The Cover Wars


Where we judge books based on their covers and also their back copy or blurbs. It’s a bit ruthless, but it is also very real. I mean, we all do it every time we go to the bookstore, don’t we? Join us in the comments or on twitter!


Sarah has always been on the move. Her mother hates the cold, so every few months her parents pack their bags and drag her off after the sun. She’s grown up lonely and longing for magic. She doesn’t know that it’s magic her parents are running from.

When Sarah’s mother walks out on their family, all the strange old magic they have tried to hide from comes rising into their mundane world. Her father begins to change into something wild and beastly, but before his transformation is complete, he takes Sarah to her grandparents—people she has never met, didn’t even know were still alive.

Deep in the forest, in a crumbling ruin of a castle, Sarah begins to untangle the layers of curses affecting her family bloodlines, until she discovers that the curse has carried over to her, too. The day she falls in love for the first time, Sarah will transform into a beast . . . unless she can figure out a way to break the curse forever.

Janet: I’m not crazy about the silhouettes – very one-dimensional. However, I do like the number of animals, birds, and other creatures that are packed into the cover. The blurb appeals. I could tell that it would play with “Beauty and the Beast” before I got to the third paragraph, but that’s okay. It still manages to interest.

Steph: I too could see the twist/retelling of Beauty and the Beast before the end of the blurb but agree that that’s alright – I mean, I want the story to be clear as well. I like the one dimensional silhouettes because they aren’t people. I quite enjoy the art – it’s like paper art and this image really evokes fairy tales for me. The blurb also sounds fantastic, I like that the family’s motivation for moving is clear (not too contrived I mean) and actual the basis for the whole story. I think I will read this if it crosses my path.

Nafiza: YES!!! I love this. I love everything about this cover. The synopsis has me excited and just yes.


Ben Fletcher must get to grips with his more ‘feminine’ side following an unfortunate incident with a lollipop lady and a stolen bottle of Martini Rosso from Waitrose. All a big misunderstanding of course. To avoid the Young Offenders unit, Ben is ordered to give something back to the community and develop his sense of social alignment. Take up a hobby and keep on the straight and narrow. The hot teacher he likes runs a knitting group so Ben, reluctantly at first, gets ‘stuck in’. Not easy when your dad is a sports fan and thinks Jeremy Clarkson is God. To his surprise, Ben finds that he likes knitting and that he has a mean competitive streak. If he can just keep it all a secret from his mates…and notice that the girl of his dreams, girl-next-door Megan Hooper has a bit of a thing for him…Laugh-out-loud, often ridiculous, sometimes quite touching, and revelatory about the knitting world, Boys Don’t Knit is a must for boys and girls…

Janet: The cover is busy and made of many fonts and textures. I’m not convinced that I will like Ben, but it is neat that someone has written about boys knitting. The boys in my school in grade 7 did knit, when knitting was popular for a while, anyway. I probably won’t pick this up, but it doesn’t look bad. Does anyone else wonder if the use of “T. S. Easton” is a reference to S. E. Hinton (The Outsiders)?

Steph: The cover is appealing, I like the mix of texture and font, I mean if you are going to use two different fonts just go all the way and try and make it eclectic. The subject matter is appealing, a boy knitting, but I don’t think that it will draw the male readers in unless it is hand sold to them – I mean, if boys don’t knit in public will they read a book that looks like that and says that on the cover in public? It’s appealing to girls, and women who knit. There is going to be a hint of romance, which just pushes the readership farther towards the female persuasion. I would probably read it and I’d like for it to be mostly full of funny situations and good humour, but I am wary that I won’t like Ben much or that I won’t find him believable. A total character turn around because of knitting? I’m holding my breath, but I hope I don’t turn blue.

Nafiza: I really like this cover. Like Stephie said, I like the textures and I love the different colours but it’s realistic fiction and I don’t know if it can convince my fantasy loving self to read it. *nudges Yash* What do you think? Maybe if Yash likes it, I’ll read it.


Rupert Venables is a Magid.

It’s a Magid’s job to oversee what goes on in the vast Multiverse. Actually, Rupert is really only a junior Magid. But he’s got a king-sized problem. Rupert’s territory includes Earth and the Empire of Korfyros. When his mentor dies Rupert must find a replacement. But there are hundreds of candidates. How is he supposed to choose? And interviewing each one could take forever.


