The Cover Wars

Covers Wars Final

A meme started by yours truly. We look at the cover, we read the back copy and we tell you our first impressions. :)

The-Mechanical-Mind-of-John-Coggin-Elinor-Teele

John Coggin is no ordinary boy. He is devising an invention that nobody has ever seen before, something that just might change the world, or at least make life a little bit better for him and his litter sister, Page. But that’s only when he can sneak a break from his loathsome job: building coffins for the family business under the beady gaze of his cruel great-aunt Beauregard. Having lost their parents when Page was a baby, how else are they supposed to survive?

Perhaps by taking an enormous risk—a risk that arrives in the form of a red-haired scamp named Boz. When Great-Aunt Beauregard informs John that she’s going to make him a permanent partner in Coggin Family Coffins—and train Page to be an undertaker—John and Page sign on with Boz and hit the road. Before long, they’ve fallen in with a host of colorful characters, all of whom, like John and Page, are in search of a place they can call home. But home, they realize, isn’t something you find so much as something you fight for, and John soon realizes that he and Page are in for the fight of their lives.

Janet: The back doesn’t particularly appeal and cover does nothing for me, except for the chickens. The chickens are neat.

Yash: I like the art style, but the actual image and the synopsis doesn’t really interest me? Well, that’s a lie. The cover does look fun and funny–those chickens, that beat up car-like contraption, those strange angular houses–but the synopsis doesn’t really surprise and delight the way the cover does. It’s going to be a pass for me, unfortunately.

Steph: Wow, that’s three for three. I too am uninterested in this one. The art is very reminiscent of the updated Jacob Two-Two which is meh for me, and the back copy is just very scattered and can’t seem to decide if it’s telling the whole story, talking to the reader or book-talking.

Nafiza: Hmm. I like the cover art. As the others say, it’s rather unexpected and surprising. As for the synopsis, hmm. I’m not sure. It sounds like it could be interesting. The story itself isn’t anything new but I am curious about Boz. Sign on with Boz to do what? Or is that just a turn of phrase. Why isn’t Boz pictured on the cover? He seems to be a central character so why not? I’d read some reviews before I give this one a chance but I am interested.

The-Secret-of-Dreadwillow-Carse-Brian-Farrey

In the center of the verdant Monarchy lies Dreadwillow Carse, a black and desolate bog that the happy people of the land do their best to ignore. Little is known about it, except for one dire warning: If any monarch enters Dreadwillow Carse, then the Monarchy will fall. Twelve-year-old Princess Jeniah yearns to know what the marsh could possibly conceal that might topple her family’s thousand-year reign of peace and prosperity.

Meanwhile, in the nearby town of Emberfell, where everyone lives with unending joy, a girl named Aon hides a sorrow she can never reveal. She knows that something in the carse–something that sings a haunting tune only Aon can hear–holds the cure for her sadness. Yet no matter how many times she tries to enter, the terror-inducing dreadwillow trees keep her away.

After a chance meeting, Princess Jeniah and Aon hatch a plan to send Aon into the heart of the carse to unlock its darkest secret. But when Aon doesn’t return, a guilt-stricken Jeniah must enter the carse to try and rescue her friend–even if it means risking the entire Monarchy.

Janet: The cover is very two-dimensional, almost in an old-Disney kind of way. But I do like the two girls, and the two different representations of femininity, and that the one foregrounded is the WOC. Also, okay, I like mysterious landscapes. The back copy is complex in characterization (guilt! friendship across class barriers! a prophecy not about a Chosen One!). I will keep an eye out for this.

Yash: I love this for all the reasons that Janet mentioned–the two girls, their complicated friendship, and the prophecy that isn’t really about a saviour or chosen one. I also like the cover. I love that we get to see a girl of colour in a position of power and it shows in her wardrobe and she isn’t a silhouette or headless, instead she’s holding a lamp that only illuminated her face further. I’m also very intrigued by the figures lurking by the tree. It all works together very nicely. Definitely putting this on my TBR.

Steph: I loled. The first line–no monarch can go in! Second line: the young princess wants to go in and topple all the happiness. I feel like I’m going to be constantly annoyed with our protagonist. Not that all protagonists should do what they are told (and I’m sure it’ll work out for our girl) it’s just that . . . come on! It’s too much of a plot ploy, a build up, a device. I’m out. (The cover is alright, though I thought it was a typo (carse? curse?). It has redeeming qualities, as my fellow book warriors have listed, but I’m steering clear unless urged by good reviews and recs.

Nafiza: So apparently carse is Scottish for low fertile land usually along a river. How interesting. Anyway, I like the cover for all the reasons Yash and Janet mentioned and also because of how creepy the trees look with their hand-shaped branches. Eep. But I am a bit wary about how happy everyone is. The ‘never ending joy’ especially trips me up. Why is everyone so happy? Still, I’m curious enough about the book to give it a chance so chance I shall give it.

The-Seventh-Wish-Kate-Messner

Charlie feels like she’s always coming in last. From her Mom’s new job to her sister’s life at college, everything seems more important than Charlie. Then one day while ice fishing, Charlie makes a discovery that will change everything . . . in the form of a floppy fish offering to grant a wish in exchange for freedom. Charlie can’t believe her luck but soon realizes that this fish has a very odd way of granting wishes as even her best intentions go awry. But when her family faces a challenge bigger than any they’ve ever experienced, Charlie wonders if some things might be too important to risk on a wish fish.

