Cover Love: September

October 21, 2012 at 9:44 am (Cover Love) (, , , , , , , , )

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but I’ve seen some covers recently that I absolutely love and want to share/talk about.

This first belongs to an author seriously blessed by the cover gods. Masque of the Red Death was stunning and eerie and dark and lovely, and its sequel, Dance of the Red Death, due out 23 April 2013 is utterly gorgeous. It takes us in a different direction than the first, shifting the color scheme to the opposite spectrum. Where the first was reds and blacks, this is purples and whites, BUT- keep in mind that in most European societies, from Renaissance straight through Victorian (from which time this borrows much of its atmosphere) lavender and white were second stage mourning colors. After the death of someone close to you, you were expected to wear black for six months, then you could expand to white, lavender, and grey for another six months. Araby Worth has made some progress in her crippling grief, but she’s still in mourning, and this cover shows that. The clothing is a little less formal, more flattering and less dramatic, and her posture is different. Rather than turning completely away from us, she’s more or less in profile, only her face still angled away and shielded by the fan, in itself less obscuring than the parasol from the first. Just as the colors are expanding from the deepest stage of grief, so her posture is also opening up, not just to us as the audience but also to the people in her life. She’s got progress yet to make, but this cover definitely shows how far she’s come.

17 & Gone, by Nova Ren Suma, is due out 21 March 2013, and I’ve loved this cover since it wsa revealed. It’s coloration is unique in YA, soft oranges and yellow, like the glow of candles, but there’s also a very CSI: Miami vibe to it. The bed frame- no mattress, did you notice?- is ominous, like an episode of Criminal Minds, and the windows beyond the girl’s silhouette don’t belong to a high-rate hotel. My favorite part, though, is how, if you look very carefully, you can see the details of the missing report underlaid in the image. Without those details, it might just be a particularly sentimental trip down memory lane, a runaway reflecting on the world she left behind, but those words, subtle but distinct, render it into something much more terrifying. We don’t know if the girl in the picture is the girl of the missing report, we don’t know if she’s simply missing by her own volition or someone else’s will, and we don’t know if something far worse has happened to her. This cover does an amazing job of capturing attention, which is exactly what a cover should always aim to do.

Another sequel with a cover as stunning as its first one, Laini Taylor’s Days of Blood and Starlight, due out 6 November 2012, has the same drama as The Daughter of Smoke and Bone. The mask is gone, the question of pure identity no longer a mystery, but the glamour and the beauty are still firmly in place. Rather than the blue representing Karou, we have red- Akiva’s flaming wings, anyone? And, of course, the titular blood. The contrasts are sharp- except for the red, the rest of the image is black and white, the focus just slightly blurred or hidden behind the title. Though the patterns around her eyes are delicate and lovely, it’s difficult to escape the visceral memory of war paint. This is going to be a book with a lot of violence and blood in it, but just as with the first, there’s also a great deal of unexpected beauty, probably hand in hand with the ugliness.

Oh, this one made me so happy when the cover was revealed. Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers, due out 2 April 2013, is the sequel to Grave Mercy, but it’s not Ismae’s story this time. This time, we see Sybella, with a very different kind of history and outlook than her half-sister. Here we get much more somber colors than the first, darker colors. This isn’t someone who works out in the open to be seen, this is someone who prefers to work in the shadows to conceal dark deeds. Her face is sharper, her expression more forbidding, and the way the light gleams on the blade immediately brings the eye to the very real threat of that knife- and the realization that she won’t hesitate to use it. Combined with the expression on her face, you get the feeling she uses it maybe more than she’s supposed to. Where Ismae was out in the open air, Sybella is in a tunnel- confined, claustrophobic, something that can far more quickly become a trap than an escape. Sybella’s story promises to be dark and painful but- look at the soft, dull gold of the cloak. Maybe it’s not without redemption. And oh, I can’t wait.

Last one for this month is Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, out 22 January 2012. At first glance, this cover is striking but a little hard to figure- you’d have to look at the description to know whether it’s supposed to portray assassins, snipers, or spies. But, you don’t really have to know. The contrast around the eye, dragging all the focus to the brilliant blues within the iris, gives you the same narrow view as someone looking through a scope. All that matters is what you’re aiming for. The thing is, you don’t know if you should be intrigued because what’s wanted is information, or if you should be very afraid that the girl in the crosshairs is going to end up dead. Perhaps my favorite detail is actually below the eye- where the skin shifts into a curling smoke or fog, giving the impression that the person you’re looking at? Might really be nobody.

Any covers you’ve seen recently that really caught your eye? Share below!

Until next time~
Cheers!

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Cover Love: October Edition

October 16, 2011 at 12:11 pm (Cover Love) (, , , , , , )

And it’s back! Got a mix for you today as far as release dates go, some out now and some that don’t even have a release date yet, but there are a couple of them that may have made me bounce up and down in my chair and squeal like a little girl when I saw them, so without further ado: ta-da!