What if he could round them all up in one place?


Janet: I love this book. This is not my favourite cover of it, but there sadly aren’t any that do the story justice, and this is far from the worst. There is almost nothing else to say except read it. Read it. Read it.

Steph: Haha Janet says read it, so I will. The cover is… like a photograph of space or something? Not super creative and it looks like it’s been made to be the adult version of the book, so meh. The copy on the back is appealing, I like how it doesn’t spell much out for us but the very basic premise and I’m hooked. I’m hooked because I’m really curious, because nothing is ever simple and because I know that Diana Wynne Jones delivers.

Nafiza: The symbolism is reallly strong in this cover. Step through the door and into a new world – yeah. But it’s Diana Wynne Jones and comes with a Janet-approval stamp so yeah. I’d read this.


Dragons have invaded Crumbling Castle, and all of King Arthur’s knights are either on holiday or visiting their grannies. It’s a disaster!

Luckily, there’s a spare suit of armour and a very small boy called Ralph who’s willing to fill it. Together with Fortnight the Friday knight and Fossfiddle the wizard, Ralph sets out to defeat the fearsome fire-breathers.

But there’s a teeny weeny surprise in store . . .

Fourteen fantastically funny stories from master storyteller Sir Terry Pratchett, full of time travel and tortoises, monsters and mayhem!

Janet: The cover is illustrated by Quentin Blake, isn’t it? Quentin Blake brings to mind Roald Dahl, and I like Terry Pratchett, especially his Tiffany Aching series (Discworld for younger readers). Plus dragons. When I find this I will snatch it up like it was a brownie freshly baked by Yash. :)

Steph: It’s totally Quenin Blake, and I think that’s a Sir Quentin Blake actually. Terry Pratchett, I’m a long time fan – but I can admit that there are some of his books that are fabulous, like brilliant and you must read, and some that.. just aren’t (and I have to go further and admit that the more recent ones have fallen in the latter category, but I mean the guy is suffering from early onset Alzhiemers and is like 68 or something, and his assistant takes dictation or something crazy like that). Anyway, I will of course read this. Based on the back copy we have left Discworld and entered a little island of fantastic Terry Pratchett imagination which I look forward to. It’s his world building that is really quite brilliant and so perhaps this book will be one of his last greats.

Nafiza: There is a dragon in a bath tub. A dragon in a bath tub. Of course I’m going to read this.


The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways.

As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?

Janet: Etching style, check. Nice shades of blue, check. Dragon, check. Medieval-style architecture, check. Island and water, check. Rachel Hartman, check. There is no way I am not reading this book. Rachel Hartman is fantastic! Also: we get to find out more about the mysterious, manipulative ityasaar Jannoula. I am psyched. When does this come out?

Steph: I have the audiobook of the first one in my computer right now! Which means, I’ll probably read this. The cover art is as beautiful as the first book and the back copy is distinctly fantasy (you know? With the fate and destiny talk, dragons and politics and adventure). I should wait until I’ve read the first, but I’ll probably read this too.

Nafiza: You guys know how much I loved the first one so it doesn’t matter what the sequel’s cover looked like, I’d have read it BUT I’m so glad the cover is beautiful. I hope it’s matte and not shiny like the new purple edition. But eh, either ways. March 2015 is a long time to wait for this book.

3 responses to “The Cover Wars

  1. I adored Seraphina, too, Nafiza. So, Shadow Scale was also a must read for me not matter what the cover looked like. I’m so glad it’s gorgeous.

    I also really like the paper cut out look of Beastkeeper, and the storyline appeals to me.

    As much as I love Diana Wynne Jones, the cover was confusing to me. At first glance I didn’t even realize it was a door; it seemed more like a picture frame. I think it took to long for me to figure out what it was saying. That said, I’m a sucker for pretty space pictures.

  2. Oops, got distracted by my SURPRISE SATURDAY POST! But about the Boys Don’t Knit (In Public) book. I like the cover loads and I am cautiously optimistic about how gender norms are treated in the book. Definitely willing to read that one!

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