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Coverfail, or How to Make Angie Cry

So I was prowling the shelves of my local bookstore, and I found myself (as I often do) trailing my fingers along the spines of Tamora Pierce's Alanna books. When what to my wondering eyes did appear but a new set of covers on my beloved old books. I pulled them out quickly, eager to see what kind of artwork they'd gone with this time. For the record, I own three different editions of this series: my original copies from way back when, the interesting mini-hardcovers they put out several years ago, and the somewhat more recent, fun black paperbacks Simon Pulse published. But I am nothing if not open to a possible fourth set.

These are the new covers of the first two and fourth books:

Not too bad, right? A little generic. I mean, the halo thing is all right, and she has a kind of Peter Pan quality on the first one that is charming and will hopefully bring in some new young readers. So not too bad overall. Unfortunately, this is the cover of the third book:
Whaaa . . . ? I'm sorry. Have I unwittingly slipped into some alternate universe in which Bella Alanna loses her spine, dresses in flutter-sleeve tees, and dithers between two brooding alpha males? I understand we're trying to appeal to new readers here, but this is so misleading and reductionist that I don't know where to start. I couldn't get it out of my hands fast enough. This book (and series) is so not a paranormal romance. And that is most definitely not Jon or George on that cover. This is traditional fantasy, not some contemporary love triangle with a token sword thrown in for some flair. The whole thing makes me want to cry. If you haven't read these books before, don't be deterred and/or confused by the new packaging. They are so much more than these coverfails make them out to be.


  1. Yikes! Absolutely horrible. I love Pierce's books. Her work was around long before the Twilight books and is far more complex and original . . . these are kick-ass action books without any moony-goony, angst filled exposition that goes on for page after page after page . . . The artwork betrays the author and the character . . .

  2. That is creepy! The Edward dude especially.

  3. Whoa. Although, I must confess that I've only read the first book in the series. I was told the rest wasn't as good. Is this true? Or was I led astray?

  4. Well, that cover sucks! I find it sad that they had to market the new cover in such a shallow way as to make it about the 'boys'.

  5. I haven't read the series but that book cover really does put me off. I won't let it bother me, though. Not if you say it's a good series.

  6. Anonymous11:15 AM

    I haven't read this series, but I do hate it when covers just are so obviously not true to the book. On the other hand, if it makes someone pick up the book who otherwise wouldn't have and they absolutely love it, then maybe it's worth it.

  7. What scares me most is that they had to have done this because love triangles sell. Do love triangles sell? Erk, I feel ill.

  8. Ack - why would they do that?! I agree the other three aren't too bad, but what they hell?... It looks a bit like Stefan and Damon on either side of her?! And makes me want to cry...
    I think I'll stick with my old covers.

  9. Anonymous12:29 PM

    Ugh, I remember when the first cover of this new set was released back in April and I was not impressed.. that third one really ruins things though. Sooo bad.

  10. I'm not really a fan of any of those new covers, but definitely that last one is the worst. I've been listening to the first one on audio and that cover does NOT describe that fiesty Alanna I've been getting to know. Awful.

  11. HAHAHA oh gawd, I can't stop laughing at the last one. I've only read the first two Alanna books...but that is SO WRONG.

  12. While the last one is definitely the worst, I'm not feeling any of these covers. Fail all around, in my opinion.

  13. OH MY GOD, YES. I *hate* these covers with a fiery passion. Obviously the fact that these books have remained in print for over 20 years isn't any indication of popularity or commercial value. Nope, the publishers simply had to give them new covers that look just like every other YA cover out there and capitalize on the fact that there's a love triangle because, hey look! TAMORA PIERCE WROTE A LOVE TRIANGLE BEFORE IT WAS COOL.

    Strong feelings. I have them.

  14. Ugh, these are awful! I'm pretty sure that's fake red hair... Speaking of Pierce though, I just finished Mastiff. If you wanted to know, it was much better than the last installment, so I think you can raise your hopes a bit. On the whole I thought it wasn't as good as Terrier, but towards the end it was so good I had to read it while walking (through traffic, I might add). And if all fails, the last page should be enough to make up for any disappointments in the series, it was that terrific. Also, be prepared for the biggest Tamora Pierce plot twist ever. So...I hope this makes you feel better about Mastiff.

  15. OMG?! WTF?! No seriously don't twilight crapstyle ( no offense twihards, I liked the books, not the actors)these books, they were the pillars of my young adult years!
    I am speechless or rather yet almost furious. I have two different sets as my kids get older and the styles have changed but these covers really sadden me because I sure don't think they reflect the series or the characters. Edwardesk and puffy sleeves?

  16. Anonymous11:14 PM

    A true manifestation of everything that's wrong with the publishing market right now.

  17. oh gosh. I could cry.

  18. Wow. That is really bad. I haven't read the series, but I wouldn't be enticed to pick them up with those covers.

    And forgive me for pointing it out, but if the title is The Woman Who Rides Like A Man it really would have been in better taste to put a horse on there (like two of the other three shown!) rather than the girl between two leering emo dudes.


  19. Anonymous12:42 PM

    It really is hard to see a beloved book get a re-do that completely rubs you the wrong way! I haven't read the series, but I do love the Peter Panesque quality of the first three covers you've posted.

    That last one makes me want to gag. I can see why it made you want to cry.

  20. LOLLLLLL flutter-sleeve tees. Oh, that last cover is painful :( You're right, neither of those guys looks like Jon or George, and anyway the whole cover gives completely the wrong impression! I totally agree, it ends up looking like some generic paranormal YA rather than the awesome fantasy that it is.

  21. I'm not a fan of the new covers. There's no way Alanna could pass as a boy looking like that. Book 3 definitely has the worst cover, but I do like the font.

  22. I don't like any of the covers - they look like bad CGI to me - but you're spot-on about the third one. It's the classic Bella-Edward-Jacob triangle, as well as the Vampire Diaries one (their names are eluding me right now - stupid baby brain!!). Very tacky looking.


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