Tuesday, March 4, 2014

This Week in Book Covers (24th February - 28th February)

We continue our weekly review of the covers from the books we read last week - the good, the bad and the man titteh!

Grimm: The Chopping Block by John Passarella

What’s to dislike about this cover, especially since it has David Giuntoli's beautiful beautiful face on it? Nothing - except for the whole problem with the book itself being more slightly off and not perfectly executed fandom of the main show, rather than a book in its own right. Even the way the title is written - we have that huge gleaming GRIMM with all the serifs and extra spiky bits with the rest of the title and author very much footnotes.

Of course, it’s what you expect of a book of the series… but it kind of emphasises what the book didn’t quite achieve for me.

Last God Standing by Michael Boatman

The cover of this book is the least offensive thing about it. The mic stand and then the halo symbolises a now human Christian God as a comedian. The cover actually portray very well the setting of the story and the only real problem I see that it didn’t have a massive best by publication date along with an apology for the books that died  for this to be  produced.  If anything, the cover of Last God Standing is the perfect example of how an interesting cover can mask horrible drek.

Hereafter by Terri Bruce

I actually find this cover interesting but wonder why it is that Irene the protagonist is facing away from the reader.  I get the idea that she is a ghost who does not belong to the human world anymore makes sense.  Normally, I would have something to say about those shoes but given the fact that Irene spends quite a bit of time in the novel actually complaining about how uncomfortable the shoes are and how inappropriate they are for the afterlife they belong on the cover. I do however think it’s interesting that the woman on the cover does not look a day over 20 and Irene is 35.  Is this supposed to explain her childlike behaviour throughout the novel? Much like the book itself, the cover of Hereafter is just meh.

Iron Night by M.L. Brennan

Iron Night is one of the few novels in this genre to have a male on the cover and this is precisely because it has a male protagonist.  What I find interesting about that not only is Fortitude dressed, he is actually dressed to kick ass. Where is his bare midriff?  What about the ridiculous high heeled shoes? He’s even standing firm with two with feet on the ground.  This is only possible because it depicts a man and speaks largely about how gender is treated this genre.

This cover style has now become something of a mould for Paranormal Chick-lit; it’s fun, jokey and tells you that there’s something light and fun and witty between those covers. It’s nice when a genre has a particular style so you can see the markers and know what you’re getting - it’s a great way for covers to sell a book to a particular audience.

The problem is I look at this cover and then I look at the covers for
Gina X Grant’s books and even MaryJanice Davidson and I wonder - how much of this cover style is a new mold, and how much of it is generic? I think that the rather abstract, blocky, cartoony style especially lends itself to a lack of detail and there’s a risk of the covers blending together. It’s an excellent way to separate themselves from standard Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance - but they do a less good job of separating themselves from each other.

Nightmaster by Susan Krinard

This cover is proof of two things: 1) that it is perfectly possible to display sexy on a romance cover without oceans of Man Titteh and 2) that a picture can say a thousand words. In this case that is “ANGST” copied and pasted a thousand times. In some ways it does a disservice to the book because I look at this cover and I can almost hear pages upon pages of moping and self-loathing and morose mustiness positively oozing off the page; but that isn’t this book. The angst levels are quite low - for a vampire paranormal romance everyone’s positively zinging with happiness! The cover is beautiful, but it’s also tragic.

Up From the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Whhhhyyyyyyy? Why the leather bustier? I mean, just whyyyyy? There is nothing about this story that is leather bustier friendly. We’re even past the days when Kat dressed in as little as possible to seduce vampires for staking

And the coffin? For once I don’t blame the cover artist on this one, I blame the insistence of shoe-horning “grave” into every last title of these books. I get that people like a theme, but I sometimes wonder if the series end simply because Jeaniene Frost is at a loss to think of any more witty titles using the word “Grave”. I can see it now “Shimmying Past the Grave… no. Hoolaing Over the Grave… no. Bungeeing Into the Grave? No… damn I think this series has to end.”