Monday, July 30, 2012

Cover Crazy - Seraphina

Cover Crazy is a weekly meme hosted by The Book Worms on Mondays. The idea is to showcase a beautiful book cover each week.

This week, I'm crazy about...
Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman

It's no secret that I am a sucker for a great illustrated cover, but I especially love the illustration style on the cover of Rachel Hartman's new release, Seraphina. I haven't yet read Seraphina but I love this cover. There are so many aspects of this cover that draw me in and complement each other. The cover for Seraphina stands out and seems particularly unique among the ubiquitous girl-in-pretty-dress covers (several of which I have featured on past Cover Crazy posts, I admit). The design team for this book definitely knew how to reel in readers like me.

The Font
I love this font. I can't resist script-y fonts like this, and this one is particularly nice. It is easy to read but is stylized and specialized to get a point across. I especially like the style of the E and the way the S loops around the spire of the church, mirroring the action of the dragon's tail. Finally, the gold is eye-catching but it complements the illustration and the red border rather than distracting from them.

The Town
I am so happy the illustrator for this cover (whom I unfortunately do not know the name of) chose to include the town rather than just the castle in the back. From the gothic-style church to the clock tower to even the regular town buildings, this is an interesting place. I wish I could peek around some of the hidden corners or stroll down the cobblestone road. I am excited to visit this town in the pages of the book.

The Dragon
So, there's a dragon on the cover. Need I say more? I'll say more anyway. I love the way that this dragon is illustrated: how its wings catch the air, how you can see its scales and ridges, how its tail is wrapped around the church's spire. It doesn't seem immediately malevolent, but it certainly is up to something important. I want to find out what is going on, and why there is a dragon in this town.

The Quote
There really is no better person to quote for a dragon book than Christopher Paolini. This quote is certainly going to get many reluctant readers to pick this up. Excellent quote choice and placement.

What do you think of this cover? 
Do you agree or disagree with my analysis?

What are you crazy about this week?
Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Judge a Book by Its Cover - The Night Circus

In Judge a Book by Its Cover posts, I compare different covers for the same book, and judge which cover, in my opinion, best fits the book, either because it is the cover I'd be most likely to pick off the shelf or because it fits the style, mood, or plot of the book. I'd love to hear your opinions on these covers.

For this edition of Judge a Book by Its Cover, I will be judging the three different covers for The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. Note: Although I have labeled each cover with only one country, the first two covers are used in many different editions.

Cover No. 1
US Edition

Cover No. 2
UK Edition

Cover No. 3
Spanish Edition

Cover No. 1: I love this cover. Not only does it utilize the black, white, and red color scheme that plays a large part in the circus within the book, it captures the mystery and excitement surrounding the striped tents. I really like that the image is made of cut paper, and the idea that the entire circus is in the palm of someone's hand. I also really like that the clock features so prominently in the cover, although it is not exactly how the clock is described in the book, and also the stars covering the background, which I think is a reference to the story, although it might just be a coincidence.

Cover No. 2: This also plays on the black and white color scheme with a dash of red. However, this cover focuses more on Marco and Celia than the circus itself. I love the objects hidden in Celia's skirt, and the stars scattered around the cover, both in the background and in the title. I really like the fact that Marco and Celia are both on the cover, but you can't see their faces. As in the book, they are both hiding their faces. I think this cover would appeal more to female readers, whereas the US cover seems like it will appeal to both male and female readers.

Cover No. 3: This cover is very different from the other two. There are some aspects I really like about it but for the most part I feel it doesn't represent the story as well as the other two covers. I think it's really cool that the towers are made out of ordinary objects, like a button, a marble, and a lollipop. I like the idea of the colored tower rising out the the city of black and white, but I don't love the way it was executed. I'm not really sure what to think of this cover. In a way, it's much more creepy than the other two covers, and it seems almost like the cover for a children's book. I can see why the cover designer came up with the idea for this cover, but I don't really like the way it was carried out.

