The Cover Wars


Wherein we judge books by their covers and attempt to explain our judgements. It can be harsh, it can be funny, but it’s always fun. Join us in the comments or on twitter!


Janet: I am sorry to be dense, but I’m not quite sure what I’m looking at here. It doesn’t grab me, partly for that reason, and partly because I like fonts to be more easily readable.

Steph: I don’t want to open the can of worms that is “who can tell who’s story,” but this cover strikes me as just… kinda stereotypical? I can see it’s beauty, I love the blueprint background and the striking red against it – but then, the font – what are they doing? Are they trying to make it Chinese script-y but in English? And the dragon, of course. Then there is the girl, we only get her face (erk, major pet peeve) and she is pale, beautiful, serene (perhaps the embodiment of the walled city? >.>;) I dunno. This cover rubs me the wrong way.

Nafiza: Hmmmm. I didn’t even notice the girl on the cover. I don’t know. The synopsis is appealing and the cover is not terrible so I will read a few chapters to see if it reels me in. I don’t particularly hate the cover though I don’t love it either. I think whether I read this book depends more on the synopsis than on anything else, honestly.


Janet: Oh NO the cord is going to snap and bad things are going to happen! Okay, colour scheme, use of texture, interesting knot, neatly laid out, I’d look at the back to find out more.

Steph: Ok, this is a Romance and the cover is very true to the genre with the string and font and the title made up of expressive words. I have seen some buzz about this book on Twitter, and there is a general “like” for the cover art on this one. I like the tension created by the snapping twine (?) and I like the colours. I like the font – though I can really tell on this cover that it is a different font from the author’s name, not sure why they did that… The cover fulfils it’s duty, but the genre is just not my style, still, as with any book if it gets a good review, I’d give it go! We can’t be exclusive! ^_^

Nafiza: It’s on my list, Steph, but I didn’t realize it was romance. Oh nooo – just kidding. I’ve been craving something with a good romance so maybe this will be it? I don’t much like the cover though. The composition doesn’t work for me. And the different fonts takes away further from the cover (in my opinion). Still, the title is interesting and I will check it out just for that.


Janet: Well this is ominous. I’m not drawn particularly by the cover, as there is are many details and I can’t clearly see any one element in full (circle of leaves is blurry, branches are encircling, eerie greenish long feather quill, sunset behind pale background trees – there’s a lot going on, and the only thing fully in focus is the text). What does catch me is the title and the tagline. I have to know more, so I’d turn it over to look at the back.

Steph: Hahaha, “only the loyal survive” how much more dramatic can you get? I mean the tag line plus the cover – which is a mishmash of tropes that I am not particularly fond of. Purple skies, red rose petals, feathers as items, reflections, fire, thorns, thickets and nasty underbrush. What exactly is going on on this cover? There is too much and it’s mostly over-the-top. So, I giggle, and then I walk away.

Nafiza: This cover has too much going on in it. I wish they had decided on one element and focused on it instead of going crazy. If they had just focused on the branches, or just the leaves or even just the feather. The colour too is a bit overwhelming. Still, Atwater-Rhodes has written some really interesting books – her style is I like to say sort of wispy. Yeah. Plus, witches. One of my buzz words. Hah.


Janet: I do not like that foreboding veiled figure. The boathooks held in that way suggest gory violence, which is also not my thing. On the other hand, the shades of blue against the golden writing and compass are simply elegant, and I do like the contrast between locomotive and sailing ship. The title also intrigues, so to the back cover I would turn.

Steph: This is more my speed. We have steampunk – which I’m worried I’m going to tire of soon as there seems to be an influx of this particular setting of late – I like the intrigue of train and the ship. I love the font on Mapmakers – it really catches my attention and has me curious about how mapmaking is going to be involved in this mystery adventure on the high seas and aboard rushing trains. I like the colours, the elegant gold font and compass against the sky and sea blue are very appealing. While the menacing silhouettes make it look a little cheesy, overall it’s a thumbs up. I’d read the back.

Nafiza: I quite like this cover. It is super gorgeous in real life too. I gazed at it longingly in Kids Books the other day and the synopsis is out of the world. Sooo I’m going to read it.


Janet: A silhouette. Well, at least it is in white for a change. The paper heart doesn’t have that lovely tangible, tactile quality to it that the cord did a few covers up, so the effect falls a bit flat. I would be more interested if these (presumably paper cut-out) snowflakes were a more central feature. A close-up of an actual paper snowflake might continue the theme of the title. The title stirs a flicker of curiosity, which the cover does not.

Steph: Maybe? I like the red and white colour scheme. I’m tired of the silhouette of the pretty white girl – where are our POCs? POCs can do magic too, ok? I can see that there will be romance as a major plotline in this book though that’s not a total turn off, I quite liked Morgenstern’s Night Circus and the way that magic was portrayed in that text. I really like the title, it is intriguing – so I would read the back. But I think this is probably more a Nafiza book, so I might wait for her review on it.

Nafiza: So the cover does not appeal to me too much but the synopsis is so awesome, the book made my to-read list. I think this may be coming from a smaller press so not as much money set aside for covers. However, as I said, the premise is superb and I shall indeed read it and let you know, Steph.

One response to “The Cover Wars

  1. I love this! I enjoyed reading you’re opinions and comparing them with my own.
    Neither of the first two would interest me. But while I wouldn’t give a second glance to the first, I like the dark purple of the second
    I like the cover of Bloodwitch however, though it sounds a little too dark for me. I like the colors; it just looks very intriguing to me. The only negative thing I have to say about it is that it reminds me a bit of Divergent.
    ‘The Glass Sentence’ looks appealing to me. I like the way the colors look together, and the overall feel of the image.
    Paper magician doesn’t look like it would be to my taste, but the cover is simple yet attractive.

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