I loved the cover for Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood. It was all eerie shades of white and grey with a few vibrant strokes of black, and eye-catching violent sweeps of red. It told you right off the bat that this was a ghost story, and a violent one. Well, Anna’s back on the cover of Girl of Nightmares (no release date yet) and- just a guess- I’d say she’s back with a vengeance.

This cover is like a photo negative of the first. Here it’s the reds that hold most of the page, with darker shapes in the distance that make it unclear if we’re going through a hellscape or mountains. Either way, the cliff edges are tall and curling in, almost claustrophobic, and clearly an indication of danger. My guess would be hellscape, given the not-entirely there figures in the foreground, reaching for Anna. Here’s the question, though: are they reaching to her for help? Or to offer more danger? You can’t really tell from her face or her body language; if she’s afraid, she isn’t showing it. Her exact expression is hard to define- it could be a lot of things- and the way she’s holding out her hand is equally ambiguous. Is she extending an invitation? Or a dare? Just as the use of red in the first cover drew your eye to the bloodstains, here it’s the unexpected white of Anna’s dress that pulls in your attention. A sweet girl in a cute white dress…in a hellscape? It almost dares you to find out why. Sadly, we’ll probably we waiting until August for this one.

Here we’re going to switch to a contemporary (I know, how often do I do that, right?) but this is one that held be spellbound when I first saw the cover.

At first glance, it’s easy to miss what this is. An x-ray of a flower, maybe, or a magnified fractal image of a snowflake. But look again- those are dancers. People made to look so identical that they all blur together into a single design. Welcome to the world of ballet. It isn’t just the image is harmonious. It isn’t just that the repeating pattern lulls the eye into tracing the arms. Fractals are intriguing, they’re soothing. Here the image is delicate and elegant- and also a little frightening. Because again: THOSE ARE PEOPLE. And to create an image like they, they sacrificed all individuality, everything unique about them, to blend against the larger design. Ever watched a ballet and wondered how they survive being made to dance all the same? What about making your life all the same as well? I don’t normally go for contemporary, but this cover alone is enough to make me want to read this book. Bunhead, by Sophie Flack, is out in stores now.

To those familiar with this next author, this cover is QUITE a switch from her others- which gives some interesting promise that the story will be, as well.

I love instruments of time on covers. Hourglasses, watches, clocks, even sundials, anything that gives the impression that time is of the essence. That being said, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen it come across in such a fantastically creepy manner. It isn’t just that the hourglass is filled with sand rather than blood- it’s that there’s blood on the outside of the glass, too. The two pieces are nearly equal in volume so whatever’s happening, there is a balance to it. Hourglasses, once empty, turn over to start the new process. But given that blood, unlike sand, is a perishable substance- do you suppose it needs to be replaced once it runs out? I love the background here, largely because it gives the ghost of images without destracting from the main focus. The vine-like designs in the upper corners, the suggestion of a face on the left side. It doesn’t pull from the hourglass in the way a busier background might, but neither does it detract in the way a completely plain background would. It is, like the levels of blood in the hourglass, the perfect balance. Every Other Day, the first of a new series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, is out December 27th of this year.

Ready for the next one?

Starting at the top of the cover of Fracture by Megan Miranda, we get a winterscape, cold and grey, skeletal trees caught between slumbering and dying, with a light dusting of snow. Bleak, relentless, frigid…already not a promising sight. Then, as our eyes travel down to the base of the cover, we see what might be a ghost, might be a reflection, of a girl. Her face is expressionless, caught in that same in-between aspect as the trees beyond her. Then, just a little further down, we see the girl herself, caught against the sheet of ice on the lake in such a way that she might almost be under it. She isn’t- but she might have been once, leaving behind the ghost or the echo or the reflection of the girl who looks back at her. Despite the parka, there’s something cold to her- something that has a lot to do with why she’s lying on snow or ice out in the middle of the woods. This is a book where Death is a constant shadow, reaching out a hand as skeletal as the bare trees to try to keep what it has claimed. What we’ll have to discover is what the consequences of escaping Death once might be. This comes out 17 January 2012, right in the dead of winter.

Last one for today, one I have been looking forward to so, SO much.

Even before you read the jacket copy, you know Marie Lu’s Legend has a military rigidity to it. It’s all polished steel like a gun barrel, with stark, sharp-edged contrast in the form of antique gold like medals and insignia. And that’s it. Spartan, severe, no frills or extra colors, it’s like a punch to the stomach if you step out of line. We are not going to go into this book expecting softness and cuddles. Look at the actual insignia though. The left side of it forms a stylized R (presumably for Republic), but look at the right side. In order to maintain the design, in order to keep the visual appeal without disrupting the identifiable nature of the R, there’s a free-floating piece. Essential to the design, but probably rather difficult to pin in place. Necessary, but troublesome. That free-floating piece? That’s our story. How that free-floating piece works within the larger design, the fragility of a portion without connection to the whole, that’s what we’re diving into the gun barrel to find out. If you’re like me, 29 November 2011 can’t come quickly enough.

Any covers you’ve seen in the past month that you want to share? Anything out now or upcoming that you think sells you on trying the book? Share below!

Until next time~
Cheers!

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