My favorite: Overall the US cover wins for me, although I really like the UK cover as well. I would probably pick the US cover as a hardcover and the UK as a paperback.

Which is your favorite? Judge this book by its cover!

Want to suggest a book for Judge A Book by Its Cover? Click Here for the form!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Review: The Night Circus

by Erin Morgenstern
Series: none
Hardcover, 387 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Doubleday
Age Recommendation: YA, Adult

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

The first time I read The Night Circus I was swept away by the dazzling descriptions and immersed in the world of the circus. The second time was not less magical but I could appreciate even more the care taken with each of the story's many facets. This is certainly not an "action book" but it is wonderfully crafted in its own way.

Writing a review for this book is very difficult because every part of the book, like the clock that plays a large role in it, is connected to and entwined with so many other parts that it's impossible to explain what is going on without explaining everything else first.

The writing is amazing. I was completely immersed in Morgenstern's world, experiencing the circus myself together with the other characters. Every few chapters there is a short section describing your - the reader's - experience in the circus: the sights, the sounds, the various tents you enter. And there is also description upon description for every place, every person, every event. I never tired of it. I wanted more.

I really cannot talk about what happens plotwise, but I will say that although the story itself progresses slowly, there is so much going on, so many overlapping layers of plot, that I could not put the book down. The story jumps around both in POV and time, and there are several stories going on at the same time. The first time I read The Night Circus it was a little bit difficult to sort out what was happening when, since I rarely pay attention to dates, but it is not jarring at all to switch from one point of view to another.

There is quite a large cast of characters, and although I felt I didn't know many of the characters well (even some of the main characters remain quite mysterious) I fell in love with all of them. Every character has a special part to play, and they are all memorable and unique.

Overall Thoughts: The Night Circus is truly a gem of a book. It is not for everyone, but for others, including myself, it is absolutely amazing. The writing, the characters, the atmosphere, the world: everything is intricately woven and so lovely. I can't get this magical story out of my mind.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Judge A Book by Its Cover - Across the Universe

In Judge a Book by Its Cover posts, I compare different covers for the same book, and judge which cover, in my opinion, best fits the book, either because it is the cover I'd be most likely to pick off the shelf or because it fits the style, mood, or plot of the book. I'd love to hear your opinions on these covers.

For this edition of Judge a Book by Its Cover, I will be judging the covers for Beth Revis's debut novel, Across the Universe. The publisher, Razorbill, recently released their new repackaged look for the entire series. All of these covers are American editions. Which do you prefer?

As always, click on any cover for a larger image.

Cover No. 1
Original Hardcover

Cover No. 2
Reverse side of original Hardcover

Cover No. 3

Cover No. 4
Newly repackaged cover

Cover No. 1: I haven't been too quiet about my love for this cover. The cover is one of the things that originally drew me to Across the Universe (aside from the many positive reviews that seemed to be flooding the internet at the time of its release). I love the beautiful colors and incorporation of the stars as the background. I do understand, however, that this cover, however pretty, would be an immediate turn-off for some readers.

Cover No. 2: This is the cover I usually use when I am reading Across the Universe at school or in some other public place. For some reason, I am more comfortable when people see me holding a book with an awesome-looking ship than with the very romance-y looking Cover No. 1. I really really like this cover, but I understand why the publisher would not want to use it: for one thing, it's not nearly as eye-catching, and for another, it would be difficult to make three different covers from this design.

Cover No. 3: I do like this cover, but it doesn't seem like anything special to me - just another typical YA. I like the view through the escape hatch and the general design of the cover. Also, it just occurred to me that perhaps this is the scene just after Harley jumps out the hatch, and Amy is trying to find him, which makes me like the cover a lot more, since it is actually a scene from the book.

Cover No. 4: I think if I hadn't already seen the original cover(s), I might like this cover a lot more, but comparing the two, there is no contest for me. However, I do like that this cover could appeal to both boys and girls, and I really like the ice on the cover as symbolism for this stage of Amy's journey. As a side note, Misty from The Book Rat mentioned that this cover reminded her of Artemis Fowl, and now that's all I can think of every time I see this cover.