Janet: The colourful, almost crayon-drawn style of the cover art is reassuring and interesting. The jewel for an eye is creepy, but overall, the cover would make me flip to the back, were I in the library with a physical copy of this book. The synopsis draws clear lines between the fairy tale and this novel, without giving too much away or making the characters seem fated. I’d read the first few sentences for more.

Yash: Yeah, this one isn’t for me. There’s nothing really wrong with it, it’s just not what I feel like right this moment, you know? It happens. BUT! Fish granting wishes reminds me of Yeh-Shen, but I like that this fish grants wishes in unexpected ways. Maybe this will be a Someday kind of book for me.

Steph: I think the cover is a little dull for me, the jewel eye is interesting but I’d have to look at the cover, not just scan it. The back copy does have my interest piqued though–I too like the idea of a wish-fish and I always love it when characters have to “be careful what they wish for” literally :) This one’s a maybe.

Nafiza: That cover is almost blinding so I don’t care too much for it. The synopsis, however, is intriguing and the phrase ‘wish fish?’ Yeah. Gold. I’d wait for reviews for this one, of course.

The-Wild-Robot-Peter-Brown

When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island. Why is she there? Where did she come from? And, most important, how will she survive in her harsh surroundings? Roz’s only hope is to learn from the island’s hostile animal inhabitants. When she tries to care for an orphaned gosling, the other animals finally decide to help, and the island starts to feel like home. Until one day, the robot’s mysterious past comes back to haunt her….

Janet: I don’t care much for robots, usually. It is interesting that this one is female. This doesn’t appeal enough for me to pick it up, but this looks like a Steph kind of book – robots and survival stories and mysteries – and I would be interested in hearing Steph’s review.

Yash: Yeah, I mean, I like that the style kind of reminds me of Jon Klassen’s stuff, but! Like Janet, I’m not one for robot stories. (And I don’t actually get why robots have to be gendered?) Though, this synopsis kind of reminds me of Bernard Beckett’s Genesis which I absolutely loved, so maybe if Steph gives this a thumbs up I may check it out. May.

Steph: I’m reading this right now. I saw it at the bookstore and immediately bought it–you know how long it’s been since I bought a brand new hard cover just for me? FOREVER! That’s gotta say something about this fabulous art :) Review pending. (p.s. It’s ADORBS!)

Nafiza: I think it is Jon Klassen. I want to read this one because I am curious about Roz and why Roz is a she and not an it. I like the cover too–well, I like all of Klassen’s works. I don’t know. We’ll see what Steph says.

Tom-Thom-K.-M.-Ferebee

Young Tom has always dreamed of wolves, which everyone knows don’t exist. One day he goes out for a log from the woodpile, and when he returns, there is another Tom, like him, but other. Tom, Thom, this dark and compelling tale from short fiction writer K. M. Ferebee will make you reconsider what may be lurking in the forest.

Janet: The cover is foreboding and nicely horror without crossing into the ridiculous. Nice use of shading and whist space. That is not what wolves look like, of course. The synopsis is suitably short – this is a short story, after all – but atmospheric. But horror and I do not get along. I’ll wait for reviews.

Yash: Oooh, this is giving me major WTNV vibes! The mountains wolves that don’t exist and the double that just appears. Yep, yep. And that sketchy b/w style is just *heart eyes emoji* so perfect and suits the synopsis so well and I love it. I need this in my life. Like, now, please.

Steph: Yes please! This sounds fabulously moody and eerie and uncanny and I want it :) Look at that art! It’s gorgeous. Also, I love winter and winter stories. Fill me with chill!

Nafiza: Yes, okay. Give this to me. Now please.

Tremontaine-Ellen-Kushner-Alaya-Dawn-Johnson-Malinda-Lo-Joel-Derfner-Racheline-Maltese-Patty-Bryant

In a city that never was, sex, scandal, and swordplay combine in a melodrama of manners that returns readers to the beloved world of Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint! A Duchess whose beauty is matched only by her cunning; a passionate young Scholar with dreams beyond his reach; a Foreign spy in a playground of swordplay and secrets; and a Genius on the brink of scientific revolution—when long-buried lies threaten to come to light, the stakes are high, and more than lives may be lost. Mind your manners and enjoy the chocolate in a dance of sparkling wit and political intrigue.

Tremontaine is an episodic serial presented by Serial Box Publishing. This collected omnibus edition gathers all 16 episodes from Season 1.

Janet: I like the delicacy and precision of this cover, and would like it more if the background shade were less dull. I’ve heard good things about this series, but also that it has a lot (a lot a lot a lot) of sex. I’ll pass. Which is a shame, because 1. look at the author lineup! and 2. look at the topics! Revolution, history, social change, politics and manners… *sighs longingly*

Yash: I already said I’d get on this once I read Swordspoint so, um, yeah, I don’t even care what it looks like. (Though I super-appreciate that it is a pretty cover.)

Steph: The cover, to me, is very pretty but kind of just half a cover? I’m not sure what the focus is. I have never heard of the stories before though, and that could be impacting my impression. I await reviews.

Nafiza: I haven’t even heard of Swordpoint so I guess I will be doing some research and adding books to the pile. But then, what else is new?

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