Love the Book, Hate the Cover

Hey guys! Today’s post was inspired by a recent video by Regan from PeruseProject, where she talked about some of the ugliest book covers on her shelves. Interestingly, a lot of the books on her list ended up being some of her favorite books.

That got me thinking about my own faves and their covers, which made me realize that there are a lot of books that I like, but I don’t like the cover. And thus, this post was born.

For this post, though, I’m not limiting it to just the books I own, and instead I’m going to pick from any book I’ve ever read. Let’s get into it.

The first three books I’m going to talk about are pretty deep cuts. You’ve probably never heard of them, but I read and loved them when I was in elementary school, and I don’t think I’ve ever talked about them on my blog.

    1. The Princess Plot and The Princess Trap by Kirsten Boie

The basic premise of this little duology (at least I think it’s only a duology—I haven’t heard of any other books in this series) is that a girl named Jenna auditions for what she thinks is a movie role as a princess. She gets whisked off to a small kingdom called Scandia, where the king has just died and the real princess has ran away. When Jenna discovers that she bears an uncanny resemblance to the real Scandian princess, the plot starts to twist and turn.

Thinking back on it, the plot was kind of simple and contrived. I don’t know if I would like this book as much if I read it now, but when I read it as a ten-year-old (ish), I loved it. As for the covers, though, neither of them are anything special. They’re little more than just some fancy text on solid colored backgrounds, which to me doesn’t seem to go with the wild ride my ten-year-old self experienced reading this book. They’re not bad, but they’re also not eye-catching in the way that I want my book covers to be.

     2. The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine

The other deep cut book is also about princesses—but this time a more fantasy-leaning book. It’s by the same author who wrote Ella Enchanted, if you’ve heard of that,and it’s set in a medieval fantasy world (called, unsurprisingly, Bamarre)where there are, as you can probably guess, two princesses. If I remember correctly, one of the two princesses gets sick and the other, more timid sister is forced to go on an adventure to find a way to save her.

I will admit that the cover of this book is very accurate—it has two girls dressed in old-timey dresses, who are clearly supposed to represent the sisters in the story. However, it really doesn’t tell you all that much about the story and the cover looks like someone threw it together in Photoshop in five minutes. It’s just not good.

    3. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Moving from books I haven’t talked about to books I have talked about way too much, I really don’t like the US mass market paperback editions of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series.

These are my copies.

As you guys probably know at this point, since I’ve talked about it in like every post ever, my favorite author is Brandon Sanderson. I have loved pretty much every single book I have read by him since I discovered his existence. He writes super unique, action-packed fantasy series, and in my opinion, one of the best series he has ever written is the Mistborn series.

Which is why it’s so sad that the US covers are so bad. They’re all basically just shadowy pictures of people standing around in fancy clothes.They don’t represent the sheer awesomeness that is contained within.

My favorite versions of the Mistborn covers are the UK editions, like these:

But even though I like these a lot better, I still think that they don’t really capture the world or the plot as well as they could. Maybe I just have too high expectations for anything related to Mistborn.

    4. The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Let me just start by saying that I love most of Rick Riordan’s covers. They all make perfect sense in the context of the novel, while not being too spoilery. Plus, drawn covers are just cool in general.

This one has all of those things going for it too, and for the most part I’m fine with it. What annoys me is that Percy’s face just doesn’t look right at all (Percy is the name of the boy on the cover, by the way). I don’t usually like books that show a character’s actual face on the cover, and most of the other books in this series, and most of Riordan’s other series, don’t. This is the closest we come to seeing the full face of a character on the cover of one of his books, and I don’t like it.

     5. The Young Elites trilogy by Marie Lu

You guys know that I love Marie Lu. This series is my least favorite by her, but I still really like it. Incidentally, it also has my least favorite covers. The covers for the Legend trilogy and the Warcross duology are so colorful and dynamic, and then these covers are just dark, hazy backgrounds with some text slapped on. They’re not ugly by any means, but they’re also not interesting at all.

This trilogy includes, among other things, a plague that can give people powers if they survive it, a magical war, and a rebellion against an oppressive government. If all of that is in the books, then why, I ask, are the covers so dull?

     6. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

This is a steampunk adventure series that takes place mostly on the back of a giant flying whale/airship and is happening during an alternate history version of World War II. It’s awesome, and while the covers do a great job of showcasing the steampunk nature of the story, they’re also not very interesting. The covers of the second and the third book just have some pictures of people on them, and you all know how much I love that.

As I have said with most of these other books, it just doesn’t seem like the cover does the story inside justice.

***

Okay, that’s all the books I’m going to talk about today, but I want to open the conversation up to you all. What are some books you love that have lackluster covers? What do you wish the covers were instead?

As always, thanks for reading, and I’ll see you all soon.

-Ariel

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