My Favorite: I think I'll have to stick to cover No. 1. I can see why the Razorbill team would want to change it, but it is by far my personal favorite.

Which is your favorite? Judge this book by its cover!

Want to suggest a book for Judge A Book by Its Cover? Click Here for the form!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cover Crazy: Boundless

Cover Crazy is a weekly meme hosted by The Book Worms on Mondays. The idea is to showcase a beautiful book cover each week.

This week, I'm crazy about...
Boundless, by Cynthia Hand

I am actually not all that taken with this cover. Why am I featuring it on this weeks Cover Crazy, then? Because this series in particular has a way of astonishing me with how wonderful the covers look in person when they are merely pretty online. Also, there are some aspects of this cover that are very well done.

First of all, I like the way that it matches the other two covers. I am not certain but it seems like the same model in all three covers, and there are many repeated elements, such as the font of the title together with the swirls around it, and the feather in all three covers. Not to mention they all feature Clara in a pretty dress (to state the obvious).

I also like the progression between the covers. The cover for Unearthly took place in a very defined setting, the forest. The cover for Boundless takes place in a less defined setting, but Clara seems to be almost floating in the clouds (dare I say angelically). Additionally, whereas the Clara on the Unearthly cover seems unsure of herself and almost fearful, the Clara on the Boundless cover seems more contemplative. Regretful, perhaps, but sure of herself. I am glad that the covers for this series reflects Clara’s character development throughout the series in this way.

I really like the continued use of the single color and I like the way this color looks both on its own and next to the other cover in the series.

Is there any aspect of the cover I’m missing? 
What do you think of this cover for Boundless?
Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Review: Grave Mercy

by Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin, #1
Hardcover, 1st Edition, 549 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Age Recommendation: Older YA, Adult

Summary (from Goodreads):
Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Grave Mercy was absolutely fantastic. It's a bit different from what the summary would suggest, and I'm really glad I read Small Review's review before I began the book, since it gave me much more accurate expectations. Not to say that I had to lower my expectations, but the plot is far more centered around political intrigue and the various machinations of the different characters. Yet even though I didn't get a rollicking action plot, I adored the story I ended up with.

The story begins in a less-than-nice way. Ismae is leaving a brutal childhood for an arranged marriage that seems a no better situation. She manages to escape after some rather nasty incidents and is taken to the convent of St. Mortain, where she dedicates her life to fulfilling the wishes of the god of death. You can read the first chapter on Robin LaFevers' website here. (A note before you click over: as I said before, this chapter has some less-than-nice things in it. The rest of the book is not nearly this harsh.)

The scenes in the convent were pretty darn awesome. Ismae doesn't just say, "I learned how to use a dagger..." but actually describes her different lessons and totally immerses the reader in the world of the convent. Daughters of Mortain (Ismae is literally a daughter of Mortain) often have special abilities granted to them by the god, and Ismae's is immunity to poison. She, therefore, specializes in learning about different poisons. In Ismae's time at the convent, she and the reader are both introduced to Annith and Sybella, the main characters of the other two books in the trilogy (Yes, it is a trilogy, but don't worry! Grave Mercy works wonderfully as a standalone).

In fact, Robin LaFevers just released a scene from the convent that was ultimately cut from the novel. You can view it here at the blog Feeling Fictional. It takes place at the convent and is an excellent example of how LaFevers describes Ismae's training.

Ismae is a fantastic character. She is a strong person but has just enough weakness to steal your heart. For all her fantastic assassin skills, she is struggling to find her place. She is so eager to get out there and start killing people (as is the reader), but she is forced to keep up her pretense as Duval's mistress in order to root out the secrets of the palace.

There is not a lot of action and not a lot of assassinations. I think Ismae kills around four people, total, in all 550 pages. There are a few people whom she helps to die, but she doesn't actually assassinate them herself. But if you were expecting lots of action and Katsa-like awesomeness, prepare to change your expectations or be disappointed.

