Let’s be honest, nobody follows the age-old cliché that tells us not to judge a book by its covers. If you say you do, I am side-eyeing you. Book covers are the first thing that attracts any of us readers to a book. Before you pick up a book, the cover can essentially make or break a book. If I don’t like a cover design, I won’t pick it up. Lucky for us, publishing companies publish different cover designs, especially when a paperback book comes out. Sometimes we like it, sometimes we don’t. Whatever the changes with cover designs, I will discuss it.
Today, we look at the cover of The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.
Okay, okay, I know there isn’t a vast difference between the hardcover cover and the paperback cover, so why talk about it at all? Well, I’m still on the “meeting Maggie Stiefvater” high and I want to talk about cover changes. My next logical thought was – “hey, let’s talk about the changes in The Raven Boys“ and voilà, here we are.
I love both covers because it’s a frickin’ painting! Any cover designs done by hand is a big A++++ in my book! I am always jealous of artists because, wow, they always blow me away with their drawings or paintings. I love the majestic raven hovering (or posing) like a goddamn boss, giving no fucks at all. The painting strokes of the raven’s feather is absolutely striking; the detail of it makes me want to squeal in joy. It is just so gorgeous. (I want to attempt to paint a raven myself, but alas, I have no painting talent.) For the paperback, I like that the image of the four boys is pretty accurate to Maggie’s description of them. (My hands are clutching my cheeks because hot damn! They are a good-looking bunch. ;D) I cheered that the boys are drawn instead of being an actual photograph of cover models because to me, photo-type covers get dated extremely fast.
But now we arrive at the dreaded “things I don’t like in this cover change” paragraph. What could I possibly dislike in this gorgeous cover? (You might ask.) I’ll tell you. It feels very cluttered. When I look at the hardcover design, I’m struck by the raven and the ley lines (two of the most important images in the book), but when I look at the paperback design, a lot of things are going on that I don’t know where my eyes should look at first. It doesn’t strike me as hard as the huge raven in the hardcover that commands my attention. The four boys’ presence demands my attention (which is good), but they blind me from spotting the ley lines, which looks like it fades into the background. And also, the raven isn’t a looming figure. I don’t like that the title is the same color as Maggie Stiefvater’s name because it doesn’t strike me as hard. It doesn’t feel unique or…separate (they look very together)? It’s really hard to explain.
The Raven Boys is a cover that, despite my dislikes, I love to pieces. I feel a deeper connection to covers when it is drawn. Maybe it’s because I know that it was handmade and I admire talented artists who can make me squeal in joy and make me jealous at the same time. Also, ravens are cool! ‘Nuff said.
(For those who are wondering about the cover artist, both covers are done by Adam S. Doyle, who also did The Dream Thieves and the paperback version of The Scorpio Races.)
What did you think of the cover designs and the changes? What do you like it? Is there anything you would change?