Judging a Book by its Cover

We all do it.

We say we don’t, but we do.

Our minds are drawn to beautiful or interesting visuals.  That’s just the way it works.

So first, I want to look at those oh so beautiful ‘leather bound classics’ that Barnes & Noble sell.

They are wonderful.  I would buy them all, if it wasn’t for the terrible shipping rates to Canada!

Here are the ones I do have:

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As you can see, I went for the same type of collections. Fairy tales and children’s stories!

This one, I’m hoping get rereleased.

narnia

Now, I’d love to talk fairy tales, and their impact on both writers and society as a whole, but I’ll save that for another post because I have tons to say about it!

This is all about the cover art.

I believe having shelves of old books, with decorated spines and beautiful imagery is a romantic idea that many people have.  Finding old books for a cheap price however is not easy! Now these books are not old, though the stories inside them are.  They are however beautiful, and are really like a piece of art in a way.

This brings me to a question though.  Do you prefer having your shelves filled with a variety of sized and styled books, or do you like the uniformity of having, let’s say, all the Barnes & Noble leather bound collection.  That would be all your classics, styled in this way.  Does that appeal to you?

As much as I think they’re beautiful, and I do want to get a couple more of them, I think having too much of the same would probably not be to my liking.  It would be too intentional, and would become more about the art, than the books themselves.  What do you think?

Another great cover:

Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane

This one is gorgeous.

ocean-at-the-end-of-the-lane-neil-gaiman

A.G. Howard’s Splintered

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So I haven’t read this one yet.  This is one of those cases where my thought process went: Oh wow, that’s beautiful! Oh, it’s about Alice in Wonderland.  I’m interested!

So clearly, that’s good marketing!

Hopefully the book is gripping as well.

 

And of course, no post would be complete without a mention of George RR Martin’s book series A Song of Ice and Fire.  Walking into the fantasy section of a bookstore can feel overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking for.  Though this is changing now (possibly do to Martin’s covers), most fantasy covers tend to feel like they all started from the same template.  There will be a guy (or once and a while a woman) wielding some fancy sword, hair whipping around in the wind, determined look on their face.

You see the same kind of generic art in Romance covers, and it can be off putting.  Maybe the book is great, but I don’t know that when I’m looking at a cover, and I will not be inclined to read it.  So what sets Martin’s books apart, at least until everyone catches on and does the same, is that they don’t have typical fantasy art . Just a single image, on a plain background.  That’s it. Nothing fancy, and yet totally gripping!

A_Game_of_Thrones_Novel_Covers

Another fantasy writer got me this way as well.  Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy:

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They are so simple, with only the title being the focus, that I immediately was drawn to them.  And that’s what a good cover does, it makes you pick up the book, and read the synopsis (which is hopefully well written!).

This has worked in many genres.  Just look at how Fifty Shades of Grey, and other erotic/romance novels have used this kind of cover to grab an audience.  It really works!

As I’ve said however, people will catch on to this, and soon there will be too many books using this kind of cover, and then its impact will be lost.

 

So, when you walk in to a bookstore, what catches your eye?

What book on your shelves do you think has the best cover design and art?

Let me know in the comments!

 

Until next time,

Sarah

 

Sam’s Words for Dessert: The Child Thief by Brom Review

The Child Thief
Brom
Harper Voyager – August 2009
Paperback
Dark Fantasy/Horror
476 Pages

Peter is quick, daring, and full of mischief–and like all boys, he loves to play, though his games often end in blood. His eyes are sparkling gold, and when he graces you with his smile you are his friend for life, but his promised land is “not” Neverland.

Fourteen-year-old Nick would have been murdered by the drug dealers preying on his family had Peter not saved him. Now the irresistibly charismatic wild boy wants Nick to follow him to a secret place of great adventure, where magic is alive and you never grow old. Even though he is wary of Peter’s crazy talk of faeries and monsters, Nick agrees. After all, New York City is no longer safe for him, and what more could he possibly lose?

There is “always” more to lose.

Accompanying Peter to a gray and ravished island that was once a lush, enchanted paradise, Nick finds himself unwittingly recruited for a war that has raged for centuries–one where he must learn to fight or die among the “Devils,” Peter’s savage tribe of lost and stolen children.

There, Peter’s dark past is revealed: left to wolves as an infant, despised and hunted, Peter moves restlessly between the worlds of faerie and man. The Child Thief is a leader of bloodthirsty children, a brave friend, and a creature driven to do whatever he must to stop the “Flesh-eaters” and save the last, wild magic in this dying land.

First things first. Peter Pan was never one of my favourite stories (both disney adaptation and Barrie’s original). This though… I almost have no words. This book was exactly the kind of book I’ve been looking for for a while now. But before I get into the nitty gritty stuff, let’s talk first impressions:

The cover is intriguing, illustrated by the Author himself. The summary isn’t the greatest but I’m a sucker for hooks and personally, I thought the ‘There is “always” more to lose’ was a pretty good one. In the middle of the book there are some colored illustrations of a few characters (none of Nick unfortunately) and every chapter had a drawing accompanying it which was a really nice touch. As someone who’s interested in drawing and character design, I really appreciated the pieces of work.

Now the actual story… I got pulled in right from the get-go and I definitely had a hard time putting it down. My mind was all like “Sleep be damned! Go Sam! Go to Avalon (this novel’s Neverland)! Join the Devils and become clan!”. Well… I couldn’t refuse and when the book came to an end, unfortunately, my adventure there did as well. Sigh.

This re-working of the Peter Pan story is obviously a little darker. There are different point of views throughout the book, mostly Peter and Nick, but it’s nice to see where each characters’ motivation for their actions are coming from and it isn’t confusing or hard to keep track of who’s who and what happening. Their emotions and thoughts were so very real and human it got me thinking about how I would react, what would motivate me?

Because of the different point of views, I kept changing my mind about how I felt for each character, some times I was angry at Peter because Nick was angry at him other times I felt sympathy. There were characters that I hated (coughleroycough) and characters that I really liked but couldn’t get to know because they weren’t the focus.

The story line really flowed and weaved together nicely, there wasn’t a part I didn’t like, and I definitely didn’t feel as though some scenes dragged on like some other books leave me feeling. I actually have lot of lines that I enjoyed too. What?! Quotes?! I know. I know. I’ve never quoted here before but there’s a start for everything. I don’t know what it was about some of the lines but they seemed to just pull at my heart and make me feel something. I’ll took that as a sign of liking it.

Two quotes that I really liked were:

“The darkness is calling. A little danger, a little risk. Feel your heart race. Listen to it. That’s the sound of being alive.”

&

“Men who fear demons see demons everywhere.”

Final verdict? I love this novel. It’s definitely one of my favorites and definitely the best one I’ve read this year. I can’t wait to go for a second and third read! Actually, I’m nervous that I loved this book so much that I won’t be able to get pulled into whatever I read next.

I gave this a 4.5 cupcakes with extra extra sprinkles and icing. I definitely recommend this book but I’ll admit it might not be for everyone. It’s an entertaining read, the writing isn’t over the top but simple and matches the feel of the story.

If you’ve read this what did you think? I’m really curious to know! Especially if you’ve read Barrie’s Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens and Peter Pan and Wendy. ALSO. If you have read this and enjoyed it, what’s something you’d recommend to people who liked this? I need more books like this but I don’t know where to start hunting.

Till next time~!
Happy Reading~!

Sam