At this point, some of you may be thinking, "This doesn't sound like a very interesting book. No action? No killing?" Never fear. I could barely tear my eyes away from the pages. The story flew by. I didn't ever feel like I was reading a 500+ page book. I was too engrossed in the story. I finished the entire book in two days, largely because I practically refused to put it down. Even though Ismae is not killing everyone off or using her amazing convent training, there is so much going on.

The majority of the story takes place in the court of Anne of Brittany. Every single character has some plot to carry out or some scheme they are trying to keep secret. Ismae has her hands full figuring them all out, while at the same time, trying to fulfill her mission from the convent. All the complex politics were really fun to read about, and as Robin LaFevers writes in her author's note (some slight spoilers), they are all true. In reality, there was actually even more going on, but she trimmed some of the characters and plots because it was getting to be just too much, and the book ended up at nearly 550 pages regardless.

Part of what kept me so interested was the superb world building. As I mentioned in the last paragraph, much of what is in the book is completely true. LaFevers certainly did her historical research, and it shows in the execution. I totally felt like I was there: at the convent, in the court; anywhere Ismae went, I was instantly transported.

And then, finally, there is Duval. I'm spoiling it now: Ismae falls in love with Duval by the end of the book. But I loved the super-slow, hate-to-love romance. Duval is a wonderful character, love interest of not, and he was Ismae's perfect counterpart. I loved the scenes they were in together (which, I suppose, is nearly the whole book), because they worked together so well.

The other characters were great as well: no cardboard cutouts to be seen. I couldn't always get into the heads of the side characters, but I was fascinated with how they played this complex game.

Overall Thoughts:
Quite a spectacular book. There are so many layers upon layers, and lots of different political schemes. Although the action is limited, I was enthralled by the unfolding plots and Ismae's character development. Highly recommended.

Age Recommendation:
I almost never put an age warning at the end of my reviews, but I think this book needs it. This is definitely not a book for younger teens. There is nothing too explicit, but there are many adult themes and references, and the book is written for a mature audience. I would recommend for 16+.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Review: The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom

by Christopher Healy
Illustrations by Todd Harris
Series: none
Hardcover, 419 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Walden Pond Press
Age Recommendation: Middle Grade

Summary (from Goodreads):
Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You've never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change. Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Gustav stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it's up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.

Debut author Christopher Healy takes us on a journey with four imperfect princes and their four improbable princesses, all of whom are trying to become perfect heroes--a fast-paced, funny, and fresh introduction to a world where everything, even our classic fairy tales, is not at all what it seems.

Note: I listened to the audiobook version of this book, so the spelling of all names are my best guess, and not necessarily the same spelling as found in the text.

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom was so much fun, and the narration on the audiobook made it even more so. I loved the narrator, and the voices he used were perfect. Even though I thought a few of them were a little silly at the beginning, now I can't imagine them any other way. During the day, when I wasn't listening to the book, I often found myself randomly thinking in Gustav's voice, or Duncan's.

The story seems silly and fun - which it totally is - but there are also so many parts that are so clever. So many of the minor happenings at the beginning come back in the middle and at the end as important parts. For instance, in chapter 2 (or maybe 3), Gustav fights a troll. This encounter is very funny on its own, but it gets even better when Gustav and Fredric run into the troll again later in the story.

The only thing I wish I could have added to the audiobook was the wonderful illustrations. I looked up many of the illustrations after I finished listening to the book, and they work perfectly with the story. I will likely borrow a copy of The Hero's Guide from the library so I can flip through for the pictures, but I may end up rereading the whole thing, since I liked it so much.

I love these characters. They are all so much fun. I will try to explain them, but its hard to get the full effect before you've heard Duncan shouting, "Woohoo! Wild card!"

