Wednesday, July 15, 2015
I Have Becky Masterman Covered!
I'm having one marvelous reading summer, and I'm hoping that you are, too. Yes, I've read a couple of books that I didn't finish, but right now I couldn't tell you their titles even if you threatened to drain my pool. What sticks in my mind are the ones that have made my Best Reads of 2015 list, and this week we're going to compare the covers of the US and UK editions of one of the books that recently made that list.
In fact... I reviewed it yesterday: Becky Masterman's Rage Against the Dying. That book hooked me from the prologue!
Before we get down to it, I want to share something with you that made me laugh. If you've been following this feature, you know that two of my favorite authors (writing as Michael Stanley) shared some of their own US and UK book covers with us. Well... others have been keeping an eye on the feature as well. Last week Peter Lovesey's UK publishers were happy to announce on Twitter that they had won "Kittling Books' cover-off." How fun is that?
Okay-- let's take a look at this week's duo:
(Have you ever noticed that UK books tend to be a bit bigger than US editions? Just thought I'd throw that out there.)
US cover first. Dark blue background, fading to black at the edges. The figure of a young woman that almost looks like a photographic negative. Almost. She's walking away from us in some high grass. Masterman's name is above the title, although it's in much smaller letters. The title stands out well from the dark background. We're told it's a thriller, and there's a blurb at the top from flavor of the month, Gillian Flynn.
For me, there are two strikes against this cover. (1) Since I seem to be one of the few people who disliked Gone Girl, a recommendation from its author has the opposite effect on me, but of course I can see where that could boost sales with all the thousands who strongly disagree with me. (2) This book has definite thriller tendencies, but it's certainly not what I think of as a thriller, so that "A Thriller" makes me cringe a bit. To me, a thriller is a book that sacrifices character and setting (and sometimes plot) for lots of action. Rage Against the Dying does not fit my definition of a thriller.
What's right about the cover? I've already read the book, so I have knowledge that you may not. That young woman is walking along the edge of the highway, and headlights from traffic coming up behind her have caught her in their beams. This image is integral to the book.
Now the UK cover. There's really not much for me to say about it. Nice color scheme, but I flat out don't like it. Why? Remember how I've already said that I can't stand covers showing the back of a woman's head? Well, add to that covers that show a woman's throat and her jawline. Done. To death. Maybe she's showing off her excellent bone structure, or maybe that particular angle is supposed to make her look vulnerable. Either way, it doesn't work for me.
And before you say it, I do know that the US cover shows the back of the woman, but that image of her walking down the edge of a road in the dark with headlights coming up behind her intrigues me. And it's not just of her head!
End result? US cover by a half length.
So what about you? Which cover makes you want to pick the book up and read it? US? UK? Or does neither one float your boat? Inquiring minds want to know!