Tuesday, 5 January 2016

TOP 10 BOOK COVERS BETTER THAN WHAT'S BETWEEN THEM

Few can complain as thoroughly about anything as a reader can about book covers. It seems that, at long last, we've embraced our shallow, shallow cover-judging tendencies and we're running with them. But now more than ever, there's pressure on covers to do well. And when they don't, there's hell to pay.

Here at The Honest Bookclub, we've done our share of grumbling. We've featured covers we hated. And to counter balance it, we also featured our favorite covers. So now, as the antithesis to our previous attempt to convince you to read-a-book-despite-its-ugly-cover, we are featuring the covers which we feel are better than the books' actual content. We're subjective and (moderately) unapologetic and we favor The Grumbling Tangent.

Beware. Complaints ahead. (But also cover lust. The cover lust might help survive the other thing.)








Chosen by Lexie

If there's such a thing as the marketing lottery, Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen has won it. It was one of the most hyped books months before it was due to come out. It has the world's most beautiful cover design. The Epic Reads team is close to instating a Red Queen Day and making it a bank holiday. It is, in short, impossible to have been in this part of the blogosphere in the past two years without having heard of it. And even if you haven't, Red Queen's cover game is strong enough to sell it just on account of PRETTY. The content, however, left something to be desired. Can't really blame it, though - it's hard to do that cover justice.



Chosen by Natalie

I was definitely sold on the cover when I bought this. It's got such a simple yet elegant design, and I know it's the typical 'girl in a big dress' thing, but it's so pretty! I was, however, left disappointed when I started reading it. It was full of typical YA tropes. And not only that but it was just... dull. I did DNF in the end, but at least I have a nice cover on my bookshelf! 


Chosen by Lexie

Covers with feathers are notoriously gorgeous. (See: The Strange And Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, Magonia, A Thousand Nights.) Tangentially, Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone series features feathers prominently - on the inside as well as (some of the) outside. So when The Girl At Midnight took the stage with this cover and with its "for fans of Daughter of Smoke and Bone" pitch - we all expected great things. The one thing I did not expect is for it to attempt to be Daughter of Smoke and Bone. The feather made sense for the story it was telling. But the feather also made sense for the story it eerily resembled, right down to the final plot twist. So this feather is bittersweet now. It's an unfulfilled promise of great things. And it was a reminder of the thin line between for fans of and actually this.


Chosen by Natalie

Lawd. So much bothered me about this book. It was a story that has so much potential. I did find the writing interesting, but the characters fell flat and I couldn't get on board with the protagonist, Hazel. I was drawn to its cover - which I think looks better in physical form - and to the fact that it was a cheap hardback (they're not easy to find around here). So I had to buy it. I've also heard a lot of good things about author Holly Black, and this was the first book by her I've read. Adore the cover, but the story was a letdown. Shame, really.


Chosen by Lexie

You can't really blame Hush, Hush for not revolutionizing literature. It came out at the height of the post-Twilight Paranormal Romance craze, and it was... well, a post-Twilight, pretty-much-Twilight Paranormal Romance. Once we'd had our fill of those, we might never have reached for it, had it not been for this cover. The entire series is visually stunning. It makes you think morally-grey anti-heroes, the Biblical-fallen-angels, chaos, madness, debauchery. It makes you think muuuuuuuurder. It delivers... well, Edward Cullen incarnate. It isn't a horrible read, by any means. But it's nothing to write home about - unless a description of this cover is involved.


Chosen by Natalie

The Legend series is a great series, don't get me wrong. The first two books were amazing, and I couldn't fault Marie Lu's enthralling storytelling. The last book in the series was therefore one I was the most excited about, but sadly I was left with a bitter taste in my mouth. I lost interest in the story midway through, and although I gave up due to its slow pace and annoying story, I heard about the ending. And that would have only irritated me further had I continue to read. The cover, however, is stunning! I really wish the last part of the series was as good as the cover is.


Chosen by Lexie & Natalie

This cover is so beautiful. This cover is so relevant. And this cover is wasted on this book. Confess centers around an artist whose chance encounter with a girl in a studio results in... instalove, forced dialogue and alarming situations straight out of the soap opera digest. But its inclusion of actual art on the inside (by the copiously talented Danny O'Connor) and this cover, as well as Colleen Hoover's solid writing style overall, saved it from absolute ruin. Juxtaposing paint splatters on a canvas background is genius, and this double exposure (is it double exposure?) is so, so inviting. If only the book could have been as inviting on the inside.


Chosen by Natalie

*sees the book in the bookshop*
*wants it immediately*
*reads it* 
*sighs and puts it down*

Why did this let me down, whyyyyy. I will be honest - The Sin Eater's Daughter started out quite well. Then it just went downhill. The protagonist does nothing at all. Hardly anything happens all throughout the story. And when at last the exciting part happens, it's not all that exciting. Luckily it was a short book, and I was able to complete it. This goes to show - don't judge a book by its cover. It might seem beautiful on the outside, but inside? It's a different story.



Chosen by Lexie

I could have picked any of The Selection titles, really. It applies to them all. The main difference between these covers and other girl-in-a-ballgown covers is the implication. In The Selection, unlike in most other series, they are relevant. After all, the series centers around a princess competition. (Also, these covers are so much better than most because an actual photoshoot was done for each individual book rather than a feverish attempt at stock manipulation with questionable results.) And had this series been marketed as the romance series that it is, it might have fared better. But given its halfhearted attempts at a dystopian setting and its infuriatingly indecisive protagonist, it never quite met its full potential. But, hey, at least it gave us gorgeous mirror effects at their finest!