The story begins with Fredric. Fredric is Cinderella's prince, and he has spent his entire life learning to be a perfect prince. His manners are impeccable, and his dancing is flawless. But since his childhood, he has been afraid to do anything remotely dangerous. Ella, on the other hand, is wild and adventurous, and after spending so long under the thumb of her stepmother, is ready to see the world and go on daring adventures. Fredric, of course, is happy with the adventure of a garden picnic, and when he refuses to join Ella's proposed escapades, she runs away, and Fredric sums up the courage to go look for her. So begins the many misadventures of the League of Princes (as they later name themselves).

All four princes go through considerable character growth, but Fredric's is the most noticeable. The reader is rooting for him the whole time, and it's wonderful to see him discover his strength and courage. He eventually manages feats that he never would have dreamed of originally, when his favorite book series, "Sir Bertram the Dainty" was able to scare him. In the beginning of the story, I loved Fredric because he was so sweet and helpless, and in the end I loved him because he had transformed so completely.

Next, we meet Gustav. Gustav is a great character. He is the youngest of 17 sons, and his sixteen brothers were born as two sets of octuplets. He's got a bit of an inferiority complex, and likes to rush in and attack, usually yelling "Sturmhagen!" as he does so. I love Gustav too - I love all the characters, really. They're all so great in their own way. Gustav is so rough and tough, and he's got such a prickly exterior, but throughout the story you can see his softer side too. To use a quote from one of my favorite movies, "You're all hard on the outside, but you're all soft and gooey on the inside." I love that his great heroic act was NOT waking up the dragon, and sitting down to watch it instead. So great. Of the four, Gustav also had the most memorable accent, even though all of them were fantastic and very different. When I think of the different character voices, Gustav's is usually the first to come to mind.


Liam is the heroic hero of the group. Liam has been a hero for years before the story begins, and he's also the person who comes up with the plans when everything else is falling apart. If I was ever trapped by Zaubeera, I would want Liam to rescue me. He wouldn't get distracted like Duncan or have trouble getting past my guards like Fredric. Liam is the guy who gets things done. But, of course, he also has his own growth to go through, and quite a few problems of his own as well. For one thing, Sleeping Beauty, the princess whom he rescued, turns out to be quite a brat. She's actually very nasty, and is furious when he refuses to marry her.  In retaliation, she goes about telling everyone in her kingdom what a horrible person Liam is. It's lots of fun hearing how the stories get more and more wild as their adventure continues.


And now, the final prince: Duncan. Duncan is kind of ridiculous (but let's face it, all the princes are a bit ridiculous), but he is a great character. Duncan thinks he has this magical luck, which, as the narrator is quick to tell the reader, he does not. But because of this, he is quite fearless and gets into crazy situations. He also has a talent for saying exactly the wrong thing, which tends to get him into trouble. Whereas the other princes dependably stick to their main character traits, Duncan's most likely course of action is the opposite of what you would expect him to do.

All of the other characters were just as great. Lila, Liam's sister, was one of my favorite characters, and I identified most with her. Zaubeera was also lots of fun to read about (or listen about in my case). Every character was fun and unique, and each added something to the story. Even Troll, the troll, became important in the end. Some other character highlights were Deeb Robber, the bandit king; all four princesses; the giant; and the bounty hunter.

The book is chock full of wit and humor, and had me laughing out loud repeatedly (often in public, while wearing headphones. I got some odd stares). Every character gets his share of clever lines, and I was having so much fun listening, at some points I didn't even care much where the story was going, as long as I could listen to these characters some more.

Another aspect I liked was how the narrator talked directly to the reader, voicing the thoughts that are actually going through your head. My favorite quote (as I remember it) is, "Liam opened the door and walked into The Stumpy Boarhound. But you knew that already, because you read the prologue." This was a particularly memorable moment for me, because right before this quote, I had been telling my friend about the story, and I had just said, "...and of course he's going to go in, because it said so in the prologue." Even when I was less than a minute into the audiobook, I was laughing at: "Charming isn't a name. It's an adjective."

Also, I especially looked forward the the beginnings of chapters. As I almost never even notice when I start a new chapter, this is very unusual, and quite an achievement for this book. Every chapter began with a clever title, and I loved all of them, such as "Prince Charming claims he is not afraid of old ladies" to "Prince Charming really needs to figure out what is going on."

