Monday, October 01, 2007

Cartoony covers from the UK

We all know by now that the "headless bodice" look really took off with the UK edition of Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl, right? Perhaps this is another soon-to-be-trend: cartoon-style covers for historical fiction. All of the images below are taken from the British editions. Of them, the Julia Quinn is the only historical romance; the others are mainstream historicals.







Some of these novels won't be out for a while, so click on the images for the descriptions from Amazon UK.

Do any of you like these covers more than I do? Apart from the one for the Tannahill, which I know will be fairly lighthearted, I really don't care for them much.

19 comments:

  1. I rather enjoyed the first two covers (the Gee gives me a better idea of the period than the US chin-and-neck cover, and the couple on the Quinn is appealing)and the Tannhill and Cleopatra covers, but I'm not sure what to make of the other two. But I'd probably pick up the books to find out, which I suppose meant the artist did his job well.

    Actually, I was in Barnes and Noble Sunday, and I thought there was a distinct shortage of headless women on the new book shelf.

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  2. I don't mind "The Scandal of the Season," "Company of Liars," and "Antony & Cleopatra," but I wouldn't rush to buy them, either. I dislike the others.

    I hate the headless woman covers. I hope that fad is dying out. I love seeing old portraits on book covers if it's the whole portrait, not just a torso or elbow or half a face!

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  3. Anonymous10:36 PM

    I like the Gee, the Grant, and the Maitland quite a bit. The rest, not so much. I think the Quinn cover is playing on the whole Austen=chicklit thing, which is probably a clever marketing strategy.
    But I too am glad to see the waning of the headless woman cover.

    Lucy Pick

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  4. I like the Blue Flame one, though I'm not sure how well it fits the theme of the novel. I'm also sick of the headless woman covers!

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  5. Agreed, the appeal of the headless women covers has worn off as far as I'm concerned, too. I still find them attractive, but the concept has been way overused.

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  6. I *really* like "Blue Flame" and "Company of Liars". They're both very arresting and would really catch my eye on the shelf. I especially like Company of Liars - the font treatment is fantastic. I love that it doesn't look polished and - I don't know - dreamy like the headless woman covers. Plus, that image of the dragon? wolf? is fantastic.

    "The Season of the Scandal" isn't bad - clever idea. The Quinn, McCullough, and Tannahill are truly awful.

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  7. The Scandal of the Season cover looks very period with the cartoon cover, and I actually like the Julia Quinn covers a bit more than the American versions. I'm not sure about the Cleopatra cover, although it's different from the usual swords and sandals cover. I'm not a fan of the headless woman cover, although I do like covers with historical paintings on them.

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  8. I find it interesting that there's little consensus on the covers! The Julia Quinn ones (there are others in the series with similar UK covers) are growing on me, I admit.

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  9. Is Cleopatra from Antony & Cleopatra supposed to look like Liz Taylor's portrayal of the queen?

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  10. I love "The Company of Liars" cover. It's cool and different; it would catch my eye. Interesting that it's a YA novel. The McCullough cover hearkens back to the late 60s: it's very Liz Taylor, and original, at least. That same romantic portrait of Cleo reclining amongat her pillows (see Margaret George's "Memoirs of . . ." )is so overused on Egyptian books. The Taste for Scandal and Blue Flame covers are clever, too. But I agree that I don't know how the Blue Flame one relates to the book itself.

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  11. Sally Jenkins11:41 PM

    Agree the lack of consensus on the covers is interesting. I didn't like any of them much when I first scanned through, but on closer look found "Company of Liars" disturbing and intriging. Appropriate for the subject, it seems. Didn't like "Blue Flame" at all, and I probably wouldn't look beyond to find subject, which I probably would like. And "Antony and Cleopatra" would be fine except for the too mid-20th century American girl in the costume. Which only reminds me how difficult this sort of packaging is. Have read/heard lots of comments by and about authors dissatisfied with the covers of their books and who long to complain. But here is a small sample of responses from actual readers, and we don't agree much. Except enough with the headless women, even if the bodice is beautiful.

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  12. I don't care for any of them.

    Which won't prevent me from buying Anthony and Cleopatra, because I like the series. :)

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  13. There's a good reason the usual image of Cleo reclining on her pillows won't be used for this one (at least in the US) - it was already on the cover of October Horse! The main reason I don't care for the UK McCullough cover is that it doesn't fit the tone of her novels at all, imho. I'd prefer her novels with a more serious (for lack of a better term), less trendy cover design.

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  14. Sally Jenkins10:53 PM

    Gabriele, I guess you have the bottom line: it's not the cover that makes us buy. Maybe pick them up, like Susan said, but not buy.

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  15. Lots of comments here, and I agree it's very interesting to see the lack of consensus! Just wanted to add that I do rather like the headless women covers - they're very pretty, on the whole. I'm just sick of seeing them.

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  16. I like them all, but I suspect it's the novelty of it that appeals to me. Once the book market is saturated with them, I'll probably be able to ignore them.

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  17. I dislike all of them and wouldn't be tempted to buy any on cover alone. I like the cover to be part of the package, and none of these say 'rich reading experience' to me.
    Having The Builders IN, the one before Having The Decorators In has certainly not sold on its cover if you look at its UK Amazon ranking

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  18. It doesn't seem to be selling very well there, does it, and no reviews. (HNS never did get a copy either.) I bought it based on the author's name, as I'd liked her work in the past - I wouldn't have cared what the cover looked like!

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  19. Anonymous8:42 AM

    Of these covers I would pick up two - the wolf's head and the blue flame.

    I like buying books with headless women, or women with thier back turned to the audience. When reading I don't want to be distracted by someone else's vision of the MC, but I do like having visual cues on the costume.

    I would say my buying habits depend more on the quality of the illustration. Those produced for the Gregory novels are excellent. These cartoony things seem cheap and a bit careless, which perhaps reflects upon the writing within the cover.

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