Chosen by: Lexie and Natalie

In physical form, this cover is downright soothing. The book, meanwhile, is the exact opposite of soothing. (Aggressive? Disturbing? Upsetting? All of the above?) If you're really quiet, you might hear the sounds of the love interest trashing the apartment and breaking everything in sight whenever he's upset (because he's so protective and masculine and ermahgerd alpha male!). Meanwhile, on the cover, a butterfly sunbathes in a jar. (If you are fond of things-in-jars-and-cups as book covers, we hear both The Waiting Sky and Illusions of Fate are better alternatives to Beautiful Disaster. We've yet to read either of the two, however, so take this recommendation with a grain of salt.)




Don't hate us, pumpkins. In our defense, we really try our utmost to like everything. Sometimes we just waste all our like on the pretty, pretty outside and have very little of it left to give to the inside. Such are the readerly woes.

What are some of the covers which you feel are better than what's between them? When has a cover raised your expectations and the book's content left you disappointed? Let us know in the comments below, or find us on social media:

12 comments:

  1. Yeah so of the books I've read in this post, I disliked...all of them. And some of them were so promising! I was ridiculously excited for The Darkest Part of the Forest in particular - and I got a hardback review copy. But...meh.

    And seriously, whenever I manage to persuade someone to publish my book, I want Victoria Aveyard's marketing team.

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    1. Are you by any chance willing to share those dibs on Victoria Aveyard's marketing team? I feel like if I EVER brought a writing project up to snuff in revision and editing, I'd like to prostrate myself at their feet and offer them my soul in exchange for their services.

      And I couldn't possibly agree more. Each and every single one of these not only has amazing covers, but they all had such promising pitches and blurbs and synopses. Goes to show that sometimes a book is SOLD more successfully than it's WRITTEN. At least by our standards. And - clearly - by yours.

      Thank you kindly for the comment, Emily. And for not stoning us. A potentially controversial list, this one. We've donned full body armor just in case.

      - Lexie

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  2. Love this list! I am such a sucker for cover lust, but I always try to be diligent about reading reviews before I buy, lol!

    I really want to read the Legend series, I'm so bummed to hear about the third book :(

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    1. We really ought to start taking our cues from you, Stefanie! The cover lust has lead us astray one too many times. (As this list clearly illustrates.)

      I really want to read the Legend series, too (that was Natalie's pick), but that final-book-letdown-syndrome has kept me from reaching for it so far. I disliked Allegiant quite a bit (and it wasn't the ending so much as the failed dual narrative that bothered me), so the notion of another dystopian trilogy with a letdown-ending is just... such a scary concept.

      - Lexie

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  3. Wonderful post. Of the ones you have mentioned, I agree about every single one I have read. I especially felt let down by Red Queen, it did not live up to the massive hype at all. I felt it read like so many other books in the genre and offered up nothing original. I also HATED Beautiful Disaster, what an awful book. The Jewel didn't work for me at all either, it started okay but went downhill the longer it went on. I also wasn't a fan of Champion, it's my least favourite in that series.

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    1. I couldn't possibly agree more. (I'm trying. I'm failing. Maximum agreement achieved.) To me, Red Queen was an amalgamation of every YA trope of the past 5-ish years. It COULD be entertaining to those who like sameness. But not so much to me.

      To this day we both firmly believe that if we stated our opinion on Beautiful Disaster aloud in solely-NA-circles, we'd get stoned. Actually stoned. (And not the "chill" kind, either.) YOU'VE JUST RESTORED OUR FAITH IN, well, the blogosphere. And also humanity. No big deal or anything. ;)

      - Lexie

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  4. I agree with Red Queen. I just feel it wasn't original and the romance is a disaster! But I do enjoy Champion, and Confess (even though there are a lot of drama in that one). Anddd I actually didn't take Selection series that seriously, so I quite enjoyed it. I didn't read the Heir, because you know what happened when series got extended. DISASTER.

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress

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    1. STAY AWAY FROM THE HEIR! KEEP YOUR ENJOYMENT OF THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY! It's the best advice/gift/blessing we can give you. Because Eadlyn is America Singer on steroids. Except privileged and entitled. Just imagine. <3

      I've yet to get around to the Legend trilogy, but I think I'll enjoy it. And we understand an enjoyment of Colleen Hoover's cheese all too well - for most of her other books. :) So even where we disagree, we agree. That's the bookish blogosphere for you.

      - Lexie

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  5. These are all VERY pretty covers. And I think your opinions are more popular than you think- I am pretty sure I am in the minority for fangirling over The Sin Eater's Daughter and The Jewel ;) Like, I feel like I lost credibility with friends over those hahaha. Champion was.. okay. I did like The Darkest Part of the Forest too.

    I will likely read Red Queen, if only to see where I fall since people seem to either love or hate it. Girl at Midnight... meh. And NO to Beautiful Disaster. I have heard too many things about it that I know it is NOT for me. I will also pass on Hush Hush and Confess.

    But hey, fun eye candy ;)

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    1. Noooooo, WE SHALL PROTECT YOUR UNPOPULAR OPINIONS, SHANNON! <3 I think it was Emily from Loony Literate who also didn't mind The Jewel? So - band together and take over the world and submit us to your will! And for what it's worth, we thought The Sin Eater's Daughter was okay, really. Just not too spectacular.

      We do both strongly advise passing up on Confess, Beautiful Disaster and Hush, Hush, though, yes. Quite rage-inducing, quite unappealing alpha-male attitudes. Life's too short. ;)

      - Lexie

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  6. I'm so glad someone agrees with Beautiful Disaster! I didn't like it at all, for all the reasons you just stated! At least it looks pretty though :P

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    1. Small blessings, right? :D It doesn't mar our pretty bookshelves!

      Thank you for stopping by to comment, Sinead.

      - Lexie

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