Overall Thoughts
It's quite obvious at this point that I loved this book. I plan to listen to it all over again in August, if not sooner. [EDIT: Couldn't wait until August. I started it again yesterday.] The narration is wonderful, the story is fantastic, the characters are great - I have absolutely no complaints. A wonderful MG for both boys and girls, and certainly a book I recommend to readers of all ages.

A bonus picture - the full cover image, courtesy of A Backwards Story. Click to enlarge.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cover Reveal for Shades of Earth

On Friday, Razorbill revealed the cover for the last book in Beth Revis's Across the Universe trilogy, Shades of Earth. With the new cover, they also revealed a new repackaged version of covers for the entire series. There will not a be a cover for Shades of Earth in the original style.

I personally don't care too much for the new covers on this series. I would much prefer to have the old covers, and a matching old-style cover for Shades of Earth. The beautiful cover of Across the Universe is one of the things that drew me to this series in the first place. I am, however, very very excited to finally be able to see a cover for this upcoming book.

The original cover for Across the Universe

Here is the summary of Shades of Earth, from Goodreads.
Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh--to build a home--on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience. But this new Earth isn't the paradise that Amy had been hoping for. Amy and Elder must race to uncover who--or what--else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. But as each new discovery brings more danger, Amy and Elder will have to look inward to the very fabric of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will have been meaningless.

What do you think? Do you prefer the old covers or the new style?
Are you excited for Shades of Earth?

Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Cover Reveal for Scarlet

What timing! Just after I posted my Judge a Book by Its Cover for Cinder, marveling over the great aspects of Marissa Meyer's first book in The Lunar Chronicles, the cover is revealed for the next installment: Scarlet.

So far I have only been able to find a small picture, but the cover looks great! I can't wait to continue reading this series.

I love that it keeps the same color palette and style as the first book, and, like Cinder, it features an iconic image from the story on which it is based without revealing too much about the contents of the book and certainly not turning into the so-oft-used "pretty girl cover."

Here is the summary (from Goodreads).
This isn't the official summary, but it is what is up for now:
Book two [of the Lunar Chronicles], Scarlet, is based on Little Red Riding Hood. It continues Cinder’s story as she attempts to escape Queen Levana’s vengeance and learn more about her past. The story also introduces readers to Scarlet, a girl living in southern France whose grandmother has mysteriously disappeared. In order to find her, Scarlet seeks the help of Wolf, a street fighter with more than a few mysteries of his own.

Are you excited for Scarlet?
Share your thoughts in the comments!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Judge a Book by Its Cover – Cinder

In Judge a Book by Its Cover posts, I compare different covers for the same book, and judge which cover, in my opinion, best fits the book, either because it is the cover I'd be most likely to pick off the shelf or because it fits the style, mood, or plot of the book. I'd love to hear your opinions on these covers.

In this edition of Judge a Book by Its Cover, I decided to judge the different covers for Cinder by Marissa Meyer. The covers are all very different, but I like them all, and they each bring out a different aspect of the story.

As always, click on any cover for a larger image.

Cover No. 1

Cover No. 2

Cover No. 3

Cover No. 4

Cover No. 1: This the the US cover I know and love, and (partially because it is the one I am most familiar with), I'd say it is my favorite of the bunch. I really like the contrast of the red shoe against everything else on the cover, and how the cover designer managed to show the mechanics inside her leg in a way that worked with the roundness of the foot and shoe, one of my favorite aspects. On the ARC cover (shown right, courtesy of Small Review), the emphasis is much more on the mechanical-ness, and the entire effect was not nearly as nice. I really like the font used for Marissa Meyer's name, and the title font works well with the the rest of the cover (although that bit coming down from the C bothers me a bit).

