Archive for August, 2008

Fantasy Loves Circles – Part 1

Posted in book covers, symbols on August 31, 2008 by Jacket Whys

Okay, okay – that’s a stretch for the second title in Michael Ford’s Spartan Quest series, Birth of a Warrior (Walker 12/2008 ), which is really “historical adventure.” If you ask me, anything about Ancient Greece has to involve some element of fantasy. The Booklist review of the series’ first title, The Fires of Ares, said “although this historical adventure has no fantasy elements, Lysander follows a path familiar to fans of Harry Potter and Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game,” so there you have it. There’s even a “mythical amulet” – portrayed on the jacket of Fires of Ares. Both books thus far have the floating circle and landscape background.
The rest of these are fantasy and every title here is part of a series. What is it about fantasy that begs to be represented by some circular graphic? I don’t think they are all amulets…
Ruler of the Realm by Herbie Brennan (Bloomsbury 2006) is the third title in the Faerie Wars Chronicles. This, the paperback jacket, is the only one with a circle on it. The original cover had a crystal flower on it, which made sense (from reviews I read – must fess up to being not much of a fantasy reader, and I’ve never read any of this popular series). With this new series branding, each book has a different item featured, but the same general composition – something hovering against a landscapey background – though each has a different overall background color. I’m guessing that both of these titles are designed by the same designer… Even the title font is the same – well almost.

In this next group, it is not only the circle/amulet thing – but also a red and gold color scheme that has been used to attract. The Chimera’s Curse by Julia Golding (Marshall Cavendish 2008 ) is the fourth book in the Companions Quartet. The series branding is really obvious here – all four covers look pretty much the same (different colors, different central features).

Day of the Scarab by Catherine Fisher (Greenwillow 2006) is the third title in The Oracle Prophecies Trilogy, and the second to have circle representation (although on The Sphere of Secrets, the circle is a sphere).

I find the texture and design on these last two especially pleasing and intriguing. The Magician by Michael Scott (Delacorte 2008)” is second (of six?) in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. As in The Companions Quartet, the series branding keeps the jackets looking very similar (see The Alchemyst – Delacorte 2007).

First in “a duology” (Goodman), Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman (Viking 1/2009) was originally slated for September publication, but postponed so as not to compete (and lose) to Brisingr (September). Along with that postponement, it seems to be pretty difficult to find anything online about this book. It’s mysterious, because while the second book, The Two Pearls of Wisdom, was released in Australia last January, I can’t find the first one at HarperCollins Australia (but see first comment below). I’m a sucker for judging a book by its cover and despite my regular avoidance of fantasy, I’m going to have to read this one. The cover has that thing that pulls me like a magnet. Don’t know what the circular object is, but more than in any of the other books pictured here I want to know.

Birth of a Warrior: When Persians invade Sparta while thirteen-year-old Lysander is training to be a soldier, he finds his loyalties are divided between Spartan honor and the Helot slaves with whom he lived most of his life. (Spartan Quest #2)
Ruler of the Realm:
While simultaneously trying to prevent and prepare for war between the Faeries of the Night and Faeries of the Light, Queen Holly Blue is kidnapped from her Uncle Hairstreak’s home by human Henry Atherton and learns she must face another, far greater enemy. (Faerie Wars #3)
Chimera’s Curse: Connie and Col band together to save the world for all creatures, including the mythical ones of which few humans are aware, from the shape-shifter Kullervo’s army and, along the way, Connie finds herself transformed in an amazing way. (Companions Quartet #4)
Day of the Scarab: As she works to return peace to Two Lands, Mirany travels through the Gates of the Underworld. (Oracle Prophecies #3)
Magician: Fifteen-year-old twins Sophie and Josh Newman continue their magical training in Paris with Nicholas Flamel, Scatty, and the Comte de Sant Germaine, pursued by Doctor Dee and the immortal Niccolo Machiavelli. (Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #2)
Eon: Sixteen-year-old Eon hopes to become an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune and learn to be its main interpreter, but to do so will require much, including keeping secret that she is a girl. (Dragoneye #1)


