers like this? They tell me enough within seconds, so when I say I’ll read the back, I’m probably already doing so.
Janet: Dead-looking family with central character teenage girl with attitude. Not terribly interested.
Janet: But Gregory Maguire’s books are frustratingly not resolved! Hm. And yet I like this cover. The layering of colour and egg-shape suggest psanky eggs, and that plus the golden bird and Baba Yaga’s house suggests Russian folklore. The colours, cut-out style, and the contained egg-world framed by an unrelieved black background gives the cover unity and originality that appeals to me quite a bit.
Steph: Haha, I really like this cover! I too often find Gregory Maguire’s stories frustrating (and, if they are for adults, just a tad on the long side) BUT that’s not to say that he isn’t a good writer – indeed, I do enjoy how he plays on reworking old stories in entirely creative, political and hilarious ways. BUT! To the cover, I love the layering, the way that the storyline is almost laid out in map format on this front cover is just charming – and yet it doesn’t reveal too much! I just know where the adventure will take them – perhaps the Egg is going to rescue the Spoon from the Cat, which is awesome, and this is the path he must take. I like, and I’d read the back.
Nafiza: This cover makes me feel claustrophobic. I feel like ripping apart that window and seeing the view in its entirety. That’s all I can say really. I am only able to focus on the black space. Aaahhh.
Yash: I am not actually familiar with Gregory Maguire’s work. But that doesn’t stop me from judging his covers and … I like this one. I like the oval shape of the portal-like window that could double for either object in the title- an egg or a spoon. Or both. I love trains and the cover has that, so, check. I love the paper craft illustrations, the Russian looking architecture, and the phoenix-like bird. And the colours are perfect. I’m in. Maybe this will be the first Gregory Maguire book I read.
Janet: Okay, the shadow cast by a body that isn’t there and grounded by the shoes – pretty neat. The title I would pass on. I have yet to read a novel featuring angels that was worth the time it took to read, and novels with (figurative) angels in the title tend to have nothing to do with angels, which begs the question of why the word is in the title in the first place. This sets my back up against anything of the sort, but because of the shoes, I might read the back. If I’m in a good mood when I see it.
Steph: hmmm I dunno about this one. We are delving a little bit too far into the reality, romance-y angels thing that I’m not a huge fan of. However, again, to stick to the cover critique – it’s not bad. I do like the effect of the shoes on the ice and the shadow (ok, ok, it’s a silhouette) that seems to either be resting atop the ice or standing up underneath it, or is it – well, whatever, cool effect. I like the simple red font that looks a little like blood on snow, it’s very appealing to my blood-lusty horror side. Yet again, then, despite the good cover, I might not pick this one up.
Nafiza: I don’t much care for the title either but I find the reflection really compelling. I’m expecting this to be a tearjerker, broken angels and all. I love the splash of colour made by the shoes and I wish they had let the shoes be the only colour on the cover. Still, I’d check out the back of this.
Yash: You know what annoys me. I would have picked this up if they hadn’t made the completely wrong call of adding a dramatic silhouette/reflection type thing. The drab background, the red shoes, and the title would have been enough. Near perfect, even. Still, I would read the back. I may pick it up if it has to do with bullying or some kind of disability, since I don’t come across those kinds of books often enough.
Janet: All these (?) Victorian women on the cover, and they have expressions! Also, a corpse. Also, tea and poison. I like it. But what really catches my attention is the one-word description of each woman at the very bottom of the cover. These words are so succinct and so obviously personal that I want to know whose perspective they pick up – if, for example, they reflect the views of the woman who, the bodily positions imply, is to be our protagonist or focal character, if the book has one. This cover looks like the beginning of a series, and if so, I would be very delighted if each book in the series was focalized through a different one of the sisterhood, and if the subtext descriptions of each woman changed with each cover to reflect the views of the protagonist – and, if the series is long enough, by the time each woman is protagonist for a second time, the words could change yet again (or not all, but some) to reflect their changing relationships. Oh, the potential! If the first few pages measure up, I’d read it in a shot.
Steph: Murder most foul! Poison! Tea! Whodunit? Which Victorian lady did which Victorian lady in? Is it going to be steampunky? To tell you the truth, I’m not the hugest fan of each of the girls’ expressions, they are just a little too caricature-y to me – however I love the art on the rest of it. I really get the murder mystery feel, the dullness of the brown – signalling everyday life – and the bluntness of it all. It’s really nice. I am curious about this, and the cover does a nice job to peak that curiosity, I’d read the back.
Nafiza: If I remember correctly, this is about a boarding school where the headmistress dies and the girls don’t alert the authorities. Instead, they make their own nefarious plans to take full advantage of their unexpected freedom. The cover is just the icing on the cake. I’m going to read this one.
Yash: See, I like Nafiza’s summary a whole lot more than I like the cover. And if I am honest, I actually liked the cover quite a bit. The girls’ un-lady-like expressions, the dead woman on the floor, the alliterative title- everything is enticing. What would have worked brilliantly is a tagline or some kind of hint that the girls are going to defy people’s boring expectations of them. Instead, they are reduced to caricatures with the words below that are (presumably) meant to represent each of the girls respectively. A bit disappointing. But, if Nafiza likes this one, I’ll give it a go!