Cover No. 2: This cover screams "Disney's Cinderella" at me, even though the mechanics in her leg are still visible. I think it's the color of the shoe. The main thing I notice is the shoe - which, as this is a Cinderella retelling, may not be a bad thing. I like the light reflecting of the surface of the show, and the shadow under the title. I also like the subtitle "the Lunar Chronicles" (but in French) as it fits well with the rest of the title and it will provide a common line between all of the books in the quartet. I do wish Marissa Meyer's name was in the name font as on the US/UK cover (and as the subtitle), but I can see why the font they chose works better for the cover. Also, in this cover, you can see more of the springs and gears in her leg, since the top is not in shadow like in the US cover. I'm not sure whether I like or dislike that aspect, but I thought it was worth noting.

Cover No. 3: Of all the covers, this is the most fantasy-esque. I like the way that the illustrator chose to show the android elements in her arm but I don't really like her hair, which is the first thing I notice in the cover. This couldn't be Queen Levana, could it? Then I would understand. But for Cinder, this girl isn't it for me. First, though, the things I do like: The repeated circles in her hair, on her necklace, her glove, and her skirt are a nice touch, and I really like the way the title is presented, and especially the tagline, "In the future, stories begin with Once Upon a Time..." If I remember correctly, that was also the tagline for the US edition, but it wasn't on the cover. I also like the coloring for the entire cover, and the way the moon is right behind Cinder in the background. I also love that this is an illustrated cover. Illustrated covers always get bonus points. Yet (as always), there are also a bunch of things I don't really like. First and foremost, the hair. I already mentioned this in the beginning of my thoughts on this cover. Okay, it's futuristic and cool. But it's also medusa-y and odd and so not Cinder. Also, for some reason it really bothers me that she is so skinny. This at least makes some sense, but I really don't like it. Finally, her eyes. I don't know why, but the brown looks very strange for some reason. Maybe this is on purpose, but I don't like it. Despite these complaints, I do like the cover overall.

Cover No. 4: I don't have as much to say about this cover. I really like the idea, and although the picture turned out very well, I don't think it is the best image for the book. I do like that she has one mechanical leg and one non-mechanical leg, and I like the bits of red sprinkled throughout the cover: on her nails, the bow on the dress, Marissa Meyer's name, etc. My favorite part of this cover, however, is that the C in Cinder is a moon. That is so cool, and it works so well with the book. I also like how the cover is so simple, yet there is still so much to look at.

My Favorite: I have to choose the US/UK cover, but I can easily see why someone else might choose another cover. The French cover is a close runner-up, and I really like the Spanish cover although it doesn't fit this particular book as well.

Which is your favorite? Judge this book by its cover!

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Cover Crazy: Endlessly

Cover Crazy is a weekly meme hosted by The Book Worms on Mondays. The idea is to showcase a beautiful book cover each week.

This week, I'm crazy about...
Endlessly, by Kiersten White
Click to embiggenate.
Oh my goodness. This cover is not only so beautiful (I keep forgetting just how pretty it is), but it is also so Evie. I love that she seems almost about to smile. It reflects the books themselves that even though there is a beautiful purple (and pink) image at first glance, there is more going on. There is a storm gathering in the background and Evie is looking at something in the distance. Somehow there is an almost ominous undertone.  Also, the cover fits really well with the other two covers in the series. Each reflects the book inside very well. I'll stop writing here so I can go back to staring at the cover.

Want to know more about Endlessly?
Summary (from Goodreads):
Try as she might, Evie can’t seem to escape her not-so-normal past. And what was supposed to be a blissfully normal school break is ruined when a massive group of paranormals shows up at her house, claiming that Evie is the only one who can protect them from a mysterious, perilous fate.

The deadly war between the faerie courts looms ever closer. The clock is ticking on the entire paranormal world. And its future rests solely in Evie’s hands.

So much for normal.

With a perfect blend of humor and suspense, Endlessly is everything readers could dream of in a conclusion—and the unexpected twists will keep them guessing until the very last page.

Only a few more weeks until the release! I can't wait! 

What do you think of the cover for Endlessly?
Leave your thoughts in the comments!

What are you crazy about this week?


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