Thursday, June 19, 2014

This Week in Book Covers 9th June - 13th June

Time for another crop of cover reviews and I think the standard in the industry is moving up - or at least away from all those twisted spines, presented arses and midrifts.

Bloodshifted (Edie Spence # 5) by Cassie Alexander

While I can’t say I especially like this cover - I’m pretty neutral about it - I applaud it for pretty much showcasing the book. We have the vampire on the front and while she’s in a nifty dress, she isn’t as overtly sexualised. The dress is also pretty representative of what she wears in the book - as are the nicely creepy tunnels behind her. It’s all very vampirey and very gothic.

And… kind of bland? I don’t know, there’s not a lot that yells out to be me here. What is interesting though is following the covers of the whole series, and we can see Edie’s story and progression rather neatly told via book covers.

Pretty, mysterious, pretty, understated, pretty, evocative. Did I mention pretty? I like this cover - even if it doesn’t give much in the way of clues to what’s actually inside, it intrigues rather than hides with its mystery. It’s clearly not about the wildlife, there’s a suggestion of mystery and woo-woo just with the understated cover - I don’t know, it appeals and draws me and I can’t even say why.

Once upon a time, I went to a modern art gallery and examine the exhibits. I went to gallery after gallery, saw Tracy Emin’s unmade bed, the chemist’s shop, sheep in formaldehyde (personally, I prefer garlic) and a garden shed that had been taken apart and turned into a boat then taken apart and turned into a shed again like some kind of very low tech and vaguely hippyish Autobot. In each case I would stare at the piece and desperately find some part of my mind that would understand, appreciate and not just yell “why am I looking at this?!” I left feeling slightly frustrated, a little stupid and vaguely thinking that someone’s having a great big in-joke and I’m not included.

This cover takes me back to that moment… just… why?

The Black Knight Chronicles have covers that are the epitome of WYSIWIG. What you see is what you get - we have the guy with the gun in very modern clothes facing off against a giant, olde timey axe. Ancient Times meets modern times with lots of actions and fighting and a protagonist who isn’t defined by his rippling pectorals (but is still pretty buff, rather more so than James himself). It could play up the vampire or supernatural angle but it’s all pretty clear - magic, mayhem and mystery but, perhaps, not a whole lot of depth.

All the elements are there - there’s Jazz (and she’s fully clothed and completely and utterly non-sexualised! And she’s even dressed moderately appropriately for the weather! Ok she’s not exactly bundled up but at least she’s not directing freezing drafts at sensitive nether regions!). The focus isn’t on how sexy she is, but on her style, her badassness (Badassery?) holding the gun and snarling at the camera. This is not sexy girl. This is girl who gets shit done. I appreciate that. Not quite sure where the snow capped mountains come in - but the nice ghostly head hovering over it drives home the supernatural element and touches on the woo-woo within. I like it, I like it a lot.