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)