Posted in Uncategorized on August 23, 2008 by Jacket Whys

OMIGOSH! I first found the cover for Celia Rees‘ new book, Sovay (Bloomsbury 2008), months and months ago. Now I’m thinking maybe it was just the British cover art, but I thought it was super – different and attractive – and I couldn’t wait to read the book.
So today, I’m looking at some reviews… and here’s Sovay. The cover we get in the U.S. Absolutely nothing to distinguish it from any other book. I’m so distressed! What back room discussions could have led to this unfortunate change? Another attempt (like Newes from the Dead) to sanitize the book of any connection to the fact that it is historical fiction. It sucks (I feel the need to use strong words for my disappointment).
And what does Celia Rees think? (she’s still showing the good cover on her own website) What say you all?

Sovay: In 1794 England, the rich and beautiful Sovay, disguised as a highwayman, acquires papers that could lead to her father’s arrest for treason, and soon her newly-awakened political consciousness leads her and a compatriot to France during the Revolution.

An Editor’s Thoughts

Posted in book designers on August 19, 2008 by Jacket Whys

In this post to the Blue Rose Girls blog, a children’s book editor talks about how difficult it must be for book designers (they have to make so many people happy) and pays her respect.


Posted in book covers, stock photos on August 13, 2008 by Jacket Whys

Several new books with feathers on the covers: Feathered by Laura Kasischke (HarperTeen 2008 ) has that lacy overlay thing going on and the feather looks like some kind of inkblot. From the publisher’s description, I can’t see the connection – beach, Mayan ruins, Mayan sacrifice, high school girls. Hmmm. I don’t get that from this. Not sure I like the shape of the feather either, but the overall look is interesting.
Real feathers have such an amazingly beautiful look. Feathers float down to the beach from a gray sky on The Ghost’s Child by Sonya Hartnett (Candlewick 2008, c2007 – the Australian cover is so different, it’s hard to imagine it’s the same book). Nice images – and here’s the beach not present on Feathered. With a spirit named Feather in it, this cover looks like it might be a fitting ad for the plot.

I’d like to see the real jacket on Impossible Things by Robin Stevenson (Orca 2008 ). Any cover scan I could locate online seemed flourescent, without much contrast or detail. The plot seems to include a bit on telekinesis, and I suppose a feather is a good representation. Any of us can move a feather with our minds, right? (And a little breath of air).
My favorite here, the only one of these titles published last year, is Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson (Putnam’s 2007). The colors are nicely chosen. I like the bright yellow feather against the blue blue and the stark white. Warm and cool. A feather falling in the midst of a snowfall is an intriguing image – though I’m not sure what it means. It seems fitting for a book by Woodson though. Her words are always so beautifully crafted – though I have not yet read this one.

Feathered: While on Spring Break in Cancun, Mexico, high-school seniors and best friends Anne and Michelle accept the wrong ride and Michelle is lost–seemingly forever. Ages 14+. Jacket design by Joel Tippie, jacket photograph Andy Whale/Getty Images.
The Ghost’s Child: Ages 14+.
Impossible Things: Ages 9-13.
Feathers: Feathers: When a new, white student nicknamed “The Jesus Boy” joins her sixth grade class in the winter of 1971, Frannie’s growing friendship with him makes her start to see some things in a new light. Ages 9-12. Cover design by Linda McCarthy, snow photo by Getty Images, feather photo by Veer Images.


Posted in book spines on August 12, 2008 by Jacket Whys

I have been trying to pay attention to book spines. I read an article somewhere which I now cannot find (I will keep looking). While I was on vacation, Lisa Chellman wrote an interesting post on the subject. This is something I will be watching in the future – though spines are much harder to capture. Unlike book covers, which you can find on many book sites, you really have to have the book in your hand to see the spine.